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  Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?  
  Joel Coen  
  George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, Joe Turturro, Holly Hunter  
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Coen brothers movies are often intelligent and complex, but they also offer much to the "Joe Six Pack" who just wants a good laugh or surprise when he or she (that would be "Josephine Six Pack", I guess) goes to the theatre. After all, one of the funniest moments in film is still: "Son, you've got a panty on your head" (from Raising Arizona). With Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? a fantastic tale about Mississippi during the Depression, the brothers Coen have honed that skill. The humor is definitely there, in a perhaps more physical way than any of their other previous films. And, I was skeptical about the "quirkiness potential" of George Clooney, but he convincingly plays the hapless, though clever, anti-hero, Ulysses Everett McGill. Through Ulysses' many foibles, the Coen brothers poke fun at the racial and political obsurdities of the South, while honoring its romantic traditions and musical contributions. And, hey, where else can you see the Klan dancing in a chorus line?

Although the surface comedy is enough to make this movie worth its admission price, the real genius of this film is its multiple layers of meaning and inspiration. The modernized and surreal epic of three escaped convicts includes grand Southern mythologies, meta-theatrical references, and a foundation from the Greek classic, The Odyssey. It was so complex, I eventually had to forego catching all the themes, resolving to watch it multiple times.

Indeed, I've seen really boring movies that are caught up in their self-conscious referencing, I've seen good movies with no depth, and I've see a movie or two whose only saving grace is the soundtrack. Rarely, do I see a movie that leaves me yearning for the soundtrack and anticipating the video release. Well, this movie went one step further: I also went to the website. And, of course, the website is recommendable, including a vintage radio that spins dialogue and songs from the movie. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself! Then, go see this movie.

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