“Blood Simple” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 5
“I ain’t done nothing funny.”
Maybe it’s some by-product of being released in 1984, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was like watching a slasher film. It had the same type of repeating motif music, the slivers of lighting, the handheld camerawork, and the overall look of any of the Friday the 13th films, Evil Dead, or just about any other 80s horror movie. It struck me as very odd, and out of place. Perhaps it was intentional, but it didn’t seem to fit the story they were trying to tell.
I also wasn’t particularly sure who I was supposed to root for or care about in this story. I didn’t like any of the characters, and the ending isn’t particularly satisfying, either.
For being only 95 minutes long, this movie sure felt a whole lot longer. It might have been too simple of a story to tell as a feature, and perhaps would have been better suited for a short film.
I can see the faint glimmer of the dark, Coens’-style humor here, but it’s evident they hadn’t honed the right mix and pacing yet. I’m disappointed in this one. It’s severely lacking in the stylishness of the Coens’ later films, and, as a result, makes for a much less effective viewing experience.
Blood Simple was at the time of this review at #155 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #305 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Blood Simple vs. Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
Even though I wasn’t much of a fan of Blood Simple, it was at least a notable effort. Toynbee is fairly lackluster in comparison.
Blood Simple vs. Closer
Even though I think Closer would probably be better served as a stage play than a film, it does have some pretty wonderful performances from its stars – Julia Roberts, Clive Own, and Natalie Portman. I much prefer it over Blood Simple.
Blood Simple vs. Private Parts
Despite the oddity of a biopic starring the actual person the biopic is about, Private Parts surprises by actually making you care and understand about the life of shock-jock Howard Stern. It will win over Blood Simple.
Blood Simple vs. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
It’s been a long time since watching this version of the Dracula story, but Gary Oldman has left an impression that hasn’t gone away over time. It’s not perfect, but it’s stylish and reaches for grandeur in ways that Blood Simple simply does not.
Blood Simple vs. The Muppets
I didn’t mind The Muppets but wasn’t particularly impressed, either. Blood Simple can win this one.
Blood Simple vs. The French Connection
The French Connection can win on its car chase alone. It wasn’t quite as cool as I expected, but it’s much less disappointing than Blood Simple.
Blood Simple vs. Broken Flowers
Despite Bill Murray’s involvement, I wasn’t too hot on Broken Flowers. It’s terribly slow and kind of a meandering mess. Blood Simple at least kept me going looking for a resolution. Broken Flowers just made me want to turn it off before it ended.
Blood Simple vs. Road to Perdition
I’m not sure Tom Hanks was the right guy for Road to Perdition, but it is a pretty gorgeously shot movie. Blood Simple wasn’t nearly as impressive.
Blood Simple vs. K-PAX
K-PAX is a lesser-known Kevin Spacey movie where he plays an alien, and by the end of the movie you’re not really sure if he’s telling the truth or he’s just insane. It’s kind of dumb, but I enjoy it. It’s going to take this last machup over Blood Simple.
Blood Simple is now ranked below average at #722 out of 1360 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Coming up next is Apocalypto and There Will Be Blood. Check out the other movies I’ve been ranking in the challenge this year.