“Hail Cesar” (Netflix)

Watch this if you are in the mood for a very silly, funny movie by of all people the Coen Brothers! (no violence except for a few face slaps) It’s a spoof of the movies and Hollywood of the early 50’s, especially the big (awful) extravaganza Biblical ones. The Monty Python influence is clear in its irreverence and humor (e.g. Life of Brian). The cast includes George Clooney, Scarlett Johanssen, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton (who plays twin gossip writers), of course Frances McDormand, and many others I can’t recall right now. One of my favorite scenes is Josh Brolin’s meeting with religious leaders to get the stamp of approval for the film. The movie was released for a very short time in 2016. Interestingly it got rave reviews from top critics (New Yorker, Guardian, NYT’s etc.) and really low scores from audience. My hunch is that the audience was too young to understand the references. Having endured the boredom of these epics as a child I could really relate to this broad satire. A viewer without that background or understanding of Hollywood history, the Blacklist, and the Bikini Atoll bombing would not not enjoy or “get” it.

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