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Feature
The 23 Best Alternative Coen Characters
The best of the Coen brothers' less-is-more supporting characters

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The Coenverse is filled with memorable front-liners - men and women batting the cruel vagaries of fate, ill-fortune and the occasional dybbuk in the the trenches of life. But let's not forget their support: the characters that populate Joel and Ethan's wonderfully offbeam worlds. Odd names, weird behaviour, brilliant actors, totally unforgettable: the pick of the Coen Brothers' supporting characters.

WORDS IAN NATHAN
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LOREN VISSER

Loren Visser, Blood Simple

Film: Blood Simple (1984)

Played by: M. Emmett Walsh

The Rumpus: Arguably the first of their 'satanic' figures, this slimeball gumshoe (a sublime perversion of the brother's beloved Chandler-antiheroes) is a grotesque figure both in sweaty person and sneaky motive - in typical Coen fashion he tries to play all ends against the middle, to come a cropper.

Coenism: As narrator, with a sensibility black as the inside of a goat, he is the font of the film's bleak wisdom: "The fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong."

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Your Comments

1 RE: Mike Yanganita
I disagree. For Marge, you're pretty much innocent until proven guilty. She is suspicious, but doesn't push Jerry when she goes to see him at the office and he bumbles his way through the interview. She even lets him flee (sort of) when he realizes the jig is up. That may have to do with her pregnancy, maybe her patience too, but I always thought Marge was a bit gullible. "And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well, I just don't understand it." Why would she? She's just too darn nice. For the record, I adore Marge Gunderson. My favourite alternative Coen characters are the radio shack owner from 'O Brother Where Art Thou?', the guy who goes "Outer? /i]" in 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and Philip Seymour Hoffman in 'The Big Lebowski'. More

Posted by presidentcletus on Tuesday February 11, 2014, 19:59

2 Mike Yanganita
Mike Yanganita's scene is INTEGRAL to the movie. This is the moment where Marge sees the behaviour exhibited by Yanganita when he is lying and recognises the same behaviour in William H Macy's character, and decides to investigate the kidnapping further. More

Posted by ThoseSwellNachos on Sunday February 9, 2014, 12:39

3 RE: The Ladykillers?
Dot is H.I.'s sister? Jesus this makes her husbands suggestion that they swap wives all that much seedier. Therefore: Not his sister. More

Posted by Evil_Bob on Sunday February 9, 2014, 06:03

4 RE: The Ladykillers?
Osric, I get your point, but surely by those criteria, Visser, Caspar and probably Arizona should also be ineligible. More

Posted by LORD LIONAL on Saturday February 8, 2014, 22:16

5 RE: The Ladykillers?
L: LORD LIONAL I am so sick of hearing bad things about this movie. I absolutely adore it. Your failure to include it in this list sickens me. It's a truly great film. Hanks performance is sublime. The Old lady is a true Coen beauty. I personally find it superior to the original in every way. Omitting Ladykillers but including Intolerable Cruelty is nothing short of scandalous. "You brought... yo bitch... to the waffle hut!" I got a first for my dissertation on the Coens, so I'm not just spouting off for the sake of it. The film has been hideously maligned in my opinion and desperately deserves a reappraisal. Shame on you Empire. n terms of the remit of this feature though - small, supporting, peripheral characters - Ladykillers doesn't really fit, regardless of its quality. The cast of principals is quite large, so as peripherals none of the gang nor the old lady fit. Who does that leave? The manly Swedish girlfriend? Lazy cheap shot of a character. The guy that runs the cMore

Posted by Osric on Saturday February 8, 2014, 12:38

6 The Ladykillers?
I am so sick of hearing bad things about this movie. I absolutely adore it. Your failure to include it in this list sickens me. It's a truly great film. Hanks performance is sublime. The Old lady is a true Coen beauty. I personally find it superior to the original in every way. Omitting Ladykillers but including Intolerable Cruelty is nothing short of scandalous. "You brought... yo bitch... to the waffle hut!" I got a first for my dissertation on the Coens, so I'm not just spouting off for the sake of it. The film has been hideously maligned in my opinion and desperately deserves a reappraisal. Shame on you Empire. More

Posted by LORD LIONAL on Friday February 7, 2014, 17:35

7 Wait a minute!!
Where is Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy?? More

Posted by JonathanMardukas on Friday February 7, 2014, 16:07

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