Ranking the Coen Brothers

coen brothers - Ranking the Coen Brothers

After receiving their first (but well deserved) Best Picture Oscar, I decided it was time to rank The Coen Brothers entire body of work.

Disclaimer: I am a huge Coen Brothers fan so determining the order of this list was fairly easy for me since I own all of the movies (except for No Country For Old Men), and have watched them all several times.

I think that that Joel and Ethan are two of the best directors of our time. Noted for their dark humor, memorable characters, and wonderful cinematography, their quirky films have embedded themselves into modern pop culture.

A few examples of this footprint:

  • The wood chipper scene from “Fargo”
  • The Soundtrack from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (it was the 2001 Grammy winner for album of the year)
  • The Dude (Jeff Bridges character from The Big Lebowski) is referenced by 20 something guys on a daily basis

If you are just introducing yourself to the Coens, this list will make for a great reference point so that you don’t dive in head first and break your neck (by putting in Barton Fink as your first exposure).About the Picks: #1-4 are must see movies(must own if you really want to get technical), #5-9 are movies that you should barrow, or watch on tv sometime, they are borderline owns, #10-12 are the watch when you absolutely have nothing better to do.

  1. Fargo – A ( I still believe this to be their best film, and easily could have netted them the Oscar in 1996)
  2. No Country For Old Men – A (I have been back and fourth with this film and Fargo as to which I like more. In the end Fargo gets the nod because it has had a longer time to win me over)
  3. Blood Simple – B+ ( Their first movie, still is one of their best)
  4. The Big Lebowski – B+ (Such a dark comedy, I remember seeing it for the first time and being baffled in the strangeness.)
  5. O Brother, Where Art Thou? – B (this movie hasn’t stuck with me like is has for others. Still a great spin on the Odyssey.)
  6. Barton Fink – B- (John Turturro did a great job in this film, a little more quirky than some of their later work)
  7. The Man Who Wasn’t There – C+ (one scene in this movie kept it from getting a higher grade. Shall i say “spaceship”)
  8. The Hudsucker Proxy – C (you know, for the kids. Goofy, fun movie.)
  9. Millers Crossing – C (I have watched this movie several times, and to me it just drags)
  10. Raising Arizona – C- (another movie that hasn’t really hit home for me. Has some funny scenes but just a little drab)
  11. Intolerable Cruelty – C- (Cathrine Zeta Jones is stunning, and George Clooney plays a dolt much like in O Brother. I watched them film part of this movie when I was in Vegas some years ago.
  12. The Ladykillers – D ( I really wanted this movie to be better. I had seen the original, and I love Tom Hanks. The Hip Hop element detracted from the movie.)

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