Devil’s Advocate Month: Fargo


220px-FargoOh… Oh let’s get it on! I’m ready for the hate mail on this one. That is right. I am going to take a timeless classic, often considered one of the best comedies of all time, take it into a back alley, and beat the living shit out of it. A movie that is ranked a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, a movie that both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert called the best film of 1996, and often considered the Magnum Opus in the Coen Brothers distinguished oeuvre… And I am going to try to state my case as to why this movie isn’t as good as everyone thinks it is.

Now am I saying that Fargo is a bad movie? Well no… What I am saying is that Fargo is not the perfect movie that people make it out to be. It is an okay movie that received more than favorable criticism, so in the spirit of Devil’s Advocate month, I am going to take a look at it.

Fargo is an interesting story that centers around a briefcase full of money. Jerry Lundegaard (William H Macy) is desperate for money and thus pays a group of criminals played by Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare to kidnap his wife and ransom her to her rich father for $80,000. Things… Do not go as plan when Carl’s partner murders a cop and a group of people traveling down the road after a bribe goes wrong. The movie than follows police officer Marge Gunderson as she travels through North Dakota uncovering the grizzly murders and the ransom gone wrong.

Pros

Frances McDormand Gives a Perfect Performancedownload

There is no denying it… Frances McDormand’s performance as Marge Gunderson is one of the greatest performances in comedy history. It is flawless the way she takes this pregnant cop from nowhere North Dakota and makes here into one of the most beloved characters throughout the ages. She may not have the staying power of some characters, but she is most certainly one of the most likable characters to ever grace the big screen and a character that everyone can cheer for. I may have a problem with this movie, but Frances McDormand is most certainly not it.

It is a Different Style of Movie

I will give it this, Fargo is most certainly unique. It is a different kind of movie one that breaks the mold of the stereotypical comedy, thriller, and murder mystery genres. The Coen Brothers know how to go against the grain and wrap it in a package that is easily digestible for a mass audience. Fargo certainly is dark and has a style to it that is all its own and for that, it deserves its place in film making history for blazing its own trail.

Cons

fargoI Just Don’t See the Comedic Aspects of this Dark Comedy

Maybe it is something that just flew over my head… But I honestly never laughed once while watching Fargo. I just don’t see where the comedy comes from. Is it the stereotypical Minnesota accents? The way they say ‘Oh yeah’? Is it the relationship between the two convicts? Maybe William H Macy’s bumbling about? I can see where they are attempting comedy, but I just do not find it funny. Maybe someone else can get behind this comedy, hell many people have gotten behind the comedy! This movie is praised as one of the greatest of all time and yet… I feel like I’m missing something that just isn’t there.

It is at this time that I would say ‘well it just isn’t for me’, but the thing is… I feel like it isn’t just that. When people get starry-eyed and nostalgic about certain movies, I never hear Fargo come up as a beloved and remembered movie that people just have to keep going back to over and over again. I hear movies like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Tommy Boy, The Cable Guy, Office Space, High Fidelity… But never have I heard someone say ‘Oh yeah! Fargo! Yeah.’ It seems to be a movie that is beloved for how good it is, but is only brought up when someone mentions ‘Greatest Comedy of All Time’ or when that bizarre television show came out that featured it over a decade after it was released. Maybe I’m missing something and the second this review is up, someone will be ready to tear me a new asshole. But at the end of the day, I: A) do not feel it is that funny and B) question the movies cult classic status.

Conclusion

I am not going to sit here and say that Fargo is a bad movie. It is a good movie and a movie that everyone should see at least once. However, do I think it is a phenomenal movie worthy of a 90+% on Rotten Tomatoes? No, I do not. The comedy is just so bizarre that it is hard for me to get behind and the tremendous performances are not enough to win me over. Maybe you can get some more enjoyment out of it, but it is a movie that is not for me.

Final Score 2.5/5

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