There’s Not Going to Be A ‘Lebowski’ Sequel, And That’s Okay

It’s been a good week for the Coen Brothers. Although their new folk-revival-focused film Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t take the top prize at Cannes, it did win the Joel and Ethan Coen the Grand Prix, the festival’s runner-up (not their first time taking home silverware at the Cannes either). And with all the press they’re inevitably getting about this new film and the award, reporters, like one from the Toronto Star, are asking the question that’s on a lot of fans’ minds, “Will there ever be a Lebowski sequel?”

In short, the answer is no. There had long been rumors about a sequel to the Coens’ beloved stoner-caper The Big Lebowski, their biggest film, which has inspired bathrobe-wearing would-be Zen slackers around the world to come together, bowl and quaff White Russians at annual Lebowskifests. The rumored sequel would focus on an auxiliary character, John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana, the slimy rival bowler who delivers the iconic line, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.” Turturro has been big on this idea of a sequel and even pitched it to the brothers, but they’re just not down with it right now.

“[Turturro] even has the story worked out, which he’s pitched to us a few times, but I can’t really remember it,” Ethan Coen told the Star. “No, I don’t see it in our future.” Joel Coen added that he “doesn’t like sequels.”

And you know what? That’s fine. In fact, it’s probably better this way. The Coens have gone on to do even better films, most notably Fargo and No Country For Old Men, and worked in a variety of styles and genres. The film’s star, Jeff Bridges, may be The Dude forever ad infinitum, but he’s also gone on to have some other acclaimed starting roles, including his turn as a grizzled singer in the widely praised Crazy Heart.

Lebowski is still a delight, a movie worth seeing over and over, a bit of cinematic comfort food for fans that know every line by heart. And like any good film, there’s something new to be discovered with every viewing. But it’s run its course. It’s in a good place in movie history. There’s a special place for it, but most of the people involved have gone on to bigger and better things. It just wouldn’t be the same. And honestly, could a character like the Jesus sustain a full-length film and keep it interesting? Results are a little hazy.

And as much as it would be fun to see Turturro (also the star of the Coens’ Cannes favorite Barton Fink, which many consider the brothers’ best work) work with the directors again, and rumors of a Barton Fink sequel have also made the rounds, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a Lebowski sequel, or a sequel at all. It would be really cool if they worked together again. Just… not as a Lebowski sequel.

And, if you don’t agree, that’s fine, because you know what? That’s just your opinion, man.  

The Ten Most Anticipated Films of the Cannes Film Festival

With the Cannes Film Festival but days away, I find myself increasingly more saddened that I am currently not packing my bags for France. But be that as it may, the films showing this year leave much to be excited for in the coming year. From Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive follow-up Only God Forgives to Jim Jarmusch’s first feature in four years Only Lovers Left Alive, the films in competition are looking to be some of the most thrilling of 2013. Plus, we’ll finally get a taste of James Franco’s Wiliam Faulkner adaptation As I Lay Dying alongside Roman Polanski’s re-imaging of Venus in Furs, with many, many more. And although it’s already premiered in the states last week, Baz Luhrmann’s lavish variation on The Great Gatsby will be kicking off the festival on Wednesday night.

So here are our most anticipated films of the festival, which will hopefully make their way into theaters as soon as possible.

 

Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel and Ethan Coen

The life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis is at a crossroads. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles-some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn’s misadventures take him from the basket houses of the Village to an empty Chicago club – on an odyssey to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman-and back again.
 
 

Venus in Furs, Roman Polanski

Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for the lead role in his new play, writer-director Thomas complains on the phone about the poor caliber of talent he has seen. No actress has what it takes to play his lead female character-a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Thomas is about to leave the theater when actress Vanda bursts in, a whirlwind of erratic-and, it turns out, erotic-energy.
 
At first she seems to embody everything Thomas has been lamenting. She is pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared-or so it seems. But when Thomas finally, reluctantly, agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation. Not only is Vanda a perfect fit (even sharing the character’s name), but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively-down to buying props, reading source materials and learning every line by heart. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep. As the extended "audition" builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession…
 
 

The Past, Asghar Farhadi

Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie. Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.
 
 
 

Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn 

Julian, an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the head of the murderers from Julian. But first, Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman – and figurehead of a divine justice – who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.
 
 

Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch

Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
 
 

The Immigrant, James Gray

1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, she encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.
 
 

As I Lay Dying, James Franco

Based on the acclaimed novel by William Faulkner, AS I LAY DYING follows a family through their turmoil-filled journey to bring their mother to her gravesite.
 
 

Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler

This is the true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend, who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to T, their beautiful 4 year old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. He crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant.
 
 

The Bastards, Claire Denis

Captain on a container-ship, Marco Silvestri is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has gone adrift. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte’s mistress lives with his son. What Marco hadn’t foreseen are Sandra’s shameful, secret manœuvres… and his love for Raphaëlle which could ruin everything.
 
 

Nebraska, Alexander Payne

A poor old man living in Montana escapes repeatedly from his house to go to Nebraska to collect a sweepstakes prize he thinks he has won. Frustrated by his increasing dementia, his family debates putting him into a nursing home — until one of his two sons finally offers to take his father by car, even as he realizes the futility. En route the father is injured, and the two must rest a few days in the small decaying Nebraska town where the father was born and where, closely observed by the son, he re-encounters his past. (Don’t worry — it’s a comedy.) Shot in black and white across four American states, the film blends professional actors with non-actors and aspires to mirror the mood and rhythms of its exotic locations.

‘Fargo’ Coming to FX as ‘Limited Series’

It’s a big day for FX, as this morning they announced a new sister channel, FXX (devoted to comedy, with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia being the programming anchor). They’ve also announced the greenlight for a "limited series" based on Joel and Ethan Coen’s Oscar-winning Fargo

"Limited series," of course, is fancy, high-tech talk for miniseries; perhaps the latter moniker brings about memories of trashy, campy projects like North and South. But FX is hoping that this will pay off, and they’re putting a lot of money into the concept, and not just with a TV adaptation of Fargo. According to Deadline:

Additionally, FX president John Landgraf announced several high-profile limited/miniseries projects in development as the genre will become a cornerstone for FX’s sibling FXM (Fox Movie Channel): Grand Hotel from Sam Mendes, about a fictional terrorist plot in Paris; Sutton, from Alexander Payne and Michael De Luca, about the infamous bank robber; Mad Dogs, from The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries; and The Story Of Mayflower, from producers Paul Giamatti and Gil Netter (Life Of Pi).

I was dubious at first about the prospect of a Fargo miniseries (what, exactly, would be the point?), but FX seems to have its shit together and is tossing money to smart people. Still, let us not forget the failed Fargo TV series from 1997, which starred Edie Falco in the role orginated by Frances McDormand. The pilot was even directed by Kathy Bates! Let’s get those two women involved in this one, eh?

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Watch the First Trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Whether you’re a fan of their movies or not, there’s no deny Joel and Ethan Coen have a unique style of filmmaking all their own . Like Tarantino, they draw on their vast wealth of influences to blend genres together and make films that are always fueled by eccentric, rich characters with a dry sense of humor and intelligence that’s often brutal but never emotionally vacant. Their films exist in a very specific world of their own making and with their latest effort, Inside the Mind of Llwelyn Davis, it appears people are already raving about the film, which looks to have a very similar aesthetic quality to Walter Salles’ recent On the Road.

Based on the memoir The Maymor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk, the film reunites Drive‘s Irene and Standard (Carey Mulligan and Oscar Isaac) as Llewyn and Jean to tell the story of the titular character, a song-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene in New York City. Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund join the cast in what seems to be a more intimate film for the brothers. Inside Llewyn Davis should see a preimere at Cannes this spring and will hopefully hit theaters sometime next year. And from this trailer, we’ll definitely be anticipating a speedy release date.