After many years seeing it top lists of the Cohen Bros. best movies I finally saw Barton Fink streaming on Netflix and decided to watch it for the first time.
When it was done, I thought to myself — as many viewers of the movie apparently have, what was that all about? Luckily in 2018 I can do what viewers in 1991 (when the movie came out) could not do: Google it.
And to my delight, this Medium Article popped up, “Writers Come and Go”: 10 Reasons Why Barton Fink Is the Best Movie Ever Made About Writing.
Every semester, I show my Creative Writing 1 students the 1991 Coen Brothers film Barton Fink. Those students who are foolish enough to enroll in Creative Writing 2 (and unlucky enough to have me again for a teacher) watch it a second time in that course. Students always ask: “Why are we watching this?” This is a good question — I encourage my students to seek answers, and questioning authority has been my modus operandi since I was a child. I’m happy to discuss all of this.
Barton’s ego is the villain of this story. So convinced is he of his genius that he becomes blind to the desperate needs of everyone around him — Charlie, WP Mayhew, and Audrey. He fails to see his art as a tool to improve the world, and instead sees it only as a means of attracting praise. Therefore he fails as a writer. I don’t want my students to follow in his footsteps.
The movie is excellent and made all the better after reading the above analysis.
I wish I were a decent writer. This web page is about the closest thing I have for an outlet and I’m lucky if I can just whip something up once a month to kid myself into thinking this blog isn’t completely dead. Maybe this movie will be the inspiration I need to get back into blogging. Or maybe this entry will sit on the front page for the next year, symbolizing my own Barton Fink like writing block.