Much like Bates Motel and the Psycho movies, we had to start this marathoning off with the film which was originally released in 1996. I honestly thought I had watched this movie before with a common household name but 5 minutes in I knew this was all new to me. The film is down-right amazing with it’s perfect mix of drama and laughable quirky awkwardness I thought there was no way the TV series could stay true. Boy was I wrong. Fargo (the film) was set in a 1987 Minnesota town (Fargo), which revolved around the inconvenient story of a struggling salesman; Jerry Lundegaard. The TV series takes place in a 2006, surrounding suburb (Bemidji) and focuses on a different struggling salesman; Lester Nygaard. Although each retelling is said to be completely true in the intro, they’re completely different stories. Although there are many similarities and nods to the film in the television show, it’s obvious the stories are stretched truths. The film makers claim that the murders did happen, “just not in Minnesota” as the television show writers claim they just “told the story in a new way”. Just how vivid their stories are, don’t get stuck on the “based on a true story”. No one’s proven the original story factual in anyway.
The film featured a few all-star cast members, with a few nobodies at the time but they were all mixed in this awkwardly instant classic film so well that you couldn’t tell the professional actors from the up-and-comers which made for a perfectly awesome movie. The television series stayed true to this casting format which made it incredible. Next to Billy Bob Thornton, Key & Peele, and Martin Freeman was Allison Tolman (a name I had never heard before). Although Billy Bob is a complete badass, and it’s hard not to laugh anytime Key & Peele come on screen, the overall characters combine so seamlessly that it’s hard not to fall in love with each cast member individually overtime.
Although I was instantly hooked on the film, it took me awhile to become overcome with the show. At first I was so happy that they copied the awkward humor so well, but it took awhile to get over the differences in the story line. Once I figured out that we weren’t supposed to related the movie at all and only appreciate the homages to the classic, the story line was a lot easier to follow. Then once the plot is beginning to become understood (took me until about episode 3 when I thought it had it down) the show takes so many dramatic twists and turns you’ll pause it just to get a grasp on what the hell just happened.
With all that being said, and without spoiling either story line; I recommend this movie/television combo to everyone. They have humor, drama, awkwardness, murders, two amazing casts, a story that will keep you guessing, and all without the distraction of modern technology (being set it a nowhere town leaves a lot focus where it needs to be). Although Season 2 is following in True Detective‘s footsteps by creating a whole new story and cast I think it’s promising. If nothing else, seeing Bob Odenkirk play an awkward and confused police chief in a small town should get you excited for the upcoming Better Call Saul.