Category Archives: 1996

Fargo (1996)


I’m not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Lou.

— Marge Gunderson

Fargo is considered the greatest film that the Coen Brothers have ever made. I was ashamed that I have never seen this #124 movie of All Time on IMDb. All I knew about this movie is a pregnant sheriff, a car salesman and the wood chipper. This movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards. It won Best Actress for Frances McDormand and the brothers for Best Original Screenplay.

This movie is apparently based on true events that happened in Minnesota in 1987. The names have been changed to protect the real life families from the prying eyes of the public.

A frazzled car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hires a pair of thugs, Carl and Gaear (Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare) with a new car and forty thousand dollars to kidnap his wife, Jean (Kristin Rudrüd), because he has outstanding debt to pay off. That was his Plan B.

In a last ditch effort to avoid that is to convince his father-in-law, Wade (Harve Presnell) to purchase some land for a parking lot to get a huge finder’s fee for his efforts.

Things start to get out of the control when Carl and Gaear follow through with the kidnapping that leads to a triple homicide on highway.

Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is the pregnant Brainerd police chief that investigates the highway murders. She expertly retraces what happens and bring whoever is responsible to justice.

This movie reminded me very much of No Country for Old Men, dealing with a small town living with a silent killer trying to get money back. I know that this movie was made-up and the latter was based on Cormac Macarthy’s book.

I enjoyed the monochromatic imagery of the snow blanketing the entire landscape. The story has you spinning in circles about what will happen next. It could dramatic, comedic, heartfelt and borderline creepy at times. That’s not to say that this is a masterpiece.

The accents on some of the actors slipped in and out. More of the Minnesotans with the “ya” and “you knows” were getting on my nerves. After watching that movie, I don’t understand why Frances won the Oscar. She was okay. She wasn’t spectacular in the movie to deserve the accolade. I also had problems with some plot holes. I will discuss those in the spoiler section.

Judgment: Not the Coens best movie, but it does have good things going for it.

Rating: ****

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Trainspotting (1996)


We would have injected vitamin C if only they had made it illegal!

— Mark “Rent-boy” Renton

Trainspotting was the film that broke, director Danny Boyle into the mainstream conscienceness back in 1996. I caught bits and pieces of this movie over the years. Last night, I saw the film in its entirety.

This film is on the Top 250 Films of All Time on IMDb coming in at #170. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for John Hodge.

Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is about the narrator, Mark “Rent-boy” Renton (Ewan McGregor). Along with his social misfits friends that are waist deep into the waters of full blown heroin abuse and the ramifications that come from that.

Renton wants to have a better life than the one that he has now. His “friends”, Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Tommy (Kevin McKidd) take this journey with him as well. The friends are stuck in their little corner of Edinburgh.

Renton develops a relationship with Dianne, played by Kelly Macdonald in her feature film debut. That leads him into making life altering decisions that affects his relationship with his friends, his family and himself as a person.

This is a solid effort by Boyle about the reality and consequences of drug use. Either you destroy the drug or the drug destroys you. Simple as that.

Judgment: If you want to see the gritty realism of Scottish youth, check this film out.

Rating: ****

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