Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Jew Abides

I've been chatted up by many, MANY people today about the Coen Brothers picking up a brand new project. Now currently they're working post on the dark political comedy Burn After Reading about C.I.A. agents and starring a couple of nobodies by the names of Clooney, Pitt, Swinton, Malkovich and McDormand (awesome). But their next project is an adaptation of critically acclaimed piece of modern fiction, namely Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

This is very exciting and intriguing. Reading YPU was one of those strange experiences wherein I felt like the author was writing just for me. The story concerns an alternate universe where world history is distorted when the newly formed country of Israel is decimated by it's enemies shortly after it becomes a state in 1948. Consequently a temporary Jewish settlement is established in Sitka, Alaska and an entirely new Alaskan-Jewish culture is created. Unfortunately in 2008 the temporary allowance for the Jewish settlement is up. It is against this backdrop that Chabon sets YPU's story; a twisty, funny noir mystery about a tortured detective solving the murder of the would-be messiah. Judaism and noir conventions, together again for the first time. I'm shocked that other people enjoyed this odd mash-up but many critics did and so BOOM here we go movie.

No Country For Old Men is a very impressive technical achievement and a fine addition to the Coen's filmmography but my issue (and Frank pointed this out to me) it's a very rote adaptation. I don't really feel I get anything out of the film I didn't get exactly out of the book. The thing about Yiddish Policeman's Union is that the Coen's would HAVE to alter the story in some ways or else the thing would be completely incomprehensible to a mainstream audience. I mean, this thing is Jewish to the core, will it play in the Peoria?

I know they can nail the noir (I mean come on; Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing, Fargo, The Man Who Wasn't There-beautiful) but how will the Coen's convey the slang, the history, the culture of Sitka? I don't know, but I'm optimistic. Remember the Coen's were the one that made a generation of young men bellow "Shomer FUCKING SHABBOS!" There is a really shaggy dog vibe that protagonist Meyer Landsman gives off that isn't too far from the Dude (though Meyer is actually competent when he's not drunk). Oh man, this could be really, really good.

I hope they load this thing down with a solid mix of Coen regulars and some fun new faces. Might I recommend Dominic West for Meyer (he deserves to be in something good other than the Wire cause man has he got some shitty movies on his resume). For his enormous half-Tlingit, half-Jewish partner might I recommend Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a fat suit (or Dwayne could bust a DeNiro, either way). The Rock is a talented comedian and deserves to be in an honest to god great film and I think this could FINALLY be it. As Meyer's former wife and new boss Bina you'll need a beautiful, firey, classy lady who can deliver noir pater. Hmmmmm, let's check whose blog this is.. oh wait, it's MINE! AMY ADAMS! Boom, done. Let's get Huddleston, Polito and Goodman in there as some Yids too. And it wouldn't be a Coen movie without the corpse of Steve Buscemi.

Oh well now we play the waiting game. This is how we start the post-strike era off right.

1 comment:

El Gigante said...

Nobody feeling my casting decisions? Agree? Disagree?