Joel and Ethan Coen are among the most revered filmmakers in Hollywood. They’ve made all kinds of movies – from a bizarre crime caper that claims to be a true story to a Raymond Chandler-esque mystery story wrapped up in a stoner comedy (they made those movies consecutively, too) – and brought the same attention to detail and incomparable craft to each one. Point is, the Coens have enjoyed quite a Hollywood career and, as a result, they’ve amassed a giant fan base among the film buff community. So, for the Coen brothers fan in your life, here is the Coen Brothers Gift Guide.
10 The Big Lebowski 11oz Coffee Mug
We all remember the hilarious moment in The Big Lebowski when the Dude is dropped off by one car and then forced into another, all while he’s holding a White Russian. He cries out, “Hey, careful, man! There’s a beverage here!” Now, that incredibly apt quote has been printed on a coffee mug.
So, you can feel like the Dude while you drink your morning coffee to mellow you out for the day ahead, or drift off to sleep on your rug that really ties the room together to the sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival while you drink your evening cocoa.
9 Soggy Bottom Boys T-Shirt
The Soggy Bottom Boys helped to renew the public’s interest in the song “Man of Constant Sorrow” when they played it on the soundtrack of the Coen brothers’ period comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and made movie history in the process.
While O Brother, Where Art Thou? isn’t the Coens’ finest film, or their best-remembered one, it is a hysterical caper and it has a huge cult following. And any fan of the Coen brothers loves it – so much, in fact, that they’ll instantly recognize the Soggy Bottom Boys on this t-shirt and wear it immediately. It’ll make a perfect gift for a Coen brothers fan.
8 Where’s the Money, Lebowski? – The Official Loaded Questions Party Game
With this official party game based on The Big Lebowski, diehard fans of the movie – and followers of Dudeism – can show off how much they know about the characters and the plot. Each card requires the player to boast their Lebowski knowledge with open-ended questions.
But don’t worry if you’ve never seen the movie, because you can play, too! There isn’t a single trivia question in the whole game, so players can still enjoy it without a comprehensive knowledge of the movie. This is an officially licensed game with the approval of the movie’s producers – in other words, the Dude abides.
7 No Country for Old Men
Cormac McCarthy is one of the most highly acclaimed authors of recent decades. He writes bleak, haunting tales of mankind’s worst side, set against hot southern backdrops. What is perhaps his greatest work, No Country for Old Men, was adapted by the Coen brothers into what is perhaps their greatest work.
The script that the Coens adapted from this book won them an Oscar, so it’s worth a read for any fan of theirs. Funnily enough, McCarthy himself had originally written the story as a screenplay before turning it into a novel. As a result, there’s a stripped-back, minimalist (and, not to mention, cinematic) quality to the prose.
6 The Coen Brothers: Directors’ Collection
This Blu-ray collection includes every kind of Coen brothers movie. They’re masters of various different styles, tones, and genres, so it’s interesting to see their range summed up in a single box set.
Their Hollywood industry satire Hail, Caesar!; their existential religious allegory A Serious Man; their Chandler-esque stoner comedy The Big Lebowski; their bleak revisionist remake of the classic John Wayne western True Grit; their historical crime comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou?; their incisive George Clooney/Catherine Zeta Jones romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty; and their zany spy thriller Burn After Reading. Every Coens fan needs it.
5 Fargo Movie Poster
The Coens’ darkly comic crime thriller Fargo has such a unique style – both cinematic in its framing and presentation of cold settings and minimalist in its mostly snow-white color palette – that an entire TV show has been based on its style.
And while there’s a lot to love in the FX anthology series (it’s easily one of the best dramas on the air right now), it’ll never be able to beat the movie it’s based on. And no movie buff’s poster collection is complete without the iconic theatrical poster for Fargo with its juxtaposition of embroidery and gore – and the tone-setting tagline, “A homespun murder story.”
4 Lebowski 2020 Election T-Shirt
This t-shirt suggests that Jeff “the Dude” Lebowski is running for U.S. President in the 2020 election race. He’s not, of course, because there’s probably something in the Constitution that prohibits fictional characters from running for President – plus, that would require some real commitment from Jeff Bridges – but this is a really fun way to show how much you love the Coens’ wackiest and possibly most famous movie.
Also, if he were to run for President, the t-shirt suggests a great campaign slogan from the movie: “This aggression will not stand, man!” He’s paraphrasing George H.W. Bush, but it’s best known as a Dude quote.
3 The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together
The pitch-black comedy, inventive framing, and tonal shifts that are found all throughout the Coen brothers’ filmography are examined at length in this book by film critic Adam Nayman. It’s the definitive work of Coen brothers criticism, digging deep into their work to put together what Nayman calls “some Grand Unified Theory of Coen-ness.”
Filled with film stills and graphic information to break up the written theory, this book is a must-have for any fan of the Coen brothers’ work. They’ll even chuckle at the title, which is a play on The Big Lebowski quote, “That rug really tied the room together.”
2 Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording
The Coen brothers have never made a musical, but Inside Llewyn Davis is probably as close as they’ll come. It’s set in the 1960s on the folk music scene. Oscar Isaac plays the title role, a struggling artist in the vein of Bob Dylan who drifts around and plays his beautiful music.
That music was released in this album, whose personnel includes actors from the cast, like Isaac and Adam Driver and even Justin Timberlake. The album also includes an unreleased studio version of Bob Dylan’s “Farewell” from his smile-inducing pseudo-cameo at the end of the movie. The album is a modern folk classic.
1 Coen Brothers Collection
This Blu-ray collection of Coen brothers movies contains four of their most essential movies. It has Blood Simple, their indie debut feature, a slick, suspenseful neo-noir thriller about a private eye who twists a job involving a jealous husband and a cheating wife around to make more money (spoiler alert: it ends violently); Raising Arizona, their sophomore effort, a zany slapstick comedy starring Nicolas Cage that uses the camera to wring more laughs out of the gags; Miller’s Crossing, the Coens’ complex and highly acclaimed gangster epic; and Fargo, which obviously needs no explanation. These are must-own Coen brothers movies.
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