Ok, so I confess, Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ just released comedy about old Hollywood, beckoned me come for one reason…True Grit.
I’m not one for the brothers’ dry-witted, odd-ball, unreal life depictions – but I hoped for something soul-feeding in the way that Arkansan Mattie Ross’ hell-bent journey to find justice for her Papa’s murder via Rooster Cogburn was – or at least some modicum of appreciation for a well told story with an interesting worldview. Caesar falls way short on the story-telling, but on worldview…well, let’s just say that it requires some thought – though not worth the expenditure.
Hearing that Caesar gave some sort of homage to the glory days of MGM, and, more importantly that the theatre had just been upgraded with new motor-reclining seats, the place was packed. We stood with popcorn in hand (or in my case, pretzels in purse) as the previous patrons exclaimed Caesar’s praises on exiting (Lord knows why) – the majority of which were baby-boomers and beyond (we tend to long for the Hollywood of It’s a Wonderful Life). True to Coen form, they wish to dash any wistful dreams we may have about the once and former “goodness” of movie makers…sort of.
Whether intended or not, I found the plotline to be mostly truthful about humanity and the worldviews in which we trade. The Coen’s reflect into the story the deification of the movie industry by the audience; a subtle point that Joel and Ethan appear to mock (because it is mock-worthy). Continue reading