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October 24, 2004

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language hat

This isn't directly relevant -- hell, it's probably not relevant at all -- but given the slightest opportunity, I can't resist quoting James Lileks' hilarious "A Fargoan on Fargo"; the section I'm reminded of is:

I saw "Fargo" in Minneapolis, a supper-hour showing at the Mall of America. Behind us was a couple in their sixties who apparently had chosen this movie based on the title. Perhaps they expected a Western. When characters started cussing, I could hear legs being crossed and uncrossed. When the policeman was brainer'd, there was a slight sigh of disappointment. Half an hour into the film, I heard the woman whisper: "Well, this is different."

"This is different." In Fargo-speak, that means this is a raw horror blown straight from Satan's colon, and any decent person would disapprove. I was embarrassed for them. And for me as well. It was a replay of those trying moments when you rent a videotape to watch with your parents, and suddenly the characters are naked and having sex.

For the duration of the movie, I adopted the couple behind me as temporary parent figures, and saw the film through their eyes. It spoiled the entire picture. Actually, the more I think about the film, the better it gets, but I don't think it will ever be more in my mind than a tidy little movie of modest aims and accomplishments. Not that I will admit my opinion in public anymore. Oscar or not, the next time somebody asks, I'll merely grin and say, "'Fargo'? Now that was different!"

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