Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, Reviewed by Ethan Coen

Jeff Maurer has a fun Substack called I Might Be Wrong, writing humorous essays. He was a former Senior Writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, so the guy has some chops.

It was recently brought to my attention that I needed to read one from way back in January, where he wrote a review of Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth as if his brother Ethan wrote it1, and it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. It starts off this way and never lets up:

In The Tragedy of Macbeth, long-time Hollywood presence Joel Coen — who has 18 prior films to his credit — takes sole creative control of a project for the first time. The result, not unlike the tale of Macbeth itself, is a tragedy of epic proportions.

In the interest of full disclosure, my editor has requested that I mention that I was Mr. Coen’s writing partner, producer, and creative collaborator on the aforementioned 18 films. I am also his brother. We parted ways prior to Macbeth in a split that the press described as completely amicable. Despite my prior association with Mr. Coen, I feel that I am entirely capable of reviewing his work in a fair and objective way.

Macbeth is Joel Coen’s shittiest movie by several billion light years. If all the elephants in all the world crapped into the same canyon for 100 years, you would still not have a pile of shit half a large as Joel Coen’s dumb-as-a-dog-dick rendering of this classic taleOne can’t watch Macbeth without getting the sense that something is missing; some inspired element that gave Mr. Coen’s earlier work an aura of ebullient genius is absent this time. The wit, verve, and undeniable rugged machismo that characterized the other 18 films in which he happened to be involved are nowhere to be found here. Ultimately, one must conclude that what’s lacking is talent itself.

The ending of the second paragraph and the start of the third made me laugh so hard it was embarrassing. Just read the whole thing.

  1. He, in fact, did not.↩︎

February 17, 2022