Fargo

Fargo (1996)

TOBACCO INCIDENTS 107
AVG PER MINUTE 1.14
EDITION MGM DVD released August 15, 2000
MOVIE SUMMARY A dimwitted car salesman hires two guys to kidnap his wife so he can collect the ransom and buy a parking lot.
TOBACCO IN SHORT One of the kidnappers is a chainsmoker; a woman even refers to him as the Marlboro Man.
POSSIBLE SMOKESCREENS (?) The “true story” banner at the start, the extreme violence & stupidity, the famous woodchipper scene at the end.

TOBACCO INCIDENTS: 107

AVG PER MINUTE: 1.14

First visual frame at 0:17
Last visual frame at 94:14
Total visual running time: 93.57

# TIME ANGLE DESCRIPTION
* 3:20 ES Many name brand beer signs are visible such as Bud Light, Miller Lite, Busweiser, and Michelob.
1-3 3:20 ES Inside the bar Peter Stormare sits comatose with a lit cigarette in his mouth, an orange glass ashtray & cigarette machine are visible.
4-5 3:31 Dolly in/MD/2S Closer view of Peter Stormate with a lit cigarette in his mouth, an ashtray & Zippo ligher are visible.
* 3:31 2S Many Grain Belt brand beer bottles are visible in this scene.
6-7 3:40 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormate with a lit cigarette in his mouth, same ashtray & Zippo ligher are visible.
8-9 3:49 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormate with a lit cigarette in his mouth, same ashtray & Zippo ligher are visible.
10-11 3:55 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormate with a lit cigarette in his mouth, same ashtray & Zippo ligher are visible.
12-13 4:03 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormate with a lit cigarette in his mouth, same ashtray & Zippo ligher are visible.
14 4:14 OTS/2S Repeat of Peter Stormate with a lit cigarette in his mouth however a seated William H. Macy is now blocking the ashtray.
15 4:21 OTS Smoke rises in front of William H. Macy from Peter Stormare’s implied cigarette offscreen.
16 4:24 OTS/2S Peter Stormare exhales a puff of smoke & Zippo lighter on the table.
17 4:27 OTS Smoke rises in front of William H. Macy from Peter Stormare’s implied cigarette offscreen.
18 4:32 OTS/2S Smoke rises in front of Peter Stormare from his implied cigarette.
19 4:37 OTS Smoke rises in front of William H. Macy from Peter Stormare’s implied cigarette offscreen.
20 4:42 OTS/2S Peter Stormare leans forward and takes a drag from his cigarette.
21 4:57 OTS Peter Stormare holds a lit cigarette inside his hand.
22 5:00 OTS/2S/Dolly in Peter Stormare ashes into the unseen ashtray then takes a drag from his cigarette & Zippo lighter on the table.
23 5:14 OTS/2S/Dolly in Peter Stormare still holding his cigarette & Zippo lighter on the table.
24 5:31 CU Smoke rises in front of William H. Macy from Peter Stormare’s implied cigarette offscreen.
25 5:47 OTS/2S Peter Stormare holds a lit cigarette inside his hand.
26 5:53 CU Smoke rises in front of William H. Macy from Peter Stormare’s implied cigarette offscreen.
27 6:05 OTS/2S Peter Stormare holds a lit cigarette inside his hand.
28 6:11 OTS/2S Smoke rising in front of Steve Buscemi & Peter Stormare from his implied cigarette offscreen.
29 6:18 OTS/2S Repeat of smoke rising in front of Steve Buscemi & Peter Stormare from his implied cigarette offscreen.
* 7:17 ES Name brand dialog: McDonalds is mentioned three times.
30 8:39 CU Peter Stormare holds a lit cigarette with the car window up. Funny dialog: “Where is pancakes house?”
31 8:47 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette.
32 8:53 CU Peter Stormare exhales a big puff of smoke.
33 9:01 CU Peter Stormare holds a lit cigarette.
34 9:14 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare holding a lit cigarette.
35 9:20 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare holding a lit cigarette.
* 9:25 ES Many Oldsmobile cars are visible at the dealership.
36-37 11:38 ES A pack of cigarettes & a clear glass ashtray are visible on the nightstand.
38-40 11:53 ES Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth, same pack of cigarettes & ashtray on nightstand.
* 12:26 MD A Sunny Delight brand juice bottle is visible on the table.
* 13:20 ES Many Oldsmobile cars are visible inside the dealership’s mechanic garage.
* 14:24 CU Back in the car, Steve Buscemi lets out a little cough.
41 14:28 CU Peter Stormare has just lit up a cigarette and closes his Zippo lighter.
42 14:30 CU Steve Buscemi dialog: “Can you crack a fuckin window open man? You know it’s proven that second hand smoke… is uh carcino… you know, cancerated.”
43 14:40 CU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
44 14:56 CU Peter Stormare holds up a lit cigarette.
45 15:03 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare holding up a lit cigarette.
46 15:15 CU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
47 15:36 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
* 19:21 MD A Playboy magazine is partially visible in the bathroom.
48 20:17 Dolly in A big gold ashtray with a pack of cigarettes laying inside & a fancy lighter are visible on the desk.
49 21:03 OTS/MD Same gold ashtray with pack of cigarettes inside & lighter are clearly visible on the desk.
* 22:55 OTS William H. Macy sits down in his frozen car and exhales a puff of smoke (from the extreme cold).
50 25:50 OTS Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
51 26:00 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
52 26:12 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
53 26:28 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
54 27:02 CU Closeup of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
55 27:08 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare as he takes a drag from his cigarette.
56 27:35 CU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth as a cop shines a flashlight in his face.
* 27:42 CU Steve Buscemi opens his mouth and exhales smoke (from the extreme cold).
57 27:59 2S Peter Stormare holds a lit cigarette in his hand & exhales a puff of smoke.
58 28:22 CU Smoke rises in front of Peter Stormare from his implied cigarette offscreen.
59 28:44 2S Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
60 28:50 CU Closeup of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
61 28:53 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth as he leans toward the camera.
62 28:54 OTS Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth as he bangs a cop’s head into the door.
63 28:55 ECU Extreme closeup of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
* 28:57 CU An Oldsmobile logo is clearly visible on the dashboard as a gun is pulled from the glovebox.
64 28:58 WS Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth as he shoots a cop in the head.
65 29:05 CU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth and pointing a gun.
66 29:16 ECU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
67 29:39 ECU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
68 29:47 ECU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
69 30:10 ECU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
70 30:22 CU Closeup of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
71 30:32 CU Repeat of Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
72 30:45 TS Tracking by Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
73 30:48 CU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth jumps behind the wheel of the car.
74 30:52 CU Peter Stormare with a lit cigarette in his mouth as he drives with a gun in his hand.
75 31:01 CU Peter Stormare takes a drag then flicks his cigarette out the window.
* 45:00 MD/2S Dialog by Frances McDormand: “What do we got here, Arby’s?”
76-77 46:00 ES At least two ashtrays are seen on hightop tables & three ashtrays on the bar.
* 46:00 ES A Michelob neon sign is clearly visible on the wall.
* 46:08 2S A Pabst neon sign is partially visible in the background.
78-79 46:50 2S Woman’s dialog: “He looked like the Marlboro Man… but maybe I’m saying that because he smoked a lot of Marlboros…”
* 47:16 Dolly in Peter Stormare exhales several puffs of smoke (from the extreme cold).
This is where the whole tobacco thing becomes diabolical in a way. Here you have the chainsmoker exhaling smoke from being outside in the cold — and the smoke is being captured by light just as brilliantly as the tobacco smoke was. But it all blends together so nicely… I guess smoking really is like breathing for some people.
* 47:28 FS The kidnapped woman exhales puffs of smoke through her hood (from the extreme cold).
* 47:28 FS A Pringles potato chip can is visible on the counter.
* 49:56 ES Many Oldsmobile cars are visible at the dealership.
80 53:06 2S A glass ashtray is clearly visible on the table in front of Frances McDormand.
81 53:22 2S Repeat of same glass ashtray on the table in front of Frances McDormand.
82 53:29 2S Repeat of same glass ashtray on the table in front of Frances McDormand.
83 53:35 2S Repeat of same glass ashtray on the table in front of Frances McDormand.
84 53:42 2S Repeat of same glass ashtray on the table in front of Frances McDormand.
85 53:50 2S Repeat of same glass ashtray on the table in front of Frances McDormand.
86-89 61:27 ES At least four glass ashtrays are visible on tables in the lounge.
90-91 61:51 WS Two glass ashtrays are visible on tables in the lounge.
* 62:00 OTS Frances McDormand dialog: “Just a Diet Coke please.”
92 67:25 Dolly in A large ashtray on a black stand is visible in the background.
* 67:50 ES A Beck’s beer neon sign is visible in the bar.
93 67:50 ES A glass ashtray is visible on a table in the background.
94 68:07 ES Repeat of same glass ashtray on table in the background.
* 79:16 ES Frances McDormand stops at a Hardee’s drive-thru.
* 79:21 ES A Miller Genuine Draft billboard is clearly visible in the background.
95 83:23 ES A glass ashtray full of cigarette butts sits atop a jar in front of Peter Stormare.
96 83:34 ES Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
97 83:48 ES Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
98 83:54 MD/LA Alternate angle of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
99 84:01 MD/LA Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
* 84:07 ES A cardboard box/case of Grain Belt beer is clearly visible.
100 84:10 MD/LA Same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
101 84:28 OTS/LA Same glass ashtray is partially visible in front of Peter Stormare.
102 84:37 OTS/LA Same glass ashtray is clearly visible in front of Peter Stormare.
103 84:55 OTS/LA Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
104 85:16 MD/LA Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
105 85:22 MD/LA Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
106 85:34 MD/LA Repeat of same glass ashtray in front of Peter Stormare.
107 92:32 HH A glass ashtray is briefly visible on the nightstand.

Additional Thoughts…

Fargo (1996) is one of the most widely seen pictures in the Coen brothers canon and is often reviewed by critics as the best film ever made by the Coens. Fargo (1996) has also won several prestigious awards including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.

Strangely, a title card saying “THIS IS A TRUE STORY” appears at the very beginning of Fargo (1996). I remember there was even a big stir about the film being based on a true story, you know: kidnapping, murder, the woodchipper and all. It was only much later discovered to be, in fact, not a true story at all. Did the Coen brothers just decide to include that card to make their tale seem much more believable? Or perhaps maybe just another cheeky gag on the public by those zany fun-loving filmmakers. How in the fuck were they allowed to label a work of fiction as a “true story” in the first place? To me, that in itself is remarkable.

Everyone seems to remember Fargo (1996) for the silly Minnesota accents and the grizzly cold-blooded killings… But does anyone really remember all of the cigarettes & alcohol that also helped to fuel the movie? Probably not, because the Coen brothers are the absolute masters of tobacco product placement, in my opinion.

For example, the Coen brothers actually wrote “the ashtray is full” directly into the screenplay for Fargo as a means of telegraphing to the audience that these bar patrons have been here awhile… But ultimately it is just another obviously blatant use of tobacco. However subtle an overflowing ashtray may appear to the audience, this prop achieves something far more than the passage of time… And aren’t there always a multitude of ways to achieve the same effect of time passing inside a film without the use of cigarettes? Well, yeah… Duh.

And who can forget the chainsmoking psychopath played by actor Peter Stormare? His brutish behaviour was disgusting and yet somehow oddly amusing, but why? This coldblooded killer was almost never seen without a cigarette hanging from his lip. I would say that most of the tobacco incidents contained in this movie were portrayed by this character.

[ insert still image of Steve Buscemi & Peter Stormare ]

“Can you crack a fuckin window open man? You know it’s proven that second hand smoke… is uh carcino… you know, cancerated.”

Steve Buscemi’s confused dialog from Fargo (1996). Buscemi plays a kind of everyman turned to crime who sort of knows the health-related tobacco dialog, but not enough to quote it accurately.

FUN FACT – BROTHERS
Actors Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare were so memorable in their roles in Fargo (1996) that they even appeared in another small film together, perhaps you’ve heard of it… The global blockbuster known as Armageddon (1998).

Fargo (1996) has even inspired a television series which appears on the FX channel, now in its third or fourth season. The Coen brothers actually serve as executive producers on the show. It just never ends.

More insights coming soon…