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Will The Next Coen Film Be A Musical Biopic?

Nordling here.

The Coens have left their indelible mark on every genre they've worked in - Western, gangster, musical - but they've never done anything like a biopic before.  Now it looks like the Coens have found a subject for their next film, according to the L.A. Times' 24 Frames blog, Greenwich Village blues singer and activist Dave van Ronk, who was a major influence on Bob Dylan.  He died in 2002, and his memoirs, THE MAYOR OF MCDOUGAL STREET, were published posthumously and will be used for material in the Coens' new film.  The film will document the Greenwich Village folk and music scene.

Van Ronk was a huge inspiration to many folk and blues artists, including Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen.  Left-leaning politically, he was arrested at the famous Stonewall riots in 1969.

The film will contain musical performances "pretty much all performed live, single instrument" according to Joel, and at a recent event the Coens compared it to Noah Baumbach's MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, with a more natural style of filmmaking, dropping the audience into the world with little preparation.  No actors for any of the roles have been suggested, but "I have to say, the thing we’re doing now, we’re not writing specifically for any of the parts which is unusual for us,” said Joel Coen in a recent discussion.

At this point the Coens could adapt a cereal box and I'd be there to see it.  This sounds like something along the lines of Todd Haynes' I'M NOT THERE, in my opinion of the best biopics out there.  I'm not familiar with Dave van Ronk's work, but you'll bet I will be as soon as possible.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • June 25, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST

    I Lived on MacDougal Street, Right Across From Cafe Wah

    by Crow3711

    About 40 years too late.

  • June 25, 2011, 12:54 p.m. CST

    document the Grenwich Village folk and music scene - SOUNDS AWESOME!

    by Proman1984

    I really the direction of this!

  • June 25, 2011, 1 p.m. CST

    Doesn't Matter

    by aaron cassese

    Like Nordling said they could adapt a cereal box and i'd be there. I feel the exact same way bring it on!

  • I think I've seen every Coen Bros. movie except A SERIOUS MAN, and I don't remember hearing it was a musical. Am I nuts? Or are we counting the musical numbers in Big Lebowski and O Brother?

  • June 25, 2011, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Goldentribe

    by MC-909

    I was thinking the same thing but I think "O, Brother..." is considered a musical. I think Lebowski would actually be in the noir category as opposed to comedy.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:16 p.m. CST

    The subject matter doesn't interest me a damn bit

    by caruso-stalker217

    But I've enjoyed every one of their films so far.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:19 p.m. CST

    All right, let's see them adapt a cereal box

    by BoRock_A_Boomer

    That would definitely put the Jew Crew in class all by themselves.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Completely uninterested...if it weren't them.

    by ROBRAM89

    But it is, damn it.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Why not a Superman musical with prison sex set in New York?

    by Gerry Manderin

    The GLEEification of American culture never ends.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:41 p.m. CST

    MUSICAL?!??!?

    by djscott95

    I'm with the other guy. I have seen every Coen Brothers film (including a serious man) and none of them would qualify as a musical... If you're counting O Brother than you need to reevaluate what you think a musical is...

  • June 25, 2011, 1:48 p.m. CST

    I would rather they adapted "The Mayor McCheese"

    by Simpsonian

    In my opinion the best bio out there.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Exciting news.

    by AssyMuffJizz

    Dylan ripped off many of Van Ronk's arrangements, including "House of the Rising Sun," according to the book Positively Fourth Street.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Oh Brother is not a "Musical" in the Traditional Sense

    by cymbalta4thedevil

    But it has enough musical numbers in it to make the argument that it ISN'T a musical sort of pedantic. Many of them lip synched by actors in the film? It's Soundtrack was one of the most successful albums of that year. And when they make this movie it won't be a traditional musical either. It will just have actors playing folksingers singing. Not dancing around making jazz hands.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:55 p.m. CST

    That's not me, either, assy.

    by Subtitles_Off

    But go ahead, say something. Let's see how long it takes to make it a whole, "Gee, Subtleties is doing a whole Subtitles imitation thing. Choppah gone META!"

  • That's the best example of irony I've ever heard of. Maybe, Subtleties can explain it to you.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST

    A very good idea!

    by zinc_chameleon

    You're talking about one of the most creative periods ever in modern music. Yes, you've got Dave Van Ronk (who by the way was a terrific guitar player) but you've also got the seminal Byrds, Mamas and Papas, Lovin' Spoonful, and this crazy black guy who didn't seem to fit it anywhere, Jimi James or something like that.

  • June 25, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST

    It'll be awesome . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . not much else to say . . .

  • June 25, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST

    No? Oh well, wishful thinking.

    by Subtitles_Off

  • June 25, 2011, 2:01 p.m. CST

    O, Brother being a musical

    by MC-909

    Obviously it isn't a musical in the classic sense, but as far as the Coens filmography goes, it's about as close as you can get. At least, I think that's what Nordling was saying. Personally, I wouldn't call it a musical. I think it's more along the lines of fantasy than anything.

  • June 25, 2011, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Nicolas Cage being chased by one million dogs

    by Grace_Panda

    was the best thing they ever did, I don't even remember what that film was called but reboot it in 3D and you'll got yourself a franchise right there!

  • June 25, 2011, 2:16 p.m. CST

    How is "O, Brother" a musical?

    by Subtitles_Off

    Do any of the characters sing their dialogue? No? There are movies that feature music...SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, PURPLE RAIN...and then there are movies in which portions of the plot are told through song...THE SOUND OF MUSIC, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, WEST SIDE STORY. I consider the latter to be "musicals." The former to be, um, whatever they are. According to my theory, O BROTHER is a comedy with music in it. Am I incorrect?

  • June 25, 2011, 2:19 p.m. CST

    You dont have to sing dialogue for it to be a musical....

    by Mel

    Singing to advance the plot makes it a musical. It's not like they had a script and then wrote music around the dialogue in the script. O Brother was not a musical because the songs were just random and had nothing to do with anything. Same goes for movies like Walk the Line or Ray.

  • June 25, 2011, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Melgibson. That's kind of my point.

    by Subtitles_Off

    Except, you have to admit, many of the songs in musicals are written as dialogue, conversation, exposition, whatever you want to call it.

  • June 25, 2011, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Yeah, but they complete it by December?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    There hasn't been a year without a Coen movie since *2006*.

  • June 25, 2011, 2:26 p.m. CST

    rather see an arthur lee biopic

    by john

    arthur lee and love had a huge impact on every genre of popular music and his story is tragic

  • June 25, 2011, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Ooh. I'd like an Arthur Lee biopic, too.

    by Subtitles_Off

    If I were a film-maker, there'd be one.

  • June 25, 2011, 2:50 p.m. CST

    I would like to see a science fiction film from the Coen Bros

    by successor

    Though that will probably never happen.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:14 p.m. CST

    grace_panda : Raising Arizona is the film.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    One of the Coen's best and most underrated films. I would also love to see them do a Sci-Fi or horror movie.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:25 p.m. CST

    O Brother was terrible, pure garbage.

    by Ditko

    The Ladykillers was great, tho. 2 cents right there.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Oh, and the one with Clooney too and the other chick

    by Ditko

    That one was beyond garbage.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:29 p.m. CST

    sailor

    by seabiscuits

    they said in an artical that they probably couldn't do a scifi., even though they like them. but weren't they working on a horror film next? and waht happened to hail caesar? wasn't that a project. (also to the white sea with brad pitt speaking japanese) also i think them doing their own type of scifi would be awesome. (man who wasn't there had ufo's) on a side note shane black once talked how he loves the original star wars trilogy a opposed to the new one and said he wants to make a scifi adventure.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:30 p.m. CST

    and successor

    by seabiscuits

  • June 25, 2011, 3:33 p.m. CST

    i always felt that i split off into an alternate universe

    by seabiscuits

    and instead of getting man who wasn;t there, ladykillers, intollerable cruelty after O Brother (which I loved) we'd get the one about brad pitt crashing his jet in japan during ww2 and trying to get to the shore. the whole film was supposed to be in japanese

  • June 25, 2011, 3:33 p.m. CST

    They went downhill with those 3

    by seabiscuits

    never saw burn after reading but the no country, serious man, and true grit are a good rebound.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Ladykillers is the only Coen film I haven't seen.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    Always heard it was pretty bad. The only film of theirs I really didn't care for was Intolerable Cruelty, so I guess i should give it a chance.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    I guess I'm the only one who thinks

    by Subtitles_Off

    they've been slipping since NO COUNTRY. I'd like to see a rebound myself.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:40 p.m. CST

    seabiscuits.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    I also heard they were doing a straight out horror movie next. In fact, I think I read that here, so it's probably not accurate.

  • I didn't really like all that much the Mattie Ross character and it put me really out of the movie to see a teen girl being allowed to do her thing in "the West", i Think the natural reaction from any men in that time would have been the one from Matt Damon, telling her to be quiet and a giving her a good spanking

  • June 25, 2011, 3:44 p.m. CST

    a lot of directors can't say that they made 8 classics

    by seabiscuits

    in a row, starting with their first picture. imo.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:44 p.m. CST

    O, Brother is NOT A MUSICAL

    by D.Vader

    I can't believe this is even being debated. Until the Coens make a film in which characters break out into song and dance, the Coens will NOT have left their "indelible mark" on the genre. O Brother has songs, O Brother has characters singing, but its a far cry from the singing in musicals such as Singing in the Rain or even Moulin Rouge.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:46 p.m. CST

    I'll admit, the closes O Brother comes to being a musical...

    by D.Vader

    Is the KKK rally in which you have the leader singing and the other members dance-marching in beat. Its a bizarre sight to behold for sure.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Bah, okay I recant

    by D.Vader

    The debate over whether or not O Brother is a musical is a fine one. I still disagree with it being considered a part of that genre, but I understand why its even being argued. Scratch the comment above.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:53 p.m. CST

    No Country For Old Men...

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    is the only one of their recent films that is in the same league as their early films in my opinion. But Damn, Blood Simple to Big Lebowski, what a streak.

  • June 25, 2011, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Yeah, True Grit was just OK.

    by mistergreen

    It had good performances but didn't gel as a whole Movie. I gave it 3 stars. A Serious Man was interesting. I wouldn't call it a traditional Hollywood movie which is good but I can see why it wasn't too popular with the public.

  • June 25, 2011, 4 p.m. CST

    rpg, " kind of just good" sums it up well.

    by Subtitles_Off

    I think the performances are all terrific, but the story is weak. The climax hinges on luck and impossible staging. The ending is a disaster, in my opinion. The ending after the ending just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. There are a couple of Coen movies I've liked a lot less than TRUE GRIT, but TRUE GRIT is the one I consider lacks most of what makes any of the others unique and memorable.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Really boring choice of subject

    by flax

    They should make a science fiction or fantasy or something like that. How about The Dark Tower or Terminator 5?

  • June 25, 2011, 4:19 p.m. CST

    "Blood Meridian" is what I would really like to see them adapt to screen.

    by Surfaces_are_supposed_to_be_FLAT

    And it could earn them the 'best picture' too. Would LOVE to see that story on screen.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Blood Meridian

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    The last I heard, it was to be made by Todd Field of In The Bedroom and Little Children.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:38 p.m. CST

    A Serious Man was great

    by Andrew Coleman

    Don't get why people write it off or don't even talk about it. True Grit was solid but the performances of the three leads really knocked it out of the park.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:45 p.m. CST

    myphdisdoom: Agreed.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Lar-ry ...

  • June 25, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Dave Van Ronk fleeced me for $30

    by seansarto

    I used to play music in the coffeehouses of NY...Cafe Lena in Saratoga was in my back yard...Van Ronk would come there and spend most of his time in the bar downstairs. Later, when I moved to NYC, I saw an ad in the back of the Village Voice newspaper that said he was giving guitar lessons..So I called and he invited me over to his place...He lived in a pretty small apartment, smartly decorated, with his wife who looked to be a Native American...He gave me a lesson for $30 and set up an appointment for the following two weeks. Nothing special. When I arrived at the next lesson 2 weeks later, he told me I owed him another $30..I said "Why"? ..he said because I missed my lesson last week...I told he must be mistaken because we never set one up..He insisted that I pay...I showed him my schedule...He insisted or no lesson..I paid him the $60...Then I said, "Fuck you, douche bag! Rot in your grave"...and said "Good Riddance" to Dave Van Ronk, "The Mayor" of Mcdougall Street. Just another shylock.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Blood Meridian wouldn't make the leap to screen

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    intact. Not cause of all the blood/scalping/raping, but because 90 percent of the book is just tone, and would be people ambling back and forth in the desert. I'd love for someone to have a shot at it (isn't Franco involved??) but i'd imagine the end result will just be a weird kind of abstract desert drama with some 7 foot paedophile causing havoc at its centre.<P> Actually, that does sound pretty damn entertaining. I'd love to see the gunpowder scene brought to life, and would happily spend hours here arguing about who'd play the Judge.<P> Fantastic book, but too much about what makes it good is its 'book-ness'. It'd be like trying to make a movie of 'Infinite Jest'. Also, it is probably why no one has tackled 'Suttree' - possibly his best work to date - yet.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:48 p.m. CST

    seansarto: So, you paid him and then told him to fuck off?

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Shrewd move, anti-semite.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    No wonder us Jews get all the money.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    With idiot goyim like seansarto, it's all too easy.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST

    choppah

    by seansarto

    Money isn't everything, only is to small-minded scumbagswhi live off of pretense and not true value of trust...2nd: I'm only anti-scumbag..whatever the make. How 'bout you?

  • June 25, 2011, 4:52 p.m. CST

    iwasinjuniorhighdickhead

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    I am reading Suttree right now and it is pretty fantastic. Most of McCarthy's books I have read are too literary to easily be adapted. Coen's did do a good job, but that was probably McCarthy's most "straightforward" novel.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:53 p.m. CST

    serious man had that schrodengers cat theme running through it

    by seabiscuits

  • June 25, 2011, 4:55 p.m. CST

    sailor_ripley

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    You ever read Outer Dark? That's one bleak fucking book. McCarthy's got a thing for dead babies that stretches back to his early days.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Dewey Cox was the biggest influence on Dylan

    by jimmy_009

    And then Dylan turned around and influenced Dewey's music.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST

    choppah- "us jews"

    by seansarto

    Sad, that you would make a generalization of all "jews" as being crooks..you do noone a great service....you endanger innocents.

  • June 25, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Sailor

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    what a great book. Love to know what you think when you're done?? <P> I'm not hating on the idea, i'm all for someone giving it a go, but like you said, when it is so literary, there's not going to be much for you to play with visually.<P> That said, The Proposition managed to capture some of what I imagine to be BM's tone; but that had a direct and paced storyline that you knew was going somewhere. Filmic, in other words.

  • June 25, 2011, 5 p.m. CST

    How can Jews be crooks if you're just giving it away?

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:02 p.m. CST

    iwasinjuniorhighdickhead, sailor

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    If I had an extra $100 million lying around, I'd give it to John Hillcoat so he can make Blood Meridian.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:04 p.m. CST

    juniourhigh and Choppah:

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    I'm only about 100 pages into Suttree. The first book of his I read was The Road and I have sort of been working my way backwards chronologically. His early books like Outer Dark and Child of God I have not read yet, but I intend to read them all. Roger Ebert once suggested Tom Noonan for the Judge, which is a pretty good choice, but probably too thin for the Judge.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:08 p.m. CST

    yeah, i'd come in with you on that!

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    Has that ever happened on a large scale? Someone with a dickload of money just fronting everything so a film can be made without regard to suits and projections? I know it happens on the smaller scale, and that Lucas ( I think) did something similar? I love that idea. I was reading about some heiress woman who's been helping to greenlight a few upcoming films.<P> You'd end up with some beautiful films, and some apocalyptically hubristic shite (Battlefield Earth style). Either way, it would be interesting. If I was Warren Buffet or Zuckerberg, that'd be second on my list after inventing the hoverboard.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:10 p.m. CST

    lame, choppah...sad, and lame...

    by seansarto

    It is the most cowardly kind of racism that hides behind a generalization only when it is to an indivicual's advantage to do so and runs when it is not...Cowardly. That is the snuff of a liar...A liar steals from the trust of others...and makes "trusts" like money worthless in the long run..for the mere short term pleasures of self-importance...That holds true in the Hebrew faith...So, be careful about who you call "jews"...Heart of the matter, son.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST

    seansarto, idiot, I am a Jew.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

  • June 25, 2011, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Tom Noonan is creepy enough

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    especially in Robocop 2 and Manhunter, just something wrong with that guy. Or Clancy Brown. If they want the proper height etc, they're going to have to play around optically/digitally anyway, so the weight of the actor wouldn't be the biggest hurdle. <P>Child Of God is especially dark, i'm waiting for Tom Six to wiki this book and then announce that he's making it. McCarthy spent years in the wilderness because he wouldn't make it easy on himself. Same with Outer Dark. Hell, McCarthy's life story would make a hell of a film.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Thinking back on that Film Studies Class

    by NeighborNotInTheBiz

    A musical is a film where plot is advanced and/or problems established or solved via songs. O Brother fits that definition. Not only that, but most of the singing is practical. For example, The Soggy Bottom Boys cutting the record, playing at the rally, and the Wharvey Girls on stage at the rally. Some of the songs are not practical, such as O Death at the Klan rally. It's a musical the way "The Wizard of Oz" is a musical, meaning it's not as obvious as "Singing In the Rain" but not the soundtracks-full-of-hits thing that is "Saturday Night Fever" or "FM". "Purple Rain" is a musical. As I suggested, I don't think "Saturday Night Fever" would be a musical: too many of the songs are connected to the story in only the most trivial way, e.g., "Boogie Shoes" or "Night Fever." As for the songs heard when the story is not in the disco, these are only heard by the audience, not the characters. Interesting edge case: "American Graffiti".

  • June 25, 2011, 5:18 p.m. CST

    choppah, you defend call me "idiot"? -re-examine your faith

    by seansarto

  • June 25, 2011, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Those two books are next on my list.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    I would like to see Blood Meridian resurrect Walter Hill's career.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:23 p.m. CST

    sailor

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    After re-watching the opening episodes of Deadwood, I'm convinced Walter Hill is better off on the smaller screen, where he can spin more intimate tales of violence and valour in the Old West.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:31 p.m. CST

    I was thrilled to sit down with "Dave Van Ronk"...

    by seansarto

    and play guitar...but my money was hard earned...I built houses for people, I was in my early 20's...There was a difference between "entertainment" and "sustenence" in my life...When he extorted me, basically, there was no excuse for it...for him to be moneygrubbing off people who could have helped him because they admired him... So, I gave this sad, alcoholic, wimpy washed-up guy his sad, little pleasure, knowing I had more of a future then he did...and said, "See ya, scumbag...your ruining it for yourself". Before that, I thought he had some great thiings he might teach me...Maybe he did...Maybe, he showed me what his life was truly all about...And so I never followed that path.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:33 p.m. CST

    McCarthy is kind of like the Malick of Literature.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    Imagine Malick doing a McCarthy adaptation. Could be brilliant or a complete mess.

  • June 25, 2011, 5:38 p.m. CST

    neighbornotinthebiz that is incorrect.

    by Mel

    You're being literal. By that logic I could probably claim that Boogie Nights is a musical because of the 5 minute scene where Dirk Diggler attempts a music career. We shouldn't have to sit here and debate what is and isn't a musical. It should be quite obvious, but apparently it's not. None of the movies you mentioned are musicals. In a musical, you don't have someone standing on a stage performing songs. The idea of a musical is that people are singing and there's not really a conscience noticing by themselves or the other characters they're even doing so. It's like slipping into a different world briefly. you're not on stage performing in front of a crowd. And a character HAS to be singing. It's can't just be a soundtrack with songs with lyrics. That's absolutely ridiculous. Lastly...musicals have a structure to them. You can't have 2-3 songs and claim you're a musical. And you don't need way too much singing, either (like in the awful Phantom of the Opera from several years back).

  • June 25, 2011, 5:44 p.m. CST

    The Blues Brothers.

    by SAILOR_RIPLEY

    Greatest musical....ever.

  • June 25, 2011, 6:34 p.m. CST

    sounds shitty

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    another non-commercial dud from these guys. wake me when they make another real movie.

  • June 25, 2011, 6:37 p.m. CST

    O Brother sure as shit ain't no musical.

    by JuanSanchez

  • June 25, 2011, 7:22 p.m. CST

    "O Brother" is absolutely a musical.

    by Lenny Nero

    If people are only counting "people breaking out into diagetic songs" as what constitutes a musical, then the genre would be about to lose a lot of entries that are, in fact, considered musicals.

  • June 25, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST

    what was that one? I Love Trouble

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    either it was meant to be a musical and they cut all the songs out, or they made a musical out of it after filming. I forget which, but by all accounts it was epic and probably accounts for Nolte going off the reservation for a while

  • June 25, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Sailor,

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    you're off to some dark places with those two! But he's not written a bad book yet. I was very impressed with The Road audiobook. Read by Tom Stechschulte? Not a well-known actor but by God can that man read a novel.

  • June 25, 2011, 7:28 p.m. CST

    JuniorHigh...

    by Lenny Nero

    I don't remember "I Love Trouble" being planned as a musical, but another Nick Nolte movie, James L. Brooks' "I'll Do Anything," was. Songs by Prince, test screenings went horribly, they cut the songs and the film still bombed. I think it's actually a very sweet movie, and I wish Brooks would release a copy of the musical version, but alas, it'll never happen.

  • June 25, 2011, 7:41 p.m. CST

    People are confusing "book musicals" with others.

    by Lenny Nero

    MelGibson, "Boogie Nights" isn't a musical because it's not consistent with its songs nor defined by it, as in the story. The songs in "O Brother," on the other hand are diagetic without being actual dialogue, do happen consistently and punctuate sequences. <p>NeighborNot is right on some, wrong on others. Dance movies like "SNF" aren't necessarily musicals, but people could *technically* make a case for some. But "Purple Rain" is. But Mel, if "PR" isn't, then neither is "Cabaret," for instance. Nor "Phantom of the Paradise." Nor nearly all of Busby Berkeley's work. <p>It's not "slipping into a different world," and that itself, as if the songs are *asides*, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the genre, both on film and in theatre. There are plenty of musicals that do not forward the action, nor are they "break out into song" bullshit. Rules about categorization in theatre sometimes shift depending on who one is talking to, but it's still pretty clear. <p>I'm not sure why so many people get crazy about this, but part of it is, I think, subconsciously, some people who say they hate musicals don't want to be told that they, in fact, do like some musicals. But just as there are many subgenres within a genre, there are subgenres in the musical genre.

  • June 25, 2011, 8:03 p.m. CST

    What happened to their "Dark drama/horror" movie they were going to do?

    by Dr. Samuel Loomis

  • June 25, 2011, 9:06 p.m. CST

    I've always considered My Dinner with Andre to be a musical

    by Star Hump

  • June 25, 2011, 9:32 p.m. CST

    I would categorize Oh Brother as a comedy

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    But you can call it a musical if you like, I won't argue.

  • musical -noun- a play or film whose action and dialogue is interspersed with singing and dancing. By the very definition of the word, OBWAT? Is a musical. The characters sing. They sing about events occurring within the story. The characters sometimes dance to these songs (if only minor characters for the most part). The songs sometimes even constitute plot points in and of themselves. The plot of the movie is tied to the songs. It is a musical, if only a simplistic one. Problem solved. Theres no use arguing the meaning of a word. You could probably argue what type of a musical it is but not whether it is one. Instead of spouting random shit, just remember that words were created with specific meanings that some pretty smart people wrote down in big books so that stupid people would not have to argue about simplistic shit such as this. You're using the Internet for fucks sake; a compendium of human knowledge at your fingertips and people still rely on vague memories of a film class they took in their first year of college instead of a dictionary. Look it up! Sorry if I come off as a smug asshole, not my intention.

  • June 25, 2011, 10:02 p.m. CST

    P.S.

    by smatt584

    Commenting on this site is a pain in the ass. Had to try eight fucking times to post this trivial shit. Think I'll go back to lurking instead.

  • June 25, 2011, 10:32 p.m. CST

    Interesting tactic, smatt...

    by Lenny Nero

    ...and correct.

  • June 25, 2011, 11:08 p.m. CST

    O' brother IS a musical

    by Fritzlorrerains

    Wake up people!

  • June 25, 2011, 11:43 p.m. CST

    O Brother IS a movie with songs in it

    by D.Vader

    A movie in which everyone but the main characters (except for a few moments, moments which would work in every other genre too) sing the songs.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:20 a.m. CST

    smatt584

    by jonnycat121

    Oh, you smug asshole, you. You sure put this argument to rest. "musical -noun- a play or film whose action and dialogue is interspersed with singing and dancing." So, I guess the Godfather is a musical because there is singing and dancing at the wedding. How about Clockwork Orange? Hell of a rendition of Singing in the Rain. Yup, you nailed this one down for us. You should be smug!

  • June 26, 2011, 12:26 a.m. CST

    Definition of musical - especially for smug assholes

    by jonnycat121

    A much better definition is found at the always reliable Wikipedia - "The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative. The songs are used to advance the plot or develop the film's characters". "Oh, Brother" ain't no musical.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:38 a.m. CST

    Wikipedia

    by smatt584

    You mean the always reliable, but frequently wrong because the definitions are given by users, Wikipedia?

  • June 26, 2011, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Even by wikipedias standards

    by smatt584

    It's still a musical because the songs are interwoven into the narrative and advance the plot and in the case of the baptism, develope the characters. So...yeah, still a musical, even by the wiki definition.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Wikipedia

    by jonnycat121

    "always reliable" was actually a jab at Wikipedia, but glad you emphasized it. In this case, it's a much better definition than the one you listed which is so broad almost any movie ever made would be considered a musical. I still love Citizen Kane, the musical.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:46 a.m. CST

    OK then smatt...is There's Something About Mary a musical?

    by Mel

    It has a few scenes where a guy is playing a guitar and singing about the plot. Of course it's not a musical. That's ridiculous. But once again, we're getting into a war of semantics rather than using our brains to know what is and is not a musical.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:48 a.m. CST

    A musical also has a pattern with the songs

    by Mel

    Keep in mind that musicals also tend to have a cookie cutter pattern with how they do the songs. You've got the chipper opening, the bad guy's song, the love theme, the jazzy number in the middle, and often times a reprise at the end that covers the love theme - with or without lyrics. Most musicals follow that pattern. Musicals don't just have random songs for the sake of having random songs.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:49 a.m. CST

    melgibson

    by jonnycat121

    True. I was trying to point out how ridiculous these definitions are. When you have to twist the definition of a musical so badly in order to have a movie fit, you know you're on shaky ground.

  • June 26, 2011, 12:50 a.m. CST

    Mel

    by smatt584

    We didn't delve into semantics until you mentioned there's something about Mary as a counterpoint. When someone tries to define something, of course the technical definitions come into play. Anyone who says otherwise 'isn't using their brain'.

  • June 26, 2011, 1:15 a.m. CST

    Godfather and Clockwork Orange don't have *consistent* songs...

    by Lenny Nero

    ...so your trap examples don't fit. <p>Again, I say that if you're only thinking that a musical has to be a book musical, then dozens-to-hundreds of musicals no longer exist in their genre. Don't intentionally play dumb just to try to win an argument.

  • June 26, 2011, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Yes, because Wikipedia is the be-all-end-all.

    by Lenny Nero

    Come on. Again with the playing dumb.

  • June 26, 2011, 1:17 a.m. CST

    "A musical also has a pattern with the songs." Actually...no.

    by Lenny Nero

    That's just one kind.

  • June 26, 2011, 1:45 a.m. CST

    great funkin news!!!!!

    by the_man_from_Rio

    so does this mean that film with Clooney about a traveling band of thespians performing Shakespeare's Ceasar is off? was it ever on? what about TO THE WHITE SEA? i hope they make that one someday. meanwhile with this one, the Coen bros will continue to prove why they're among the best storytellers the film medium has ever had.

  • June 26, 2011, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Going back to the topic at hand, this sounds fantastic.

    by Lenny Nero

    The Coens have a wonderful grasp of music and how to use it properly.

  • June 26, 2011, 1:49 a.m. CST

    "To The White Sea" will likely never happen.

    by Lenny Nero

    The studio shit that led to that project failing nearly killed the Bros.

  • June 26, 2011, 7:53 a.m. CST

    What is about "Intolerable Cruelty" that doesn't work?

    by BenBraddock

    Seen it a few times now and it just isn't up to Coen-par. It starts well but quickly ceases to be funny. I remember some kind of Scottish wedding scene that made me laugh but that was near-as-dammit all.

  • June 26, 2011, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Larry Nero

    by jonnycat121

    "Consistent" songs? Yup, argument settled. There's playing dumb and ... Oh, and I already noted the Wikipedia thing was a joke, but nice of you to note it yet again. It's good that you try, though.

  • June 26, 2011, 10:09 a.m. CST

    For me, the movie to beat here...

    by blunted666

    would be Scorcese's No Direction Home. If the Coens can make Van Ronk half as interesting as that doc they'll have a movie. I don't think it can be done with that particular musician as subject matter. They should have taken up a Townes Van Zandt biopic if they're going folksy. I'd prefer something weirder, like a Joe Meek movie

  • June 26, 2011, 2:16 p.m. CST

    There is a Joe Meek movie

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    It's called Telstar, not sure if it's been released in the US yet. Van Ronk is more like a Zelig figure, maybe not that interesting as a subject in himself but he was involved in a lot of interesting stuff. I get the idea that this will be fictionalized though, they won't be using real people's names so they'll have more freedom (don't know if that's true or not but it seems likely to me). Oh, and I can't see how anyone can say O, Brother ISN'T a musical. It has songs consistently through it's runtime, usually performed by characters on screen and not always in the context of a staged performance (i.e. the chain gang song, the sirens). For what it's worth, almost all the songs in Singin' In The Rain were not written for that movie and very few of them do much to advance the plot so by some people's definition here even that wouldn't count as a musical. I think there's some truth in the theory that some people would prefer not to admit OBWAT is a musical because then they can carry on liking it without anyone casting aspersions on their sexuality.

  • June 26, 2011, 2:41 p.m. CST

    CHOPPAH finally got around to seeing TREE OF LIFE. Here's the review.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    I had high hopes for this movie, and going in I was prepared for a letdown because so few things live up to my expectations. However, I'm happy to report that THE TREE OF LIFE not only fulfilled my hopes, but it blew them out of the water. Over time, this will emerge as a paradigm-shifting film, much like CITIZEN KANE, STAGECOACH and 2001 did. An entire new generation of filmmakers will be moved, inspired and forged by it. Its plot, at least superficially speaking, is fairly simple, but I still don't want to get too much into it because I feel you should go into it as unspoiled or perhaps moreso than I was. It's better to describe HOW the plot advances in this case, and it does so in a boldly stream-of-conscious style, even when Malick is showing you the formation of existence and life. The human story that constitutes much of the movie feels like home movies taken directly from memories and half-remembered dreams. Malick's camera follows the characters with a fluid grace, as if they were being stalked and observed by spirits. There is very little exposition to set it all up. Like life, this movie immerses you from the beginning all the way to the elegant, hypnotic end. I didn't want to leave, but halfway through the credits I badly had to take a piss. I wanted to sit and reflect and meditate upon Alexander Desplat's gentle, piano-guided score. The other 10 or so people in the theater had the same idea, only they weren't dumb enough to suck down a medium lemonade during the movie. I must see this again, but I'm afraid I'll have to wait for Blu Ray. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be even more stunning that way. Two notes before I wrap this up: 1. Even though this "argument" should have been settled long ago, let TREE OF LIFE be the movie that finally kills the notion that Brad Pitt is just a movie star and only a serviceable or mediocre actor. He was fantastic, and he is a great actor period. 2. I'm happy I went to see this alone because I didn't feel responsible for someone else's entertainment. For me, the pleasures of the experience were unlimited, but some folks just want to cut to the goddamn chase already. Plus, I really didn't want to talk about it afterward. I just wanted to continue to soak it in as I strolled along on this soft, breezy summer day, watching the clouds roll by and hearing the wind in the leaves. It'll be hard for another new release this year to impress me more than TREE OF LIFE did. Unless, of course, that Bristol-Levi sex tape finally sees the light of day. Five CHOPs out of five.

  • June 26, 2011, 3:18 p.m. CST

    that girl in the left of the picture looks hot with a skiddly leg

    by seabiscuits

  • June 26, 2011, 3:40 p.m. CST

    nicely spotted seabiscuits

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    That's some quality perving right there. An out of focus, partially obscured stick figure. Can't you just go and watch some porn or something? I would say go and find a real woman, but we both know that isn't happening.

  • June 26, 2011, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Anything

    by NudeandAroused

    I will see anything by the Coens. They are that good and deserve respect and attanetion

  • June 26, 2011, 4:33 p.m. CST

    but the no country, serious man, and true grit are a good rebound.

    by Winston Smith

    Hitchcock had a really good rebound in the 50s, you know with that Rear Window movie and some of that other stuff with Cary Grant and such.

  • June 26, 2011, 4:34 p.m. CST

    hmm part of my comment deleted, BUDDY AICN

    by Winston Smith

    And yes, I'd see anything the Coen bros would do, but I'd LOVE to see them do sci-fi. That would be like a dream come true. Even moreso than seeing The Wire in IMAX 3D... er...

  • June 26, 2011, 4:36 p.m. CST

    O Brother = musical

    by Winston Smith

    Why must everything be so crammed into a specific genre? The truth is, it could be argued either as or as not a musical. It's a fine line. Glee is clearly a musical and aren't all the songs in that part of the stage productions? I could be wrong, but eitherway the upcoming Smash by Spielberg is considered a musical and I know for a fact the songs there are all part of the stage performance. It's a fine line and honestly, it doesn't really have to be well defined. Who fucking cares? It's either good or it's not.

  • June 26, 2011, 7:16 p.m. CST

    william_faulkner

    by jonnycat121

    So you're saying it's okay if I'm kinda sweet on you, ya big lunk?

  • June 26, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Billy, it's good to see you be so candid about your love of musicals.

    by AssyMuffJizz

    There's hope for you yet. Feeling 100% secure is just around the corner.

  • June 26, 2011, 8:12 p.m. CST

    I was hoping for Shakespeare

    by MurderMostFowl

    Two Gentlemen of Lebowski deserves a proper movie treatment.

  • June 26, 2011, 8:29 p.m. CST

    A Serious Man is their best film

    by pleasebanme

    And in ten years everyone will know it, just like it took ten years for Lebowski to reach the iconic status it holds today.

  • June 27, 2011, 12:16 a.m. CST

    These guys have the best track record in film.

    by Ironhelix

    Everything they've done is fantastic, and Raising Arizona is a fucking masterpiece. My only wish is that they would do a sci-fi film.

  • June 27, 2011, 5:23 a.m. CST

    How Fucking Boring

    by John

    What a tedious, dick-limpening subject to make a film about. These guys are massively overrated. Apart from The Big Lebowski I can't think of single one of their films I'd want to watch again in it's entirety. Most of them have good moments or scenes but as complete movies they're deeply unsatisfying. I also find something incredibly irritating about their style, which is difficult to put my finger on. Fat Charles Durning opportunistically waddling up on stage and dancing in O Brother Where Art Thou is an example of the mysteriously irritating shittiness of these assholes as filmmakers, for me. And No Country For Old Men fucking sucked.

  • June 27, 2011, 6:27 a.m. CST

    I could not be less interested

    by TheApostle

  • June 27, 2011, 8:03 a.m. CST

    I'm tempted to mail them some Flannery O'Connor myself

    by bah

    She's a little different -- for her, violence brings redemption, while for the Coens, violence is the result of trying to get ahead. But tonally, it's a perfect pairing. I can imagine every shot of what their "The Violent Bear It Away" would look like.

  • I like it when they do original material much better than adaptations.