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Here we ponder, and attempt to unravel, the most perplexing cinematic question since "What was the significance of Rosebud?": "What the hell is Barton Fink about?"

Sometime in the days of the video store, we had a particular customer named Bill Knight who was generally pretty open to our suggestions. He was an older man with a very nice family and was one example of why we loved that job. One day, upon our suggestion, he rented the Coen Brothers' BARTON FINK. Upon returning it, he said that he enjoyed it, but had one question: "What was that movie about?"

Honestly, we were stumped. We'd all seen it several times, but we weren't quite sure how to describe it. Sure, we all know the basic surface story, but there's a lot more going on there. So as a project, we all decided to put forth our own theories, and came to a specific conclusion: The movie is about heads.

Here are those articles:

THEORY #1: ARTIFICIAL HELL
By Chad Shonk
"But what is hell? Barton is certainly not in Bosnia, on the lookout for landmines. Nor is he in a rebellious Central American country, wading in a pool of childrens' blood. No, he has writer's block. Boo-hoo."

THEORY #2: REFLECTIONS
By Bobby Jones
"If Barton's hell is relative and petty compared to reality then this reality is relative and just as petty depending on whose reality it is. Confusing, I know."

THEORY #3: CEREBRAL
By Noel Wood
"I found his character to be pretentiously reprehensible, but at the same time I felt the same way he did about such nuances as the wallpaper. I didn't want to sympathize with the character, but in a way I did.

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For questions, comments, or the occasional stalking letter, send mail to Noel Wood. Please give proper credit when using any materials found within this site.


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