You may not be able to spot a Coen movie on the screen in the way you can a John Carpenter or Martin Scorsese work, but that may be due to the fact that the brothers have never really settled on a firm set of trademark tells. The Coens bounce through genres and themes perhaps more than any other filmmakers, and it wouldn't surprise anyone if their next project was about a wind surfing magician. But one of the few constants in their work is the creative ability to enhance a film's fictional world with a distinct language and speech pattern. Since "boy, you got a panty on yer head" was first uttered, the Coens have celebrated a different dialect in almost all their succeeding movies. For your convenience, here is a rough field guide to Coen Linguistics:
Common habitat: Trailer parks, prisons and convenience stores.
Slang: Cereal flakes (breakfast cereal), l'amour (sex, possibly with someone else's spouse), Edwina (desert flower), Gubmint (government).
Examples: "Do they blow up in funny shapes? Nope, unless round's funny;" "Edwina's insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase;" "H.I., you're young and you got your health, what you want with a job?"
Characteristics: Close to the vest, overly confident, rapid fire with Irish Whiskey close at hand (or in hand).
Common habitat: Illegal drinking establishments, warehouses, alleys.
Slang: Injuns (Indians), bed antics (sex), fix (business venture), ethics (criminal behavior).
Examples: "Leo, I ain't embarrassed to use the word - I'm talkin' about ethics;" "Nobody knows anybody. Not that well;" "If I'd known we were gonna cast our feelings into words, I'd've memorized the Song of Solomon."
Common habitat: Frozen highways, fields of snow, frosted cars.
Slang: Smooth smooth (bad ass), oh daddy (oh shit), Buick Ciera (well-made automobile), super lady (moderately attractive woman).
Examples: "That's, a fountain of conversation there, buddy. That's a geyser;" "So, uh, you married old Norm son-of-a-Gunderson?" "You're darned tootin'!"
Drunk Lazy Dick
Common habitat: Los Angeles, specifically bowling alleys and often the houses of the rich and famous.
Slang: J (marijuana cigarette), Swiss Fucking Watch (flawless plan), little kid walking into a movie theater (out of your element), johnson (penis), ringer (distraction), coitus (sex).
Characteristics: God-fearing, musical, philosophical, sweetly dim.
Common habitat: Dusty roads, back woods, rivers, railroads.
Slang: Paterfamilias (husband, or something), unaffiliated (non-religious), can (microphone), hogwallop (unknown).
Examples: "One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down;" "I suppose it'd be the acme of foolishness to inquire if you had a hair net;" "Me an' the old lady are gonna pick up the pieces and retie the knot, mixaphorically speaking."
Characteristics: Few words, nonsensical metaphors and stories, lack of sense of humor.
Common habitat: Empty streets, open fields, empty hotels.
Slang: Coin toss (maker), gettin' place (where you get things), friendo (friend).
Examples: "Well, age will flatten a man;" "What is he, like the ultimate bad ass?" "You can't stop what's coming"