Fargo

Alternate Title: You Betcha it’s Murder
1996 Nominee

Like all shady deals, this one starts with an inept auto salesman. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) gets in over his head when he enlists friends of an auto mechanic to kill his wife. Jerry is desperate for money and he assures these men that in addition to a car, they’ll be getting their full payout once the deed is done. Jerry has a few other tricks up his sleeve, but it’s clear that he’s about as good at being a criminal as he is at selling cars.
Unfortunately, the two goons Jerry hired aren’t exactly the professional-type. It doesn’t take long before a few rogue dead bodies on the highway get the police on the trail. Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is on the case. She’s pregnant and just as pleasant as everyone else from her hometown of Brainerd, but she’s the darn-tootin’ definition of good cop.
With Gunderson on his heels, Jerry becomes increasingly more reckless.

Fargo has taken on a cult-like status since its initial release. Recently resurrected via a TV show, the Coen Brothers and many of the actors in the film have enjoyed plenty of success. It’s truly rewarding to see the origin. Wickedly funny, the movie sets the stage for the Coen Brothers’ enduring sense of dark humor and a brand of drama that is all its own.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Fargo was nominated for Best Picture in 1996, but did the Academy get it right?

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