Booze Revooze: A Drinker’s Skewed View of A SERIOUS MAN

[Click here for a guide to Booze Revooze and the rating system used]

From the juiced-box and the soundtrack: Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun

Ramblings: Seriously, Man

Final Proof: 2 Shots

You know how you drink with losers? Not jerks or assholes or anything, but those guys who are crap magnets because if there’s bad luck anywhere in the area, it’s gonna happen to them. They’re the guys who waitresses drop their trays on, whose toes fat people always step on, whose shirts are always untucked, who get the beer that’s all foam, who set their pack of smokes in the drink puddle and who always end up paying the tab even if they make the least amount of money. Sure, there’s something comical about these kind of people and you even feel some empathy for them because sometimes you feel like you’re that kind of jinxed, but are they funny? Not so much. And they’re not all that fun to drink with because even if they don’t complain, you can’t help but see how miserable they are. A Serious Man is kind of like that.

A Serious Man is a serious movie. Sure, it’s the Coen brothers but was No Country For Old Men a laugh riot? In fact, A Serious Man is an intellectual European movie, down to the ending. The movie’s pro’lly hilarious if you know about Schrödinger’s Cat, but i’m just a normal guy who wants to go to the movies. Not to leave you in the dark, this Schrödinger dude got in a battle of wits with Einstein and said that a cat in a box is either dead or alive, not dead and alive until you open the box to find out what the deal is with the cat. We’re supposed to know all this and recognize that Larry Gopnik (played perfectly by Michael Stuhlbarg) is both alive and dead in his life. Or something like that. It makes my head hurt, if you want to know the truth.

Ok, there are a couple of cute scenes that’ll make you laugh out loud (the bar mitzvah scene is fairly hilarious, for example and the note at the end of the credits was awesome: “No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture”) plus the actors do an impeccable job, but if this movie was made by Ethan Allen and Joel Blow instead of Ethan and Joel Coen, nobody would be talking about it.

People are gonna tell you that you have to like this movie because it’s arty and by the Coen brothers. That if you don’t like it you’re not hip or smart enough. They’ll say you gotta love this movie because it’s about Jewish people and hating it is anti-semitic. Don’t let ’em. Dare to recognize this is a movie made to wow the critics but not for commoners like you and me.

Buzz Kills (Watch Out for Spoilers)

Sex: 0 Shots

Take a look at the cast on IMDB. There are a gajillion guys and not enough girls. ‘Nuff said.

We do get to see Larry spying on his neighbor tanning topless, but unfortunately it’s from a distance. Too bad because Amy Landecker is super hot at 40.

The Woman With Absinthe Eyes

Amy Landecker In The Bar None

There was a Silken Butterfly in disguise, because the fleeting beauty in A Serious Man was disguised as a homely chick. Thank gos Miss Demeanor spotted the Butterfly hiding inside the caterpillar. Here, then, is Jessica McManus (18).

Jessica In The Movie

Jessica In Real Life

A Smoke

Drink: 0 Shots

Larry’s wife’s lover brings over a bottle of Bordeaux to smooth things over.

Let me check my notes… Yep, that’s it.

A Smoke

Rock & Roll: 1 Shot

The movie is set in 1967 and apparently the Coen’s were big fans of Jefferson Starship back then. We got three songs by them, “3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds”, “Comin’ Back To Me” and “Somebody To Love”. There’s even a Rabbi towards the end who quotes the Airplane. “When the truth is found to be lies / And all the joy within you dies…”

Here’s the song on the juiced-box:

Boring Technical Crap

Written by: Ethan and Joel Coen

Directed by: Ethan and Joel Coen


Amy Landecker – Mrs. Samsky

Jessica McManus – Sarah Gopnik

Michael Stuhlbarg – Larry Gopnik

Bottom Line

European critics LOVE this movie, need i say more?

Oh, i almost forgot. Here’s the hippie “Comin’ Back To Me” if you’re into late sixties psychedelia:

5 thoughts on “Booze Revooze: A Drinker’s Skewed View of A SERIOUS MAN

  1. I don’t need to watch a documentary of my life played by someone better than myself playing myself. While the sixties gave us an awsome soundtrack, it sucked for the most part for me. I’ll pass on this one.

    and yes, I’ve catsat for Schrödinger. He’s a lousy tipper.

  2. An accurate review, even tho’ I liked this one a little more than you, I think. I think that the settings and costuming were really well-done, too — not as good as an Ang Lee film, but better than “The Wonder Years” for capturing the late 1960s/almost 1970s.

    And the pot scenes!!! Maaaaan you alkies are too much about the booze and forget about the WEED!! This movie is a great pothead movie, methinks.

    Hmmm, maybe Joel and Ethan wrote/made this while stoned. It is not unlike stoner talk that sounds all deep when you are having it, but then you look at the notes you scribbled on the napkin the next day and think, “WTF?”

    The pot scenes were well done, too, though. Even the sense of one’s head going WONGA WONGA when on it — hearing your heartbeat really loudly.

    Oh, I really did like this one, though, even if it is not the Coen’s strongest ever. I think it was a pretty good fable.

  3. A friend of a friend of mine who is a friend of Joel and Ethan said that this move was essentially their childhood in Minnesota. That didn’t make it any better for me, but it is an interesting tidbit. They weren’t necessarily going for laughs — they were just being self-indulgent.

    I would have rated it 2.5 shots, because the scene with the Rabii after the Bar Mitzvah had me laughing for at least 2 weeks. However, I agree with the rest of your analysis, Al.

    • you’ve got to wonder about someone directing other people in a potrayal of their lives, even highly stylised. I would think it would be a trip worse than drugs and could you watch the finished product knowing what really happened?

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