Also, there’s this:
Lebowski in 60 seconds.
I watched Intolerable Cruelty again recently and really enjoyed it. It’s not considered one of the Coens’ better movies but the acting is sharp and the Coens’ get the screwball down here in a crisp, biting way that was missing from The Hudsucker Proxy (though that movie has its pleasures, too).
Maybe it’s because I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is a fox and because I like George Clooney when he does comedy. Their chemistry works in a way we rarely see in war of sexes movies these days.
Billy Bob Thorton really cracks me up in his small role.
A Year with the Coen Brothers
I wasn’t prepared for how overwhelming the return to New York would be. I had gotten accustomed to the wide open spaces, and the freedom it gave my mind to wander. Immediately, New York was an assault on that sense of liberty. The greys (from the sidewalks and streets) and browns (from the brick buildings) were binding. It was still cold, and it would take my eyes some time to adjust to the beauties that can be found in the harsh angles and imposing structures of the city. It was great to be walking the streets again, especially since I wasn’t in the slightest way weighed down by the winter malaise; I floated through pedestrian traffic with a permanent smile, feeling both at home and broadened. I had a perspective now that distanced me from the eye-for-an-eye squabbles I could see festering in others; I didn’t take any of it seriously.
And though this grace period would eventually expire, I felt like the experience of being away for so long had given me a confidence, a sense of myself, that would have been impossible to achieve had I never left. I had much catching up to do with family and friends, and for the first few weeks it was like a homecoming. Inertia did set in, however, and I found myself in a position of re-evaluating relationships, and just how I planned to live my life. The lightness of living out of a bag for five months was a great training ground for the serious work I now had to attend to at home, where the gravity of old patterns soon returned. But I continued to draw and paint and that helped the transition plenty.
STRONG MEN ALSO CRY, SIR
When I first went to work for the Coen brothers in the fall of 1996, they had already cast Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” for their next movie, “The Big Lebowski.” For the first couple of weeks I was with them, they agonized over who would play “Lebowski.” The trouble was, most of the actors on their wish list were dead: Fredy Gywnne, Raymond Burr, Orson Welles. Ultimately, it came down to two actors, one of whom was British. I thought the Brit was the better choice, but for Joel and Ethan it was important that the actor was American, preferably of the midwest variety.
Thinking back on it, George Steinbrenner would have been an ideal choice. I was reminded of this after reading that Boss George got all choked up in front of a group of stunned reporters after yesterday’s exciting win over the Red Sox. As Lebowski would say, “Strong men also cry.” Veteran New York reporters Bill Madden and Joel Sherman were genuinely surprised at Steinbrenner’s reaction. That is saying something. Jack Curry reports in the Times:
The tears were visible beneath his sunglasses soon after Pride delivered for the second straight game. Steinbrenner depicts himself as a tough guy and a tough owner, a man who has avoided tears after winning some World Series titles. But on this emotional day in an emotional rivalry, when two of his best players wound up at a hospital for X-rays, Steinbrenner turned softer than pudding.
“I’m just proud of the way Mussina pitched,” Steinbrenner said. “You know, I’m getting older. As you get older, you do this more.”
According to Madden:
With a security guard behind him looking on in astonishment, Steinbrenner briefly excused himself from the group of reporters that had surrounded him in the press box as the Yankees were loading the bases against the new Red Sox closer, Byung Hyun Kim, with none out in the ninth. Moments later, as jubilation reigned from the 55,000 fans exiting the Stadium and Sinatra was kicking into “New York, New York,” Steinbrenner came back, still teary-eyed, only this time with a tone of defiance to his voice.
“Did you think Martinez was deliberately throwing at your guys?” he was asked.
“I have no idea what’s going on in his head,” Steinbrenner said, “except that it didn’t look too good to me. Two hitters? One of whom, Soriano, is on his way to the All-Star Game. … If he did deliver a message, he delivered the wrong — message!”
…Of course the Yankees found a way to win by a 2-1 score, and when it was over Niagara Falls took up residence on Steinbrenner’s face. The Boss bawled some serious tears of joy. Seriously. He was really crying. When it comes to this rivalry, there is never any need to make things up. Fact has been kicking Fiction’s butt now for nigh onto nine decades.
Ryan points out how the Red Sox wasted a great opportunity to take the series with Martinez pitching and the Yankees fielding their B (or C?) team.
The journalistic temptation is to get melodramatic when discussing the ceaseless Red Sox fan frustration against the Yankees, but how can you not when you see games like this? Losing this game, and falling back to the same situation the team was in when it arrived here in the wee smalls Friday (i.e. four games behind), on a day when they were playing the junior varsity and your team was suiting up the full varsity is, what? Galling? Humiliating? Exasperating? Oh, God forbid, and worst of all, predictable? Was there a seasoned Red Sox fan out there who didn’t know with 1 trillion percent certainty in his or her heart of hearts that as soon as Giambi’s single tied the game off Martinez that this game was a lost cause and more than likely would end in some messy fashion?
What did we have in the ninth? We had two singles on two-strike pitches, a hit batsman to load the bases with none out, and a botched grounder that had inning-ending 4-2-3 written all over it.
And then we had George opening up the facial faucet.
When the subject matter is the Red Sox and their ongoing battle to slay the big, bad dragon from the Bronx, no mere sportswriter is equal to the task. But Homer is dead, and we are all you’ve got.
Weep on, George. History remains on your side.