Tag: CormacMcCarthy

Why Joel Coen Will Give Us the ‘Macbeth’ We’ve Been Waiting For

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player…”

My Shakespeare professor in college was a loud guy; he was also extraordinarily controversial. They’ve probably fired him from his third university by now, but that’s beside the point. On my first day of class with him, he warned us all that we would probably be offended at some point—he would run around the room quoting plays like Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, and Macbeth verbatim whilst taking scenes from those plays and applying them to recent news or daily experiences. Before him, Shakespeare was annoying and difficult—just early modern English nonsense.

Other teachers just focused on the plot points of William’s plays and brushed over the lyrical nuances of his words. Great art transcends time with eternal themes that strike deep through the heart of existential struggle. With subtly that is sometimes hilarious, over the top romance and gore, Shakespeare created plays that are still relevant to this day. I can only think of one pair of contemporary artists (not really) that so subtly tackle existential shit with ease: the Coen Brothers. This brings me to the news of how Joel Coen is set to direct Macbeth—courtesy of Variety.

 

Image result for macbeth

Image Via Everymantheatre.co.uk

 

Whenever I think of either of the Coen brothers, my mind wanders to their adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men. I feel it is appropriate to mention that film here because of its thematic ties to Macbeth. Greed is bad and it will ultimately lead to a destructive end unto itself. Macbeth chases power while the characters in No Country chase drug money—albeit for different reasons. In both tales, violence is the result of the chase. Now, I could easily draw some parallels between the character of Macbeth and Llewelyn or Lady Macbeth and Carla Jean, but instead I’m going to focus on some more OMINOUS scenes.

Early on in Macbeth, the titular character runs into three witches who throw a bunch of prophetic—mind-effing—jargon his way; unfortunate for him, ominous for us. It sets the character of Macbeth on his arc. Similarly, there’s an ominous scene early on in No Country where Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is cautioned by his wife Loretta (Tess Harper):

 

Loretta Bell: Be careful.

Ed Tom Bell: Always am.

Loretta Bell: Don’t get hurt.

Ed Tom Bell: Never do.

Loretta Bell: Don’t hurt no one.

Ed Tom Bell: [smiles] Well. If you say so.

 

Image result for no country for old men loretta bell

Image Via Mymeaningfulmovies.blogspot.com

 

I love that scene. Not just because it contains loads of macho nonsense (kind of) that makes me want to crush beer cans on my face, but also because of the subtle characterization that happens within it. The foreshadowing cements this character as someone who is about be involved with the plot but not ‘deathly’ involved. A narrator. A voice. A shadow.

The protagonist of McCarthy’s novel (more so than the film), Ed Tom Bell is the aging sheriff of Terrell County, Texas; he’s a bit of a jaded, yet hard-nosed character. Being an old-fashioned, ethical man, he finds it difficult adapting to all the violence, greed and corruption of society. He is the character the reader most identifies with… basically, he’s Shakespeare. If Shakespeare wrote himself into Macbeth, it would be as a jaded captain in Macduff’s army—as a character who sees the world as it is and is simply exhausted by it.

 

Image Via Ny Times

I’m exhausted by all the Macbeth adaptions we’ve had in the past. I’ve read the play numerous times and watched it at least a couple: the Mel Gibson version blew (or was that Hamlet?) and the Michael Fassbender one was eh. I didn’t expect to see or be excited about another adaptation anytime soon. Then I heard Joel Coen is going to try his hand at Shakespeare with the help of top tier talents like production company A24, Denzel Washington, and Francis McDormand. The long list of complex films that are (if this article is any indication) easily equatable with Shakespeare plays under his belt prove him more than capable of adapting the said source material. He must have something fresh, quirky, maybe even offensive up his sleeve—able to demolish prior stabs at Macbeth. Hopefully, he reinvigorates a new wave of WS enthusiasm. I will full-on seek it out upon its inevitable limited release. Maybe I’ll run into my unemployed professor in a darkened theater. I’ll throw popcorn at him.

 

Featured Image Via Empire Online.

Solar eclipse

5 Characters Who Should Look Directly at the Eclipse

Today a solar eclipse will pass over the continental United States for the first time since 1918. Anybody lucky enough to see the total solar eclipse will be in for a literal once in a lifetime experience. It will be tempting to look directly at the eclipse, but scientists warn that this could seriously damage people’s eyes.

 

Not everybody deserves to hear this warning, though. Here are some characters who actually should look directly at the eclipse.

 

1. Tom Chaney from True Grit

 

True Grit cover

Image courtesy of Amazon

 

For those unfortunate people who have yet to read Charles Portis’s classic True Grit, Tom Chaney is the central villain. He shot Mattie Ross’s father dead, which sends the precocious young lady on an adventure to avenge her dad.

 

Portis manages to make Chaney a near-sympathetic character, but he still killed Mattie’s dad and Mattie is awesome. Best of all, Chaney would actually be directly under the total solar eclipse’s path. If you happen to run into Chaney today, make sure he doesn’t know about those eclipse glasses.

 

2. Dracula from Dracula

 

Bela Lugosi's Dracula

Image courtesy of Playbuzz

 

Transylvania may be far from the United States, but Count Dracula could be on vacation in New Orleans or something. If so, maybe you can forget to mention that you’re not supposed to look directly at the sun. You can find a way to artfully omit that information, right?

 

3. The Queen from “Snow White”

 

Evil Queen

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Magic mirror on the wall…don’t even bother. If the Queen looks at the solar eclipse, she’ll damage her sight so much she might not even be able to see. If she can’t see, then any concept of who’s the fairest of them all will surely fly out the window. In fact, if the Queen looks at the solar eclipse the central conflict in “Snow White” would be resolved.

 

4. Claudius from Hamlet

 

Hamlet skull

Image courtesy of ShortList Magazine

 

Claudius is one wicked uncle. First, he kills his own brother, and then he marries his brother’s widow. Woof. Once he’s king, his nephew, Hamlet, swears vengeance. If Claudius went blind, then it would definitely make Hamlet’s quest for vengeance easier. Assuming the eclipse happened before the events of the play, then Claudius’s whole dastardly scheme would fall apart.

 

5. Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men

 

Anton Chigurh

Image courtesy of Villains Wiki

 

Anton Chigurh, famously played by Javier Bardem in the 2007 Coen brothers movie, is essentially a force of nature. With his captive bolt gun, Chigurh acts less like a madman and more like a professional big game hunter. Any hunter’s worst nightmare is going blind. Let’s see Chigurh nail those crazy shots without his precious 20/20 vision.

 

Feature image courtesy of NBC