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Minnesota Nice (2003)

Video  |   |  Short, Documentary
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A special behind the scenes documentary about one of the greatest films of all time, with actors and the directors revealing stories and curiosities about the film and also about the ... See full summary »


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A special behind the scenes documentary about one of the greatest films of all time, with actors and the directors revealing stories and curiosities about the film and also about the location's hospitality. And there's also the truth behind the "real story" that inspired the Coen brothers in creating Fargo. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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They Admit It Was All A Lie
23 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"It's Siberia with family restaurants," is how the Coen brothers describe Minnesota, a place where they grew up.

Ethan and Joel, directors of "Fargo," discussed the area and the movie in this bonus feature on the latest special-edition DVD of the movie. Actually, the brothers said they were happy to go back and do a film about something that takes place up there. However, they don't seem to have fond recollections of the cold weather! As it turns out, they wish it had been colder. The fact that it was the second-warmed March in history up there made things tough on them. There was no snow! The filmmakers had to manufacture the snow - tons of it.

"Minnesota Nice" is a real-life term, used to describe the friendliness of the people in that area of the country. "Polite cultures are usually the most repressed and therefor the most violent," says one of the Coens in a typically-Liberal view which equates something nice with bad. Perhaps that's one tipoff about the Coen brothers - they aren't always nice people and they think nothing about lying.

They imply here that lying is good if it helps achieve a means to an end. In this case, it was lying to the viewing public that "Fargo" is based on a true story. It says it in the beginning of the film....but that was fabricated. Even actor William H. Macy says in this feature that he asked about the case early on and was told "there is no actual case; we made the whole thing up" Macy told them, "you can't do that." They just shrugged. Its interesting the hear some of the other cast members all rationalize for the Coen Brothers' lie about this story. "Well, it helped convince the audience to go along with the story (as if that makes it okay), says Frances McDormand who played the memorable "Marge." Peter Stormare says (and I quote verbatim), "It IS a true story, but it might have not happened." Huh?

Other interesting comments: Macy was originally called in to do the state trooper part but so impressed the Coens that he wound up with co-starring role of "Jerry Lundegard." Macy had to sell himself for this role which he desperately wanted and "was born to do." It jump- started his career, as it turned out. This movie made him famous.

I enjoyed everyone's comments as they looked back on this film and particularly found Macy's and Storemare's the most interesting. Stormare came from Sweden and said there are many places in Minnesota "that are more Swedish than any places you'll find in Sweden." He loved working on this film, even though he had almost no speaking lines, because on his time off he would go driving around all these towns and talk to the Swedish people.

I didn't realize this movie had such a huge impact on people. In perhaps the most bizarre happening of them all, a Japanese woman traveled all the way to Fargo to find the supposed money hidden in the snow and when she couldn't find it, she killed herself. "That's such as a sad thing that anyone would have that kind of need and takes it so far that then actually loses their life because of it," said McDormand. "That's just horrible." Amen to that, Frances.

I guess all of these things are good reminders for all of us not to take these stories seriously, even when they boast they are "based on a true story."

No, assume it is all fiction and just enjoy the story.

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