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MILLER'S CROSSING: HOME PAGE; YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!; THE ETHAN AND JOEL SHOW; THE BRAINERD DAILY DISPATCH

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Fans of Joel and Ethan Coen’s movies usually disagree about just one thing: which of the madcap duo’s fairy tales is the best. Raising Arizona? Fargo? The Big Lebowski even? Dissension runs deep on websites devoted to the brothers Coen, all of which are bound together by an eerie passion for style and detail. ”People ask me these specifics,” says Brent Johnson, who runs The Joel and Ethan Coen Homepage (www.d.umn.edu/~bjohns33/index.html). ”They’re having an argument with their friend, trying to figure out who the voice on the answering machine in Blood Simple is.” (It’s Holly Hunter, says distributor USA Films.)

With the Coens’ new musical/Odyssey metaphor/chain-gang flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, out this month, there’s one more film — and a nifty old-time AM-radio-dial website (studio.go.com/movies/obrother) — to pick apart. So we do the same to these fan sites:

— MILLER’S CROSSING: HOME PAGE (geocities.com/~mikemckiernan/mcfrontpage.html) A textbook example of focus and obsession. This site sprays the 1990 gangster pic with a tommy gun of worship, right down to a glossary of the Prohibition-era lingo squeezed into every line (we can dangle; what’s the rumpus?). There’s also a breakdown of the complex shoot-out sequence and descriptions of scenes that got pooped by the yeggs Coen. B+

— YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS! (youknowforkids.com) The summaries are nice, maybe too nice. Still, we dig the roundup of regulars — William H. Macy, John Goodman, Frances McDormand — and news about the next film, referred to here as The Barber Shop Project. The online poll picks Lebowski as the fan favorite, but the site takes its name from The Hudsucker Proxy. As Smitty (Bruce Campbell) says in the movie, ”Say, what gives?” B-

— THE ETHAN AND JOEL SHOW (www.empireonline.co.uk/features/coenbros/coens.htm) This mega-feature from British movie mag Empire gets right to the weird stuff. Like how to tell the brothers apart (Ethan has a philosophy degree, Joel a ponytail), and how they shop for groceries. The Coenology also features mini-profiles of their oddball characters, like Arizona’s Lone Biker of the Apocalypse. A-

— THE BRAINERD DAILY DISPATCH (brainerddispatch.com/fargo) If a real car salesman’s wife is kidnapped in Brainerd, Minn., where much of Fargo takes place, you’ll read it here first. The Dispatch also has a Coen-friendly guide to Brainerd, which includes an editorial about the giant Paul Bunyan statue — which is real but different than in the movie. Sheesh. Fargo fans. B

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