[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/barton-fink-1991-01-g_1724.jpg]]

A 1991 film by Creator/TheCoenBrothers, often considered one of their best. Barton Fink is a playwright who has gotten a contract to write movies. The [[LargeHam enthusiastic]] studio executive tells him to write a wrestling picture.

Getting a bad case of Writer's Block, he meets Charlie Meadows, an insurance salesman, "W. P. Mayhew" ([[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed William Faulkner]]), his mistress, an [[LargeHam excitable]] producer, and a cast of others.

Notable for earning three awards at Cannes, it contains elements from numerous genres, being somewhat of a comedy-FilmNoir-mystery-horror-drama.
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!!''Barton Fink'' provides examples of:

* AlasPoorYorick: [[spoiler: A possible case, depending on the contents of the box.]]
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler: Charlie Meadows.]]
* AxeCrazy: [[spoiler: Charlie Meadows, a.k.a. "Madman" Mundt. Played by John Goodman.]]
* CaptainObvious: Charlie comments several times on how hot it is [[spoiler:inside a building that's on fire.]]
* DeathBySex: [[spoiler:Audrey, and instantly]].
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: The detectives make it plain that they don't like Barton for being Jewish.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The film is set in 1941. For no particular reason, the anti-Semitic detectives are given a German and an Italian name (Deutsch and Mastrionotti) to evoke the Axis powers, and [[spoiler:Charlie/Mundt]] (who also has a German name) says "Heil Hitler" before [[spoiler:killing one of them]]. However, WordOfGod says this is really just [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic symbolism for symbolism's (scary) sake]], not necessarily with a real message attached.
* HaveAGayOldTime: W.P. Mayhew sings: "Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay..."
* HellHotel: The Hotel Earle is rather unsettling to begin with. [[spoiler:Then it bursts into flames.]]
** Goodman's line went something like:
--> You think you're in hell, I live here.
* {{Hollyweird}}: The disturbing surrealism starts once Barton leaves New York.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Barton makes a big deal about how his work deals with the plights of the common man, yet when Charlie tries talking to him about his own experiences as a common man, Barton insists on talking over him about his own work.
* LargeHam: As noted, the producer and executive have the times of their lives with their roles.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The main menu of the DVD spoils almost everything about the ending.
* MadnessMantra
-->'''[[spoiler:Charlie/Mundt]]''': ''I'LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!''
* MagnumOpus: [[invoked]]Fink thinks he's written his at the end of the story. But since he was supposed to be writing a StrictlyFormula wrestling flick, all he achieves is [[spoiler:getting his supervisor fired and himself locked into a contract he's promised will never produce anything he writes.]]
* MindScrew: [[spoiler: The contents of the box.]]
* MoneyDearBoy: [[invoked]]InUniverse, how Fink is convinced to go to Hollywood to write B-movie scripts.
* TheMurderAfter: [[spoiler:Audrey's death.]]
* MostWritersAreWriters: The dreaded "Writer With Writer's Block" plot.
* NWordPrivileges: Jewish studio head Jack Lipnick calls himself and others kikes.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: W. P. Mayhew, based on William Faulkner. Also Barton himself, who's sort of a WritersSuck version of Clifford Odets.
* NoEnding
* PlotHole: Possibly intentional, but [[spoiler:the morning after Meadows leaves the hotel, his shoes are out in the hall for shining.]]
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "I WILL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!"
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: The scene when the detectives meet Barton.]]
* SameStoryDifferentNames: in-universe example of Barton Fink's play vs. screenplay:
-->''Bare Ruined Choirs'' ends with "We'll be hearing from that kid, and I don't mean a postcard"
-->''The Burlyman'' ends with "We'll be hearing from that crazy wrestler, and I don't mean a postcard."
* ShaggyDogStory
* SuspectIsHatless: Barton can't really say much about the man the detectives are looking for:
-->'''Barton Fink:''' He... he said he liked Jack Oakie pictures.
-->''beat''
-->'''Detective Mastrionotti:''' You know, ordinarily we say anything you might remember could be helpful. But I'll be frank with you, Fink. That is not helpful.
-->'''Detective Deutsch:''' Notice he's not writing it down.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Deutsch and Mastrionotti
* ThrowItIn: The bird diving into the ocean at the end wasn't planned.
* TraumaCongaLine: First, Barton gets a little writer's block. Then he discovers that his idol is a drunken, empty shell of a man. Then [[spoiler:he wakes up with their mutual muse lying dead beside him in bed]]. Then [[spoiler:he discovers that his only friend is a homicidal maniac]]. Then [[spoiler:the homicidal maniac returns and kills his fallen idol and ''the entire building catches fire'' and it is also implied [[SelfMadeOrphan his folks were murdered due to Barton telling Mundt to stay with them]]]], at which point he loses his job. One hell of a route from A to B, there.
** He doesn't lose his job he is still under contract. The studio owns everything he will ever make, but they will never produce them.
* TheUnreveal: [[spoiler: The contents of the box.]]
* VomitDiscretionShot: Subverted; after seeing Audrey's body, Charlie goes to the bathroom to throw up.
* WideEyedIdealist: Barton and his belief in the common man.
* WritersBlock: The movie is about a writer suffering from writer's block, written while the Coens themselves were having difficulty with ''MillersCrossing''.
* WritersBlockMontage: Of course.
* WritersSuck: Ben Geisler certainly thinks so. Fink himself is a self-pitying, pompous hypocrite.

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