Jim Jarmusch

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I've just seen Night at Earth and Dead Man and will probably watch Stranger Than Paradise later on tonight.

I can't decide whether I liked or hated Dead Man, and even (my favorite moviecrit, usually) Jonathan Rosenbaum's passionate defense didn't quite convince me. I'm glad I saw it, though.

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Sunday, 4 May 2003 18:17 (nineteen years ago) link

I really like Dead Man. Not so nuts about Night on Earth though. Also much hated Ghost Dog.

slutsky (slutsky), Sunday, 4 May 2003 18:37 (nineteen years ago) link

I'd like to see Stranger Than Paradise again, I haven't seen it in years. I used to be a big big fan of the JJ, but I'm not so sure I'll be able to re-visit his stuff (for instance that Down By Law Criterion DVD sounds great, but I don't know if I can ever watch that movie again).

slutsky (slutsky), Sunday, 4 May 2003 19:02 (nineteen years ago) link

Ghost Dog is one of my favourite films of recent years, and I happened to play the soundtrack just the other day, which is two of my five big fave soundtracks (US/UK version and the wonderful Japanese one). I haven't seen Dead Man, I think. I love all the others.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 4 May 2003 19:56 (nineteen years ago) link

What's weird is that the music on the "soundtrack" (at least, the version released outside of Japan) isn't the music in the movie, although RZA did both. I don't feel strongly about Jarmusch but then I haven't seen several of his films (Permanent Vacation, Night on Earth) and I haven't seen the others for some time now. I remember being very impressed by Dead Man in the "I just saw something great, right?" way but it doesn't stick in the mind as much as I had expected. I really need to see it again, I'd probably be able to appreciate it better.

I really appreciate Jarmusch's strivings for something like an All-American Art Cinema, but he still seems a little too indebted to his European models and a little too fond of hipster conceits (which run wild in Ghost Dog, to both my pleasure and annoyance) to break through. Actually I don't think he wants to break through, which is OK, but it limits his films.

I like the performance-art quality of some of his movies, where you just take interesting actors, give them a context to play in, and just roll camera.

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 4 May 2003 20:04 (nineteen years ago) link

He is permanently linked in my mind with Wim Wenders, for numerous reasons: their championing of a certain kind of "literate" rock n roll sensbility, and their obvious love for music and need to share it; the mordancy of their tone, and the looseness of their plots; they both like Ozu a lot, and cite him in their films (thus are roughly of the same generation of movie buffs).

This despite the fact that Wenders is considerably older and more prolific.

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 4 May 2003 20:07 (nineteen years ago) link

The Japanese Ghost Dog soundtrack is the movie music, which is what gets it in my list twice. (My others, for what its worth, are the soundtracks for The Harder They Come, Under The Cherry Moon and Shaft.)

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 4 May 2003 20:10 (nineteen years ago) link

like Hal Hartley, I have to be in the right mood and have low expectations to enjoy his stuff much, save for actors who bring their own enjoyability with them.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Sunday, 4 May 2003 20:23 (nineteen years ago) link

Love 'im. My 2nd favorite American director after Lynch. My own personal Jarmusch rankings, from favorites to less-favorites:

Dead Man
Mystery Train
Stranger Than Paradise
Ghost Dog
Down by Law
Night on Earth

I haven't seen his Neil Young doc.

JesseFox (JesseFox), Sunday, 4 May 2003 22:17 (nineteen years ago) link

There were at least 3 scenes that Ghost Dog could've ended on -- each time it didn't, it dragged a little more for me. But the whole GD-Haitian guy friendship was too cool for school.

Leee (Leee), Sunday, 4 May 2003 23:01 (nineteen years ago) link

"He is a madman so bugger off"

Andrew L (Andrew L), Monday, 5 May 2003 07:56 (nineteen years ago) link

im not a film buff at all. i really love jim jarmusch films. they all seem to share a common pace.. a relaxing subtle pace that allows the viewer (me) to take in everything. the music, the atmosphere, the words that are spoken. it makes for very rewarding films to watch. i sound like a hippie.

chaki (chaki), Monday, 5 May 2003 08:09 (nineteen years ago) link

"Mystery Train" is great. I love the scenes with Joe Strummer and Steve Buschemi. The spiel the local drifter lays on the Brazilian widow is also pretty cool.

"You're not even my brother in law and you shot me."

"Elvis sent me all the way here to give you this comb."

I also liked "Night on Earth", "Smoke" and "Blue In the Face". I couldn't get into "Dead Man" when I rented it a few years back, it put me to sleep.

earlnash, Monday, 5 May 2003 12:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Ha! For some reason when I started writing my note about Dead Man the first word that popped into my head was "soporific" though I decided against using it.

amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 5 May 2003 13:28 (nineteen years ago) link

''dead man'' is pretty nice.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 5 May 2003 17:27 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, the more I think about that movie the more I like it. I kind of appreciate that it makes me sleepy.

(and I love the opening on the train)

slutsky (slutsky), Monday, 5 May 2003 17:33 (nineteen years ago) link

Jim Jarmusch is my own personal god. I want to say more, but I have food in the oven...

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Monday, 5 May 2003 18:49 (nineteen years ago) link

bah nordicskillz i loath him like no other

Chip Morningstar (bob), Monday, 5 May 2003 18:51 (nineteen years ago) link

i would say more but similar reasons to yrs apply!

Chip Morningstar (bob), Monday, 5 May 2003 18:52 (nineteen years ago) link

the opening on the train is magnificent.

PVC (peeveecee), Monday, 5 May 2003 19:16 (nineteen years ago) link

I actually own Year Of The Horse. It's pretty assy. Really embarassing footage of the band getting "avant-garde" on "Like A Hurricane"(Sonic Old!). Poncho jumps way too much. Jarmusch supplies nothing of value. Plus some cheesy animation of a train. Good archival footage of the band yelling and smoking pot though.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 5 May 2003 22:10 (nineteen years ago) link

i love stranger than paradise, down by law, and mystery train. i haven't seen year of the horse, and i strongly dislike night on earth, dead man, and ghost dog. unlike the later films, the earlier maintain a strong sense of interconnectednes despite the focus on urban gypsies. the people the protagonists encounter throughout the films seem like at one point jarmusch saw them as fully-realized characters, or they're written so well that their cartooniness doesn't matter. also, the earlier films are a lot leaner and while length is obviously not a bad thing, i don't think jarmusch benefits from sprawl.

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 5 May 2003 23:11 (nineteen years ago) link

i strongly dislike night on earth, dead man, and ghost dog

Lauren, we were so in sync right up until the moment you posted this.

Night On Earth is the ultimate comfort movie for me - It was the first Jarmusch film I saw, and I chose to view it as a teenage Winona Ryder fan (!) - it's clearly his most flawed and least interesting film, but I love it, just for the incredible atmosphere (and the soundtrack!). It is one film I cannot be objective about. I know it is a pointless, aimless, often poorly acted film, but I love it to bits.

Dead Man is just a great, beautiful, funny, sad film.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 08:50 (nineteen years ago) link

Anyone seen Permanent Vacation? Now that is a bad film.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 08:51 (nineteen years ago) link

I can totally understand why someone would hate Dead Man in fact, I'm open to the possibility of hating it myself when I see it again.

amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 12:50 (nineteen years ago) link

sorry, skillz! (have fun at black dice tonight, btw)
i'm not trying to hate, really, and i think that no matter how much i dislike his later films overall there's obviously still loads of great stuff therein. even night on earth, which is far and away my least favorite, has that heartbreaking segment with the russian clown.
i have such a passion for the early films and their weird, prickly warmheartedness, and a lot of that unexpected generosity is gone later on.

lauren (laurenp), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 14:32 (nineteen years ago) link

have fun at black dice tonight, btw

Thanks, I'm heading out soon - excited!

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 14:46 (nineteen years ago) link

share about it on ilm, if you're so inclined... i'm very curious.

lauren (laurenp), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 17:02 (nineteen years ago) link

There were at least 3 scenes that Ghost Dog could've ended on


Amateurist - I think that you might really love Night on Earth, about which I feel like Nordicskillz does.

I haven't thought enough about what Dead Man says to a contemporary world, if anything. But if you keep it in it's time period (which requires some suspension of disbelief), it's very effective as a very sad (and occasionally funny) movie.

I find at least the first story in Mystery Train diverting, and Screamin Jay Hawkins is great, but that movie has never done much for me, which confounds me.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Sunday, 18 May 2003 21:43 (nineteen years ago) link

Up until Night on Earth Jarmusch was pretty impeccable. Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train and Night On Earth are all great films, bot warm and cool, artsy and fun. However, Dead Man and Ghost Dog are both somewhat flawed. Alienation has always been an important theme for Jarmusch, but the characters of his last two feature films are too weird and too alien for the viewer to relate to; compare that to the humanism of Down by Law ("it is a sad and beautiful world"), and you get my point. While I admire Jarmusch's skill to make films about highly original subjects (19th century Robert Blake? gangsta samurai?), I think he should stick to depicting real people.

Anyone seen Permanent Vacation? Now that is a bad film.

It's a typical first film: very uneven, but also shows some promise.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 19 May 2003 06:58 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
not like dead man?
the speaking stones say, "what?"

carlos vicente rojas, Thursday, 17 July 2003 01:37 (nineteen years ago) link

and ghostdog
was that italian raping with public enemy ?
too good for this simple mind to criticize.
I loved it.

carlos vicente rojas, Thursday, 17 July 2003 02:02 (nineteen years ago) link

Stupid fucking white man.

Girolamo Savonarola, Thursday, 17 July 2003 02:37 (nineteen years ago) link

Sorry, I'm in a hurry now, I'll be back later to comment more on this.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Thursday, 17 July 2003 08:30 (nineteen years ago) link

If it's any help, here's my review for Ghost Dog. Howvere, it's written over three years ago, so my language is quite bad and my opinions may have somewhat changed.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Thursday, 17 July 2003 08:34 (nineteen years ago) link

Damn, I was hoping that was going to be in Finnish.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Thursday, 17 July 2003 16:46 (nineteen years ago) link

Sorry. Actually, now that I reread that review, I think it still sums up how I felt about Ghost Dog. I'm not saying I didn't like Ghost Dog, but only as a stylistic excercise, since it lacked full-blown human characters to identify with. The same could be said about Dead Man, but to a much lesser extent. That film began wonderfully, but towards the end began to feel somewhat alienating. All that mystical mumbo jumbo...

Tuomas (Tuomas), Friday, 18 July 2003 05:32 (nineteen years ago) link

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.  2000.
SYLLABICATION: al·le·go·ry
PRONUNCIATION:   l-gôr, -gr
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. al·le·go·ries
1a. The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form. b. A story, picture, or play employing such representation. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Herman Melville's Moby Dick are allegories. 2. A symbolic representation: The blindfolded figure with scales is an allegory of justice.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English allegorie, from Latin allgoria, from Greek, from allgorein, to interpret allegorically : allos, other; see al-1 in Appendix I + agoreuein, to speak publicly (from agora, marketplace; see ger- in Appendix I).
OTHER FORMS: alle·gorist —NOUN

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 19 July 2003 17:26 (nineteen years ago) link

And Ghost Dog is an allegory of what, exactly?

Even if it is, it doesn't change a thing. Down by Law is a modern fable/allegory as well, but it also some emotion in it. Even if you make an allegorical film, you need to have a good plot and good characters. Otherwise people will just admire the cleverness of you allegory, but not the depth of your film.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 21 July 2003 07:41 (nineteen years ago) link

And Ghost Dog is an allegory of what, exactly?

non-exclusively, some stabs, mostly remembered from or inspired by Rosenbaum's review...

the alienation of the underclass/outcast (you don't talk to no one and you ain't got no friends)?

the ways in which identity and communication/language are changing and the relevance or lack thereof to understanding among different peoples (communication in english, french, spanish, even where those languages aren't spoken; failures of communication in the same language)?

the presence of violence in the modern (this ain't no ancient culture, mister; sometimes it is)?

the difficulty with which institutional status quos (i'm probably doing something horrible to latin there) yield (so i guess you're going to become the new boss now louie; it's not like that, ghost dog)?

a love song to hiphop, in particular its highly-skilled and creative practitioners (taking the couple's clothes at gunpoint; ok, getting the guy's suit fits the story, but why does he steal the woman's clothes; Wu-Tang = "We Usually Take All Niggas Garments")?

i didn't think about this until now, but perhaps every character is defined best by the way in which he or she relates to ghost dog. maybe a way of starting to look at the movie. a rashomon thing. what does ghost dog represent, then? or is this just a formal wrinkle?

If you think it's just a gangsta/samurai/mafia style thing, consider that I have near-zero interest in any of these genres/memes, and ghost dog is one of my favorite movies. I don't know how you miss emotion in it. It's far more pervasive in Dead Man, admittedly, but it's definitely there.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 26 July 2003 05:06 (nineteen years ago) link

Rashomon + Don Quixote + RZA = Ghost Dog

Girolamo Savonarola, Saturday, 26 July 2003 05:58 (nineteen years ago) link

non-exclusively, some stabs, mostly remembered from or inspired by Rosenbaum's review...

A quote from the beginning of this review:

Jim Jarmusch's seventh narrative feature, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, which I've seen three times, may be a failure, if only because most of its characters are never developed far enough beyond their mythic profiles to live independently of them. But if it is, it's such an exciting, prescient, moving, and noble failure that I wouldn't care to swap it for even three or four modest successes.

And from the end:

Jarmusch daringly uses Whitaker for the most part as a hulking silent presence, going about his business in purposeful and dedicated mime, but whenever the movie requires the character to be something more than a mythic icon, we don't know quite what to make of him.

...which is more or less what I've thought of the film. As I've said, I don't hate Ghost Dog, not at all, it is simply inferior to other Jarmusch films (with the exception of Permanent Vacation). Like the quoted reviewer, I appreciate Ghost Dog as a stylistical/mythical/cross-cultural (perhaps even allegorical) exercise, but it doesn't really touch me. An interesting failure indeed.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 28 July 2003 08:19 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I just saw Ghost Dog this week. It was pretty good.

The scene where all of the old Italian mobsters are sitting around the shop and the landlord comes and gives them grief for not paying the rent was pretty funny. I liked the way he went character for character in the room in the sequence, it is a funny lineup of old tough guys.

earlnash, Friday, 26 September 2003 13:26 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
chip shd come back in and tell us why he loathes him like no other. and then maybe i'll try articulate why i like him like no other.

athos magnani (Cozen), Friday, 14 November 2003 19:28 (eighteen years ago) link

And all this time no one's said shit about Fishing with John!

"Why am I here?"

Jarmusch: "I don't think you should drive?"
Lurie: "Huh? You don't think I should drive? Why? What?"
Jarmusch: "I’ll drive."
Lurie: "You wanna drive?"
Jarmusch: "No."

Girolamo Savonarola, Friday, 14 November 2003 19:48 (eighteen years ago) link

three years pass...
i finally saw dead man. so grotesque but in a pretty/flimsy kind of way (not a bad thing), like each skull or crushed head was a trinket. felt v. filmic, aware, etc, but still pretty moving in parts w/ a lot of great writing going on. that ending is so dark. reminded me of dante and sergio leone. uh one part almost made me cry.

strgn, Monday, 2 April 2007 20:20 (fifteen years ago) link

I really like Ghost Dog and Dead Man. One or two scenes in Night on Earth are ok, and I sort of like the one with Tom Waits, Lurie and Benigni (I forget the name). I think he's a filmmaker who takes some adjusting to.

Hurting 2, Monday, 16 April 2007 04:15 (fifteen years ago) link

four years pass...
seven years pass...

Saw this dude at apple soho today. Grew about 3 chins

calstars, Thursday, 11 October 2018 19:15 (three years ago) link

ten months pass...

I just saw "the dead dont die" and I cant work out if I hated it, or it was really clever and dryly witty. I mean I'll happily watch Adam Driver drly remark "this is gonna end badly" on a loop for 2 hours, and the reviews make me think I missed something, but... enh?

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 2 September 2019 00:00 (three years ago) link

I know it wasn't loved by most, but some of my favorite people really liked this and I'm looking forward to it

Dan S, Monday, 2 September 2019 00:33 (three years ago) link

It was very Cohen Bros dry. I should have paid it a bit more attention (I didnt see it in a cinema, but at home *coff*)

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 2 September 2019 00:38 (three years ago) link

More discussion here Veg: It's a sad and beautiful world: the Jim Jarmusch poll.

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Monday, 2 September 2019 00:38 (three years ago) link

erm, Trayce, derp

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Monday, 2 September 2019 00:38 (three years ago) link

Ha yeah I didnt realise I'd posted this on ILF whoops!

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 2 September 2019 01:02 (three years ago) link

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