This film is a sequence of variations on the theme that a writer's life, the life of the mind, is hell. Barton Fink, a New York social realist playwright in the style of Clifford Odets, goes to Hollywood to cash in on a short-term success. Hell is first the literary scene in New York, then Hotel California (unpeeling wallpaper, the living dead as help), writer's block, a movie studio mogul, a drunken Fitzgerald-type novelist, murder, the dance floor, a blazing inferno (starring John Goodman as the devil - he even wrestles!) and finally Califonia and the beach itself. Throughout the film our attention is drawn to a picture on the hotel room wall, of a girl in a bikini looking out to the ocean. Turturro/Fink staggers onto the beach with a box probably containing the severed head of a woman. He meets a pretty girl and asks her if she is in pictures, which she denies. The last frame is a real life reproduction of the picture in his room. California is the last stage of hell, at least for a New York writer who is so wrapped up in his own mind that, as John Goodman tells him, he never listens.
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