Cast and Crew: Joel Coen (Co-Director, Co-Writer, Co-Editor, Producer); Carter Burwell (Score); Roger Deakins (Cinematograpy); Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, Tony Shalhoub, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi, Richard Portnow, Christopher Murney
What It’s About: Leftist New York playwright and champion of the “common man” Barton Fink (John Turturro) travels to Hollywood where, instead of making one of his plays into a film he is forced to write the kinds of entertainments actually enjoyed by the common man-wrestling pictures. While suffering a horrific case of writers’ block, he seeks help from a cast of Hollywood types including fellow author W. P. Mayhew (John Mahoney) and the traveling salesman (John Goodman) that lives in next door in the low-rent hotel Fink is staying at.
Why Watch it Today?: Ethan Coen turns 56 today. Barton Fink is one of the Cohen brothers many excellent films, with a darker than usual blend of black comedy and horror, all set against the backdrop of the underside of Studio-era Hollywood.
Other Choices: Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Intolerable Cruelty, No Country for Old Men, True Grit
That poster always freaked me out because of the HUGE mosquito shadow on Turturro’s forehead (lol), but the film is brilliant stuff. “I’ll show you the life of the mind!” indeed…