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The Lens: But, Seriously...

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 26, 2009 - Among the many pleasures of "A Serious Man," the Coen Brothers' profoundly funny melange of Jewish mysticism and advanced physics, special note should be made for the filmmakers' skills as cultural archaeologists, sifting through the detritus of middle-class suburbia circa 1967 A.D. with a keen eye for detail.

Ahh, the ancient world of 1967, when doctors smoked cigarettes, every house was crowned by a cumbersome television antenna and not even the most devoted Jefferson Airplane fan could figure out how to pronounce the name of guitarist Jorma Kaukonen.

There's just one thing that puzzles me.

Given their almost obsessive devotion to pop-cult minutiae, what are we to make of the scene in which their uncertain protagonist Larry Gopnik is hounded by the Columbia Record Club, demanding payment for "Abraxas" and "Cosmo's Factory," albums that were not released until 1970?

The Lens is the blog of Cinema St. Louis, hosted by the Beacon.