July 14, 2021

Midweek Mention... Blood Simple

Midweek Mention... Blood Simple

Risky territory here, as we take our first look at the work of the Coen Brothers. Risky in that I'm going to be very disappointed if any of the guys didn't enjoy this movie!

Blood Simple is the 1984 debut movie of the Coen Brothers. The movie features excellent turns by John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, and M. Emmet Walsh.  All the trademark Coen touches are present, so surely we can mark this one down as a hit!? 


Blood Simple

Dan:  It's time

for the midweek movie, mention.

Sidey: yeah, I nominated it. It's blood simple,

Dan: Never

heard of this one.

Sidey: It's a Cohen brothers joint and I'm slightly nervous about it because

Dan:  when we, because I'm a big fan of theirs and I was a big fan of the Simpsons. And when we talked about the Simpsons,

Reegs: we

Sidey: didn't do it justice at all.

Reegs: yeah, it's the one. It's the one episode that we've talked about that we wished we could redo isn't it? The Simpsons one,

Sidey: Yeah, it

Reegs: do that justice. I

Sidey: try and do the Cohen brothers justice. And I picked this one because I haven't seen it for probably 25 years. Something like. Yeah, so

true. So I wanted to rewatch it and I didn't want to pick one of the ones that I really, really, really liked, like bigger basket, things like that.

So got it. And this is their debut feature and Debbie all set.

Reegs: it.

I, I haven't seen this movie and I still haven't seen it, unfortunately. So, and it seems a bit of a weird thing for you to have to sell it to me. Cause this is a movie I want to

Sidey: Yeah. I think it'd be an easy sell because you want to see it.

And also it's really fucking good. It's like I said, it's the Cohen brothers de boo

Reegs: what year are we?

Sidey: 1984. It's also Francis McDormand.

Reegs: Yeah. So look, I took a look at the cost today. It's a decent

Sidey: Yes.

Reegs: Isn't it?

Dan: She was beautiful. Then this

as well. Wouldn't she, she

she's yeah, Really a knockout back in a day. there. I

thought in

Sidey: so young and fresh faced here.

And then, because you're going back to watch something by people, you know, are good and you know, it's like double Oscar winner. It's got that extra sort of

Dan: pedigree

Sidey: yeah. Pedigree to it. So you're expecting good things. I obviously, I was, I knew it was going to be good because I'd seen it before.

Just as good as I remember it

Dan: 25 years is a long time to wait

Reegs: and to see where these masters of their craft in different ways where they've come from and you know what they've done

Dan: I think for, for

me, I'd not seen this film before.

I'm obviously familiar with Cohen brothers films,

but you could start the, see the germs of their style. More than that, actually you could see their style in this. It was.

I little tree of what's to come, I guess, with the Cohen brothers, started with this film, great debut.

Sidey: they have a kind of quirky. Sometimes just pitch black sense of humor. And that does crop up in this, not quite so much as some of the other things, but there's a few things that happen in it.

It's going to be tough to not spoil what happens,

Reegs: are you going to have to

Sidey: classical kind of film noir kind of set up it's it's it's a couple. So Right. Is a bartender at a bar and he is having an affair with the bartender's wife played by Brotzmann Dorman. He. Gets a phone call in the night from the husband, you know, while they're embedded in a motel.

So obviously, you know, it knows what's going on. Turns out he's actually got a PI following them, taking photos. So he's well clued up about what's going on. I think he infers that she's probably sleeping with other people as well, but I think that's just him just trying to be fucking nasty.

Dan: pie is that nasty bit of work that you just think, well, why is he found this guy?

If you know, it it comes a little more apparent because this guy will do anything

for money.


Reegs: Sounds like a memorable character. Who's he played by

Sidey: Emmett Walsh. Big dude. Yeah. He's wearing like a sort of white and creamy suit. It's just look. So

Reegs: what else has he been in M M at Walsh?

Dan: He he, the

kind of character he plays in? This is the kind of character he plays really, really well. I think I've seen him playing Colonel Parker from Elvis is

you know,

Kind of character about him.

Reegs: So he's the sleazy greasy, PAI he'll do anything for money.

Dan: Absolutely.

Reegs: And what is he going to do for money?

Sidey: at first? It's just hard to.

Just to confirm that this affair is taking place, which it clearly is.

Dan: and Andy

has a great deal of satisfaction in watching them, you know, he, he w

he'll watch

and watch, and then

when it's

clear and obvious what's going on, he'll watch some more.

just for his own pleasure.

And then

Reegs: sexual thing going on there.


Dan: yeah, he's he kind of,

Sidey: Marty is the bar owner and husband, and he hires him.

And when he, he shows him the photos, he's like,

He's, but he's fucking pissed off that he's taking his photos. Cause he knows he's a sleazy fucker and he's probably looking at me enjoying him himself, you know? So he, he might goes back to the house to he's got a kidnap Francis and dominance and take her back with him.

But. Fence him off and he gets sort of intimidated and Scott was off with his tail between his legs and he hates it. And it's one of these great Campbell's members. He hosted down the road as fast as he can. And then you just hear the car stop and he has to turn around and Ray goes, I'd love to have seen his face when he saw it was a dead end.

So because he's been really humiliated now, so he goes back to the BI and highs in which you actually kill the third one. So

Dan: Yeah. Things take a darker turn and of course the conversation then discussing this comes up and none of them want to say exactly what, you know,

Here's the money kill those people. He they're trying to piece it out of each other. Exactly. What would you do? And, and if you're in any doubt how sleazy this Emmett's character is then by the end of this conversation in the car, you're left with no doubt, this is a man that will do anything for it's quite chilling. Actually. He's really horrible

Sidey: It's going to get 10 grand, I think for the privilege of killing them.

Just doesn't seem like a huge fee for murdering

Reegs: 1984. I spoke today. Yeah.

Sidey: Let me just read a

Reegs: So what's the relationship like between Francis McDormand and Marty? Like there obviously there's been trouble for a long time. Has there, that's why she's.

Dan: a lot of it is into the affair before you really see the problems going on in their own


And Marty is He's a little bit older than her, you know, he he's quite a few years older than her.

So whether that played in any significance in her having an eye for, for younger men or other men, I don't know, but there's just this constant doubt put into his mind through the PA the PA the private investigator as well. Who's talking about other other guys and things like that, you know, so she's Also in this relationship with, we've Ray and he is eventually told as, as society, we say that the same kind of thing, isn't he, that she's in with another guy.

So it puts doubts into his mind as well.

Sidey: But a friend, the PI his name, his name is never mentioned in the film, but it is, it is in the script and whatever.

And in the credits, his name's Lauren, this he goes to the house. He takes some more photographs, but.

Kill them. He goes into the house, steals her gun and leaves, and then he, he develops the foes and DRS them to make it look like he's shot them stuff on the pictures. Then he goes back to Marty, they have a conversation and he says, yeah, I've done it.

My throws up at the fact that fuck I've actually had these people killed gives them the money, takes the photos, puts them in his safe. But Lauren shoots him just fucking cold blood, shoots him in his chair. So it is a fucking spray, you know, in LA confidential, when James combo gets shot, it's like that.

You're like, fuck, I didn't see that coming. And so and he, he, the reason he's stolen the gun is to make it set up. Like she's killed him.

Dan: Yeah. he's got

Reegs: It's H

Sidey: So first I was

Reegs: all Hitchcockian. Isn't it. It's all

Dan: little bit

Sidey: Cause he, obviously he didn't kill the first one. I thought, oh, he, he, he's not a murderer. Like he doesn't want to kill anyone.

He's probably just going to take the money, run to the next town, do a job on something else. But no, he is a killer. He's just playing all the angles. They're like what he's most like to get away with.

Reegs: Right Yeah.

And he did that because he was paid more by them.

Dan: No, cause he realizes he could probably get a few more quid and take all eyes off him On this double murder

and have it all kind of twist round that

Reegs: total psycho.

Sidey: Yeah.

Reegs: Wow.

Sidey: like a big sort of goofy kind of idiot as well.

Not lovable, but just like more stupid than you would. Don't see it coming because he doesn't look that calculating that he's going to play one off against the other or twist it around.

But he's a cold dude.

Dan: gets

him in the end really, or plays on his mind, certainly is he's he thinks he's clever than he is.

So he makes mistakes. And one of the mistakes he makes was leaving him. Is lighter on the

Reegs: What an idiot.

Dan: Yeah.

where the


Reegs: one that's like got his name engraved on it. Yeah.

Dan: So I think. So it did have some engraving

and You see him using a couple of times.

Reegs: Is, I mean, that's pretty

Dan: Now you have to remind me how that comes back because he does certainly go back into the room, looking for, he knows the light is gone.

He's searching for it everywhere. Isn't he, when he finally

does. Yeah. When he finally does

Dawn on him. But there's a load more stuff that happens in between to kind of confuse matters.

Sidey: Ray goes to the bar and sees the dead inadvertent commerce. What's his name? Marty and he believes that frighten, Madonna.

Dan: Of course he thinks he should be already.

Sidey: It's all very confused. Everyone is very confused about what's going on. So he decides he has to clear up the crime scene and dispose of the body. So you get this really long convoluted bit of him trying to clear up this blood with a denim jacket, and it's just not fucking working, you know,

Dan: Well, while,

the bar is

slowly starting to have people

come in.

Sidey: Yeah. So he has to take the body and the car out. They go out and it's this bit, it's a lot like Fargo. They're going out in the wilds and he pulls up the side of the road to, to dig a grave. It comes back to the car. There's no body there and he looks around the side of the car and he's very, very slowly.

Crawling away. He's not actually dead.

Reegs: brilliant.

Sidey: And there was no, there was no hint of that. There was no him groaning or rattling around in the back of the car. I he was gone.

Dan: there's this truck coming the other way

That's going

Sidey: It's a lot of Fargo

Dan: fro the headlights on this man, who's been shot calling down on the road. So he's got a call to make.

and He grabbed him, picked him gets him into the back of the car just before this huge truck passes then beeping their horn the whole way.

And then he needs to get rid of him. and and he's not


Sidey: fucking buried him alive, man,

shallow grave. The guy go and he's just chucking gravel, you know, and his face.

Okay. It's pretty cold. Cause this guy at this point, he's just been a guy having an affair, you know it, but he's, he, he thinks he's doing. The right thing,

Reegs: but it's like a situation that's escalated. Well out of control. Yeah. No, why didn't he let him get hit by the truck up and then that would have

Sidey: he thinks it's all going to come back to his misses that he's having the affair with you see

Reegs: Yeah. Right. Bloody hell. So now he's dead easy. I mean, is he going to come

Dan: in a, he's in, he's in a shallow grave? We know that much and he's been covered and Ray then goes. back To see Francis w character's name is

I forget Abby,

and. Kind of


says, oh, you know, cleaned up your shit. I went to see and she's

Reegs: like what?

Dan: Yeah, she doesn't get it. And she also says I didn't do anything funny, which is a line that's already been told to, to Ray about, oh, is she going to tell you she didn't do anything funny and you're going to believe her. She's got another guy going

Reegs: I'm wondering about the guy who did do the shooting though. Is, does he know what's happened?

He's going to come back and be like, who the hell has cleaned up the body

Dan: when he came back to find his lighter.

Sidey: But now what's happened is he gave the photo too.

Dan: Oh tomorrow

Sidey: And it's like, give me that back. So it's in an envelope, you know, so it gives them back the envelope, but when he opens it later on, it is it's an advert, it's a flyer for the bar or something. And he's kept the photo is evidence that he is a murderer. You see? So he goes, he goes back to the bar to retrieve the photo, and then he sees Ray and Abby together at which leads to.

Another altercation. Which again, I was just like, I've forgotten all the other detail, you know re. Getting shot and killed he's out of the movie.

Reegs: Yeah. Okay.

Dan: It suddenly becomes like game of Thrones. People are just

Reegs: dropping

like flies here.

Dan: And then this incredible scene


Which I, I'll be cautious about talking too much about it because spoil a couple of surprises for you, but the, the scene where it's a show off really between Abby and the PI pay the BI personal assistant No,

Reegs: Michelle like a shootout

Sidey: She's locked us up in a bathroom. She's completely. Sort of cut off for him. She's in isolation and he's trying to find a way in to get to her. And the way he tries to do it leads to a really fucking great scene that I don't want to

Dan: Yeah, well, she, she calls out the bathroom window and hides away in another room. Next to it, that you can't see, in.


reach around the outside and find it, which he does,

I'm going to leave it there.


She does something to him then, which is just,

Reegs: oh, it's 10 years.

Dan: So it's, It's really, it's really great. And it turns out anyway, w we, we go through And

it's quite a long, a long kind of scene

played off.

Isn't it It's almost like real time you know, there's something has happened that is quite brutal Savage and violent. And you kind of just watching it with them as it happens a little bit like You know, that was it 96 hours where the guy's got a sore off his own

arm or something like that, you know, a hundred and twenty seven ninety six.

almost. So he wishes it was

  1. It was
  2. So it was that kind of thing where you just somebody's got to do something and oh yeah,

it was

Sidey: But she, she thinks it's Marty butts attacking her. She doesn't know it's this dude. So she does eventually there's one round left in the garden when she fires off.

And you'll have to watch it to see what happens, but it's, it's a fucking good ending.

Reegs: Well, I mean, it sounds like typical, you mentioned Fargo a few times. It feels like it was in the same universe when you're

Sidey: that road scene is almost like cut and paste of the look, the feel of it, everything from Fargo,

Reegs: Yeah. And is it, where is it set? Did you say, is it like Minnesota or somewhere like that? Is it

Dan: mid

Sidey: It's

Dan: of west

Sidey: it's a sleepy sort of small town kind of vibe, typical cone sort of stuff. There's some nods to some other stuff. There's a, there's a, a shot where they come out of a, the back of a bar and the way that the cameras it's exactly like something out of evil, dead,

and they are good friends with Sam Raimi.

Yeah. I think it was Joel, did the edit some of the editing on that

Reegs: that's right.

Yeah. No, no, that's absolutely right. Yeah.

Sidey: so that that's like another note to it. The cinema talk refer is Barry Sonnenfeld in this past cause they were film student powers, I think. So obviously he went on to do a

Dan: golden

Reegs: So basically everybody who is involved in this in some way or another has gone on to achieve,

Dan: What, what about Ray?

I didn't

Sidey: he's the one that doesn't, so it hasn't written, didn't really kick on. And he's played by John Goetz, who I struggled to think of. Anything

Dan: Anything else had been in and it was, it was maybe the one part of this film where the lead character big Paul.

And I've not seen him in anything else where you see young Francis and you'll see a few other characters that definitely you've seen in other films.

And the, the guy who played Ray, I'm pretty sure he was in Scarface. Is one of like the, the early

drug drug



Sidey: is this

Dan: Al Pachino puts

Sidey: kind of rodent you're looking dude. And he's got this enormous, like dimple on his chin that you think is like almost fake.

Reegs: You want to touch it?

Sidey: it just so, so like you're staring at it.

You'd recognize the bloke. Yeah. He's really good at it. He's horrible bastard. So it's got all those sorts of Cohen touches. It's also edited this one by Roderick Jaynes, which is their pseudonym that they use to edit all their stuff. I don't know why they do that. It's just pretty cool. So yeah, big time fan.

And I think when I saw this the first time, I'd only seen it. I think it was, I think I knew about them because they'd just won the Oscar for Fargo. So I'd seen that and I'd seen Miller's crossing, I think Barton Fink. And then I managed to get my hands on this and watch this and you can see the Genesis of all that stuff is here in this movie.

So this one it's, it's great. I really, yeah. You'd want to see it anyway, but I just highly recommend it.

Dan: Oh, I wouldn't say it was their best movie, but it's still very, very enjoyable.

There's double crossing. It's got that new all feel about it is great characters and things get out of control fast. You know, it's got all those elements that make a really great


along with bits of everyday humor.


Sidey: they do it, how they, most of it.

Dan: in

Sidey: These comedic moments in some of the darkest situations,

Reegs: yeah, there

Dan: is that

there isn't there in everyday life. There's, There's funny kind of moments that happen in the darkest times. And they tap into that and they remember it and able to just pitch it really well at different moments in there.

Watch it you'll enjoy this

Reegs: Like I say, I do want to say it maybe next time it comes around on the midweek mentioned I'll watch

Sidey: just quickly it was made for one and a half million dollars.

Dan: And I eat four. Okay.


a bigger chunk than it is today, but still

Reegs: would've made that back now by, because just people interested in their work.

But I dunno how the statistics work. Is it about box office or?

Sidey: Yeah, I'm not entirely sure, but it's made 4.2, so that's good. Yeah.

And obviously it was enough of a hit that they went on to do other stuff.

Dan: I think That's

the important thing that they had more films after this, but with that cost and that team in behind him this was gonna be a hit.

They must've known it

Sidey: up until the point. I loved everything that they did. And then

Reegs: that point was the lady killers.

Sidey: did that come before intolerable cruelty?

Reegs: I never seen intolerable cruelty.

Sidey: Yeah. But lady curse, rail disaster. But this is great. It's great.

Dan: Maybe they stayed their their original stuff. You know, they don't need to remake a classic Ealing films.

Nobody does.

Sidey: What was the Western

Reegs: Buster Scruggs?

Sidey: Jeff Bridges

Reegs: true grit And that was good. I really liked that. I've got to be honest. I hear it's almost blast for me, but I almost prefer it to the original. That's big cool in it, but Jeff Bridges is so good. And the kid.

Sidey: Maddie Ross.

Reegs: Yeah. She's amazing.

Sidey: Yeah. She's Yeah, she is great.

Reegs: Yeah.

Sidey: She's great. And pitch perfect too, as well.

Dan: That's another one.