Author Topic: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers  (Read 20264 times)

great_badir

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2014, 12:47:49 PM »
I'm quite enjoying it.  As others have said, it's not amazing, but it perfectly passes the time.  Plus there's no robot grief dog in it.

I initially only went in out of sheer curiosity, mainly because I'm not actually a huge fan of the original film (I'm not a Coens hater or anything, I just think that both Fargo and Blood Simple are not only enormously over rated films in the Coens canon, but enormously over rated films in general), so I was just interested to see what would be done with a TV series.

That interest has morphed into genuine like.

Also, it has made me want to see the film again.

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #61 on: May 29, 2014, 01:22:10 PM »
The episode was fine, as they finally decided to give some emotions and depth to previously otherwise caricatural characters. The main limitation of the show is still that it nearly plagiarizes many similar scenes from the Coen brothers filmography, not particularly Fargo, making them more generic in the process. The second limitation is that the script is very contrived when it comes to Billy Bob Thornton succeeding in his many enterprises with a few situations that are just contrary to common sense or habits (no mug shot taken after his arrest, the cops who haven't understood what happened with Glenn Howerton in the previous episode).

Apart from this, it's pleasant, and the cast is great (I won't complain about Key & Peele appearing in this). Personally, I watch it now for a good reason — it gives me more appreciation for what the Coens are able to achieve in their own films.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #62 on: June 04, 2014, 02:37:36 PM »
I honestly was fairly confused as to where the show was actually going at this point. That's been a common thing that's happened with me, where everything seems to have a logical and chaotic conclusion, likely with everyone dead, and everyone unsatisfied.

So I was really pleased [spoiler]and really caught off guard by the time-jump. It's not what you'd expect. I mean, not here. Maybe in the last episode, but not here. But it really makes sense. And suddenly the importance of Key and Peele has come into focus.[/spoiler]

I've really been turned around on this. I've just been thoroughly enjoying it now I understand what it is. I don't agree with the contrived nature, as it's heavily playing with matters of fate, and coincidence. Like I said before, all these things happening are improbable, but not impossible. I can deal with improbable if it's framed correctly and it's true to the characters, and most importantly if it's to aid the theme. But yeah, I'm enjoying it.

And Martin Freeman has been shining in these last two episodes. I mean, it's odd that when I think about it, he's not actually in it that much, but he's really come into his own. And you can [spoiler]genuinely feel his confidence. He's fuckable, man. And all he needs is a slight bit of product, a dark suit, some snazzy glasses and just raw confidence.[/spoiler]

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #63 on: June 04, 2014, 10:25:33 PM »
Martin Freeman's turn will be most likely an afterthought once you see John Krasinski's performance in the British remake, Glasgow.

Garam

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #64 on: June 06, 2014, 02:45:17 PM »
Gave this another go and I'm glad I did. It's developed into its own thing and there are some great set pieces and performances in there. Martin Freeman's character embracing evil is great to watch and separates it from William Macy's, who was just a selfish prick who got in over his head.

Regards to Billy Bob's character, I don't think it's supposed to be realistic. He's a force of nature, the devil himself, like Madman Muntz in Barton Fink. There's a touch of the supernatural in most Coen films, so it makes sense to go for the same vibe in this spinoff series. Excited to see how it'll conclude.

great_badir

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #65 on: June 11, 2014, 01:22:20 PM »
The main limitation of the show is still that it nearly plagiarizes many similar scenes from the Coen brothers filmography

Given that the Coens are on as producers and have been, so I've read, partly involved with the creative process (at least in the early stages), that's hardly surprising.

It's definitely getting better as we've been getting closer to the end, and there's been a lot of character development (Freeman's character especially) which, whilst arguably sign posted and perhaps even verging on cliched, is something which many other shows lack.

Whether it needs a second series, though...

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #66 on: June 11, 2014, 06:56:44 PM »
Whether it needs a second series, though...

But s2 will have all different characters though, won't it?

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #67 on: June 12, 2014, 12:39:44 AM »
Given that the Coens are on as producers and have been, so I've read, partly involved with the creative process (at least in the early stages), that's hardly surprising.

It's definitely getting better as we've been getting closer to the end, and there's been a lot of character development (Freeman's character especially) which, whilst arguably sign posted and perhaps even verging on cliched, is something which many other shows lack.

Whether it needs a second series, though...

I can't state how much I'm hating this show. Seriously. It's Contrivance: The TV Show. If you try to put up all the pieces together, especially everything involving Malvo, it falls down faster than an Italian government coalition.

So, they have footage from the lift security camera that identifies Lester... but not Malvo or whatever his name was.
We have Malvo working undercover for six months just for a job he was given, just after killing 22 people during a shooting. How can this guy still get a gig? He left his contact for dead... And that's the same Malvo who had zero issues killing Sam Hess just for fun (at Lester's suggestion) or putting together a blackmailing operation totally unrelated to his main mission.
[spoiler]Linda was a good girl, she put her hood... and kept it inside the shop. For absolutely no good reason, except that her husband told her to.
Lester may have developed, but he's not that resourceful, from what was shown in the latest episode. How could this guy have become within a year the salesman of the year? And couldn't he make the connection and realize that the blurry footage from the guy who killed 22 people in Fargo (which would have made national headlines) may depict the guy he met at the hospital?[/spoiler]

The show is filled with fridge logic that you realize before getting to the fridge. And one key difference between the Coens and the universe of the show is that we got a few key Coen characters who turn evil because they realize (or believe) people around them are idiots, a good example being The Man Who Wasn't There. In the show, these characters try something evil and succeed because the supporting characters who are introduced later are uniformly presented as idiots. Remember that Glenn Howerton is still dead from a "suicide by cop", and is presumed to have duct-taped himself to the exercise bike.

Puce Moment

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #68 on: June 12, 2014, 12:55:37 AM »
I find myself enjoying this show in spite of all of its glaring problems and plot paradoxes. In particular, I like the general feeling of tension that it manages to create despite its silliness and pithy, twee surrealist moments. The two FBI cops can get to fuck, but there is something very pleasing about having a show that genuinely has multiple protagonists.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #69 on: June 12, 2014, 03:57:45 AM »
So, they have footage from the lift security camera that identifies Lester... but not Malvo or whatever his name was.
We have Malvo working undercover for six months just for a job he was given, just after killing 22 people during a shooting. How can this guy still get a gig? He left his contact for dead... And that's the same Malvo who had zero issues killing Sam Hess just for fun (at Lester's suggestion) or putting together a blackmailing operation totally unrelated to his main mission.
[Spoiler]Linda was a good girl, she put her hood... and kept it inside the shop. For absolutely no good reason, except that her husband told her to.
Lester may have developed, but he's not that resourceful, from what was shown in the latest episode. How could this guy have become within a year the salesman of the year? And couldn't he make the connection and realize that the blurry footage from the guy who killed 22 people in Fargo (which would have made national headlines) may depict the guy he met at the hospital?[/Spoiler]

The show is filled with fridge logic that you realize before getting to the fridge.

Well if one watches the show in this way, there are way more obvious examples of this sort of thing than the ones you've mentioned, but I don't think that the show is supposed to be taken in quite such a literal or logical way. As to your questions, was it definitely security footage that tied Lester to Vegas, or was it somebody seeing Lester going into the elevator? Regarding the hood, she was only going to be in the building a matter of seconds. Lester being the top salesman doesn't ring all that false given the obvious fact that he is now a walking example of the hypothetical sales pitch we saw him attempt in episode one, and has been shown to use his perceived circumstances to his advantage whenever possible. I don't know about the Fargo photograph, and I guess if the show was going for out-and-out realism, that would have made the national news, but I don't know what difference that would make anyway. Lester already knows that Malvo is a dangerous man, but he confronts him because he's high on himself, considers himself Malvo's equal, and wants to show Malvo how far he's come. As for Malvo getting new gigs, he's changed his appearance, and is working in a different area, and, beyond that, who knows what stories he's concocted regarding the Fargo incident, if it even came up? Were he to say that that was a job that he was hired to do, it would surely look great on his CV. But, to be absolutely clear, I don't think that any of this shit matters really, because I don't think that it's that kind of show.

great_badir

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #70 on: June 12, 2014, 08:01:07 AM »
But s2 will have all different characters though, won't it?

What I meant is I don't think it needs a second series full stop, different characters or not.  Cos it would probably be the same basic thing over again, a la 24.

Unless it's left on a cliffhanger and it will continue on, at which point it would be far too drawn out.


I find it amusing that one of the main criticisms of the show is its detachment from reality, despite being set in "the real world".  Don't see too many people making the same complaint about most Coen brothers films.  Which are set in "the real world", but are detached from reality...

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #71 on: June 12, 2014, 10:39:09 AM »
Most of the works by the Coens are detached from reality, but they are often, literally, a surreal take on reality, with many elements of life being amplified for dramatic and grotesque purposes. I love nearly all the films by the Coens, with the exception of Intolerable Cruelty (Coens by the numbers) and Ladykillers (pointless remake of the Mackendrick film). Even in stuff such as The Big Lebowski, the elements of the plot hold up very well, as even the absurd events get some justification. Even the window pane of the Dude's car is explained a little before it takes place. There's also a lot of unrealistic stuff that happens in A Serious Man, but the film is all about just having bad luck or being tested by God.

The Coens actually know how to use the "Hand of God", the power that a screenwriter has to bend reality to suit their purpose, wisely. They can have a character being submitted to an extremely unlikely string of events because they're on a lucky (or unlucky) break, which makes it even more spectacular when they have some change of fate. That's Chigurh's car accident at the end of No Country for Old Men, all of Larry Gopnik's issues becoming small potatoes compared to the tornado at the school's son or the results from his X-rays and analysis. Or the final irony of Llewyn Davis having his spotlight, the only thing he's still got, stolen by an unseen upcoming singer-songwriter in the last scene.
The Fargo TV show, as it's not a tight two hour story, has to rely to multiple twists of fate. Lester is unlucky, until he gets lucky, until he gets unlucky again. And it's the opposite for Malvo. That's why I think this format makes the story weaker than what the Coens are able to achieve in their own films.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #72 on: June 13, 2014, 10:16:52 PM »
I'm "quite" enjoying the series. I'll be watching the ninth episode tomorrow. I wasn't sure at all about the year-long timejump in the eighth; I found it very jarring, though I'm beginning to like the way Freeman's character has found a new self-confidence and focus. No doubt his fall will be all the more spectacular.

The series will probably be best enjoyed when it's complete and you can treat it as a 9-hour movie by watching the lot at once.

chand

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #73 on: June 16, 2014, 09:08:25 AM »
We have Malvo working undercover for six months just for a job he was given, just after killing 22 people during a shooting. How can this guy still get a gig? He left his contact for dead... And that's the same Malvo who had zero issues killing Sam Hess just for fun (at Lester's suggestion) or putting together a blackmailing operation totally unrelated to his main mission.

Wasn't he undercover because the actual target was in witness protection and he had to gain the trust of someone who knew where he was?

mook

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #74 on: June 16, 2014, 09:53:29 AM »
that's what i got from it. i wonder if malvo was a dentist before he got involved in all this killing lark?

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #75 on: June 16, 2014, 11:35:48 AM »
My issue is that no crime organization would trust Malvo, just after he killed randomly 22 people and at least grievously hurt his own handler. He would be damaged goods. Particularly if it's a long run mission that requires discretion.

Tiny Poster

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #76 on: June 16, 2014, 10:55:31 PM »
I thought it was a personal thing, not a mission. He's trying to take out anyone connected to Fargo.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #77 on: June 18, 2014, 09:37:27 AM »
My issue is that no crime organization would trust Malvo, just after he killed randomly 22 people and at least grievously hurt his own handler. He would be damaged goods. Particularly if it's a long run mission that requires discretion.

The 22 people he "randomly" killed were the organisation that tried to kill him. I think that's the kind of action that gains you respect in the criminal world.

Which handler do you mean? The supermarket guy?

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #78 on: June 18, 2014, 09:46:46 AM »
Plus it was a bounty. He expressed that. As opposed to a specific contract given directly to him by some trusting criminal organisation. Anyone can collect a bounty. He probably just heard about it, read about it on Illegal Craigslist

Default to the negative

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #79 on: June 18, 2014, 02:11:13 PM »
*SPOILERS BELOW, IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LATEST EPISODE*

It's a bit weird that Gus was given a citation for bravery. That would make sense if he'd taken Malvo down during one of his mass shootings, but what actually happened was the opposite of that. I think it's more likely that Gus would be charged with murder. He gunned down a wounded, unarmed man and didn't even plant a weapon in Malvo's hand to make it look like self-defence. That wouldn't fly with the police, even if the victim was a dangerous hitman. Furthermore, he waited in the cabin for Malvo to come back with a clear intent to kill him, when he had ample time to phone the police and tell them he'd found the killer's hideout.

I dunno, I'm not an expert on these matters, but I don't think there's any precedent in the real world for someone doing what Gus did and not only getting away with it, but also being hailed as a hero by the authorities. I'm used to things involving Malvo being unrealistic, but the Molly/Gus side of the story is usually more grounded in reality. This outcome was too implausible, even by the stretched standards of Fargo.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #80 on: June 18, 2014, 02:25:29 PM »
Yeah. The series as a whole was enjoyable enough, but it really sort of hobbled toward the end.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #81 on: June 18, 2014, 02:47:06 PM »
*SPOILERS BELOW, IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LATEST EPISODE*

It's a bit weird that Gus was given a citation for bravery. That would make sense if he'd taken Malvo down during one of his mass shootings, but what actually happened was the opposite of that. I think it's more likely that Gus would be charged with murder. He gunned down a wounded, unarmed man and didn't even plant a weapon in Malvo's hand to make it look like self-defence. That wouldn't fly with the police, even if the victim was a dangerous hitman. Furthermore, he waited in the cabin for Malvo to come back with a clear intent to kill him, when he had ample time to phone the police and tell them he'd found the killer's hideout.

Gus is an ex-cop and married to Molly. Malvo isn't just a hitman he's a mass murderer with about 30 known kills including the beloved chief of police. It might not be completely fair and by the books but I think the Fargo cops would have definitely considered him to be in the right.

phes

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #82 on: June 18, 2014, 04:03:30 PM »
No, it's murder plain and simple. He was even on Malvo's property. Also, 3 people died in the period between gus first seeing Malvo's car and shooting him dead. He's partly responsible for those deaths. Very annoying episode. I think I can see what they were going for in having gus and lester come back to bite malvo on the ass but it just felt as though amongst all the symbolic stuff they overlooked the strengths of the series.

phes

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #83 on: June 18, 2014, 04:04:54 PM »
Dp

Old Nehamkin

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #84 on: June 18, 2014, 04:20:11 PM »
Yeah, the Gus thing was weird. I can sort of buy that the police would turn a blind eye and fudge the report what with Malvo being a cop killer and Gus being the boss's wife, but the commendation for bravery was a bit much and it's odd that Gus didn't seem to have any moral qualms about basically committing first degree murder against a guy who, as said above, is already wounded and unarmed. Hardly the heroic, redemptive moment the show seemed to play it as.

Whatever. Overall a pretty good ending to a pretty good show. I liked Martin Freeman's [spoiler]death[/spoiler], that was great. Also, when Malvo jerked back to life after Gus shot him in the chest, did anyone else think for a moment they were going to go all the way and actually reveal him to be some supernatural being? Probably for the best that they didn't but part of me would've loved them to just go fucking nuts at the end and have him turn out to be Satan or something.

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #85 on: June 18, 2014, 10:57:43 PM »
The 22 people he "randomly" killed were the organisation that tried to kill him. I think that's the kind of action that gains you respect in the criminal world.

Which handler do you mean? The supermarket guy?

The handler was the guy in some Southern place like Memphis or Phoenix (I can't remember the town) in the office with the phones. Malvo got the name and address of the Fargo syndicate from him, after warning him that he would get the choice between dying and getting an ambulance.

Malvo makes literally no sense at all, when you look back at him. He's a guy willing to spend six months undercover for a mission, but he's also a guy who, when he gets bored, kill people just because he feels like it (Sam Hess) or blackmails the very same person he was supposed to protect (Stavros), while he doesn't seem to have any use for money himself. And let's not forget that he got hit men on him because he had quite randomly killed Sam Hess while on a totally independent mission, and that the very thought that Fargo would try to punish the murder was enough to make him kill 22 people in retaliation.
Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men was a narcissist creep who would hide his own sadism behind some pseudo code of fate and honor. Malvo was defined by what the plot wanted him to do. He was a model employee unless he wasn't.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 11:19:08 PM by Ant Farm Keyboard »

Puce Moment

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #86 on: June 19, 2014, 02:15:17 PM »
Hmmmm, enjoyable but all a bit too neat and unsatisfying towards the end. It also became a bit too wholesome.

I hated the entire section with Gus in Mavlo's home. Why didn't he phone it in? Why is assuming Malvo will come back? It stunk so badly in terms of logical plotting. They basically wanted to do the 'good people can do bad things' which they had already done with Lester, by having him murder an unarmed, wounded man. This is not the only area where this show flew too close to what I admit is the very Coen-esque A Simple Plan.

I actually thought that this was an 8-part series so I was delighted by the ending of having Lester win an award and then seeing Mavlo in the Vegas bar. That was wonderful. Since I realised I was wrong, everything beyond that has been too plot driven and frankly I wanted Lester to get away with it all to be honest.

Those two FBI cops were terrible from start to finish, really clunky. I also couldn't get out of my head that one of them regularly performs on Whose Line it is Anyway?

Finally, I found the Coen tie-in elements really annoying, but the worst intertextual reference was Lester doing that fucking logic problem that they use in the 'Training Day' episode of The Office. Was that in the script before Freeman was cast? I doubt it.

Overall, a good time-wasting show that had some really good elements - not least the reiteration that Thornton is a fucking great screen presence (perfectly cast), and I rather liked the main female cop quite a lot. But there were too many weaknesses and irritating plot issues.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #87 on: June 21, 2014, 12:31:41 AM »
....Finally, I found the Coen tie-in elements really annoying....

I liked the poster on the wall of the cafe which advertised White Russians, the Dude's fave drink.

vrailaine

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #88 on: June 21, 2014, 12:34:57 AM »
Thornton was great, definitely a good move on his behalf to sign up for it to remind people of that. Freeman also done a really great job imo, haven't seen Sherlock but he really surprised me here with the performance.

Puce Moment

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Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #89 on: June 21, 2014, 02:27:09 AM »
I liked the poster on the wall of the cafe which advertised White Russians, the Dude's fave drink.

But imagine if you really dislike that film, and you see distracting references to it in the background.