'Proxy' Votes

Regarding "They Never Come in From the Cold" (Film Comment, March 13):

I took Peter Rainer's brutal attack on the films of Joel and Ethan Coen more than personally. I was outright disgusted.

As a great admirer of their work, naturally, I have to disagree with Rainer on his ridiculous psychobabble analysis of their films to date (he neglected to include the slapstick comedy "Crimewave," which the Coens wrote for director Sam Raimi and even featured a Hudsucker State Penitentiary in it).

True, their films are as perfectly crafted as a Swiss watch, but that is no reason to condemn them to a "cynical android's paradise," to rework Rainer's harsh words. Much as in the films of Stanley Kubrick, beneath that cold, precise surface lies a wonderful sense of humor and horror. It had been quite some time since I laughed as hard as I did when I saw "The Hudsucker Proxy." In fact, I've already seen it twice.

Rainer might want to try his hand at actually making a film even a fraction as good as a Coen brothers production. Perhaps he can upgrade the audience response to those Los Angeles Times theatrical spots from the usual chorus of boos and hisses to an apathetic yawn.



Mr. Rainer, do you know the definition of the word dramatist ?

Before you answer, please also consider this secondary but no less important question: Have you read the book "The Art of Dramatic Writing," by Lajos Egri?

If you could say yes to either or both of these, you would probably be lauding the Coens for their unique ability to juxtapose metaphorical characters and situations while creating profound conflict leading to a resolution that illuminates belief.

Your petty carping about the emotional void at the center of their work strikes me as uninformed and irrelevant. As artists, the Coens choose to dramatize our societal weaknesses in order to correct them. I believe they do so in a brilliant and original fashion. Watch Aaron Spelling if you want to feel fuzzy.

Otherwise, do your readers and yourself a favor: Read Egri, watch "Miller's Crossing" (a film displaced in the theaters by the heady "Home Alone") one more time, and let me know if the Coens have hearts.

Here's a hint: They may be busted up into little pieces, but they are there.


Santa Monica

Though I agree with the content if not the virulent tone of Rainer's article on the interesting but obtuse Coen brothers, I point out to him that corpses cannot be buried alive.


Hermosa Beach

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