BARTON FINK (Theatrical Release USA 1991)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.7|5.0 Starsìììì

Barton Fink—
another story presented by the Coen brothers—teams John Turturro and John Goodman together in an offbeat comedy that is sure to place it at the top of the cult film list. There are some sexual references and sex scenes. Besides that, the script boils over with talent uniquely presented. It stands in its own class. Watch for Steve Buscemi in the film.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia


Barton Fink (John Turturro), a stage writer from New York, gets called to Hollywood to write a movie script on boxing. He is checked into a low-grade hotel room where the walls are so thin that you can hear people through the walls on both sides of the room. Barton complains to Chet (Steve Buscemi), the desk clerk, about one of the noisy neighbors, insurance salesman Charlie Meadows (John Goodman) who promptly appears at Barton Fink’s door with profuse apologies and an offer of a free drink. Barton Fink cannot write the assigned movie script and, in desperation, seeks the aid of W.P Mayhew (John Mahoney), supposedly one of the best writers in the country. Barton finds that this writer is not only an alcoholic, but is having an affair with secretary Audrey Taylor (Judy Davis). When Barton Fink finds the secretary is the real writer of the last W.P. Mayhew books, he invites her to his hotel to get ideas for writing the boxing movie script. She stays overnight. When Barton Fink awakes in the morning, the secretary is lying next to him, brutally murdered. In desperation, Barton Fink turns to his noisy neighbor Charlie Meadows for help and the show is on.

Additional Thanks

Best work for Directors and Producers Joel and Ethan Coen. Thank you to Executive Producers Ben Barenholts, Bill Durkin, Jim Pedas, and Ted Pedas for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Jack Lipnik (Michael Lerner), Ben Geisler (Tony Shalhoub), Lou Breeze (Jon Polito), Garland Stanford (David Warrilow), Detective Mastrionotti (Richard Portnow), Detective Deutsch (Christopher Murney), Derek (I.M. Hobson), Poppy Carnahan (Meagen Fay), Richard St. Clair (Lance Davis), Pete (Harry Bugin), Maitre D’ (Anthony Gordon), and Stagehand (Jack Denbo).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The film, for the mature adult audience, once again shows how the Coen brothers understand casting, timing, and presenting entertainment that is entirely fresh and new.

Video Critique Available Here:

Ben Meyers

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