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Chow With Geisler

“Barton Fink”

Have you seen “Barton Fink?”  If you haven’t, don’t worry…there are no spoilers in this post.  In order for me to include a spoiler, I would have to understand this movie, so, trust me, you are safe.  I confess, “Barton Fink” has me stymied; it is an elusive movie.  It provides just enough imagery, metaphors and frustrating clues to make you think you have it all worked out, only to have something happen in the film that shoots a hole in your theory and forces you to come up with a new one.  (You know, it could be that the Cohen Brothers are just screwin’ with us.  Now, there’s an explanation that actually makes sense!)   Even so…I still love this movie!  I’ve seen it six or seven times.  It’s a lot more enjoyable if you’ll give yourself permission to give up on decoding “The Big Meaning.”  Watch it, instead, for John Goodman’s best-ever performance, the great writing, Chet (the friendly but oddly unsettling front desk clerk) and one unforgettable scene after another, like this one with Tony Shalhoub…