Hail, Caesar! (2016)

casey All cards on the table: I freaking loved it

brooke That’s a pretty solid place to start
this movie truly was ridiculously good
The Coen Brothers have done it again

casey I’ll need another viewing or two to decide how it ranks in the Coen Brothers comedy lineup, but I can say Hail, Caesar! was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.

brooke It was fun AND funny
and nice to look at
the costumes, sets, makeup: every detail was perfect

casey Quick rundown: Hail, Caesar! is the story of an unflappable movie exec, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), and his attempts to manage a series of catastrophes on his 1950s studio sets. His primary dilemma: star actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) has been kidnapped from the set of the would-be epic Hail, Caesar: A Story of the Christ and held for ransom by a cadre of communist screenwriters.

brooke We watch Eddie deal with a day of craziness on the Capital Picture movie lot–mostly micromanaging the minutia of the actors’ lives, because, you know, 1950s and image and such–all while trying to locate Baird so he can shoot his movie’s final scene.

hail-caesar01

casey Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the main story, especially the dimwitted Baird’s interactions with the screenwriters, the side plots are what made it great, with much of the movie operating as a series of vignettes imitating and spoofing films from the era. Everything gets tied together near the end, but most individual scenes are enjoyable entirely on their own, including a single shot Channing Tatum song and dance routine, Scarlett Johansson as a foul-mouthed Jersey girl in some kind of mermaid musical, and Alden Ehrenreich as a drawling Western stunt actor badly miscast in a high society drama.

brooke The drama was probably my favorite. Watching Ralph Fiennes try to teach Ehrenreich’s Hobie Doyle to say “Would that it ’twere so simple” was hilarious
The entire theater was cracking up
There were a lot of little gags too, like every time a certain scandal is brought up surrounding a movie called “On Wings of Eagles,” you hear an eagle somewhere in the distance

casey  Also, there’s Tilda Swinton playing jealously competitive hollywood reporter twins, a wonderful scene with various religious leaders focus-grouping Hail Caesar‘s potential offensiveness…
But it’s pointless to try and recap everything, and honestly there’s not much to discuss in terms of plot or in-depth themes. The joy comes from just seeing the goofiness play out.

brooke It’s probably going to be one that we watch fairly often.
I do have to point out that I was a little bothered at how little female presence there was.
You have ScarJo with a few minutes of screen time, Veronica Osorio and Tilda Swinton for a few more each, and not much else.
Oh, there’s also a cameo from Frances McDormand
I really wish there had been more women.

casey I’m also not sure any of the characters are quite as timeless as some of the other Coen comedies.
Oh! One more thing I enjoyed was how Hail, Caesar! captured the look of movies from its era, including the flat, oversaturated Roman drama and the blue tinted day-as-night look in one of its Westerns. The combination of new and old styles made me happy.

brooke Yes! Another example of the attention to detail.

casey The Coens have set high standards, so time will tell where this one ends up ranking, but for now I can say I enjoyed its gleeful frivolity a lot.

brooke It very easily could have been a boring movie about the hard job of a movie executive, but the little things made it an instant comedy classic. Everyone should see it. Twice.

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