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There is a moment in Fargo (I’ll never stop talking about Fargo) that makes me die with laughter every single time I watch it. The movie is packed with black comedy and irony and brilliant deadpans (the license plate joke, holy shit) and some basic but perfect physical gags (Jean Lundegaard bursting out of the shower draped in its curtain like a kid in a homemade ghost costume), but I ain’t talking abaout all that stuff. I’m talking about the stills above. This moment seems to be more of an editorial in-joke than an actual written joke, but of course you never can tell with the Coen brothers. After Jean’s dad and Stan Grossman and Jerry discuss the plot’s central ransom over breakfast, Jerry is at the counter. The beaming cashier asks how Jerry’s meal was. After he answers rather shortly, he comes back with an affable “How you doin’” and when it cuts back to her, we see her cock her head to the side before it cuts again. All she does is cock her head to the side. No response, no change in expression, just a slight pitch. It’s hilarious. It’s insanely funny.
2012 was full of self-serious groaners pretending to be action movies. I’m talking about the ones with oppressively sullen atmospheres and desaturated colors and adults speaking in serious tones about serious consequences. Skyfall and The Bourne Legacy and what have you. The poster child for this recent spate of ‘grown up’ action movies is, of course, The Dark Knight and its sequel—two movies that stupid people argue feature ‘moral complexities’ not found in your average popcorn flick. Give me a break. Personally, I can’t stand when a movie with an inherently fantastical and silly premise carries itself too seriously. And with Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness dominating 2013’s action lineup, it seems like we won’t be out of Nolan’s shadow for a while.