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Added by johanlefourbe on 23 Jun 2017 07:33
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A Complete Review of Jim Jarmusch's work

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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Gimme Danger (2016)


What was it about?
An in-depth look at the legendary punk band, The Stooges.

My two cents:
Since I'm a big fan of Iggy Pop, of course, I really had to watch this documentary at some point. Well, eventually, I have to admit that it turned to be a really straightforward rock documentary and, if you are really not interested in this band, it won't be a really spectacular watch but it worked for me. Indeed, even though I thought I knew some stuff about the Stooges, I'm amazed about how much I learned thanks to this movie. Still, they made some rather odd choices. For example, at the very beginning, they told the Stooges were going through some rough times and, suddenly, they went back to Iggy Pop's childhood and they went chronologically from there. Furthermore, I was rather surprised that, since they really went into details to tell the journey of this band, they didn't explain how Iggy Pop actually got his name. Anyway, even if their music was not always amazing, there was always something quite spellbinding about their act, especially Iggy Pop, and it is still quite impressive that him and his band have reached such a legendary success when they never ever reached any real commercial success making them pretty much the Van Gogh of Rock'n Roll.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 154 Average listal rating (86 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
Paterson (2016)


Cast : Adam Driver

What was it about?
A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

My two cents:
Well, the thing I enjoyed the most about the damned thing was the fact that Jarmusch gave the viewers barely any hints at all about what he was thinking or what he wanted to achieve with this movie. For example, he gave us a really cute couple who were obviously deeply in love. However, they seemed to have only such meaningless and tedious conversations such as 'Oh dear, you write such great poems, you really should have them published' 'Thanks, honey, and, by the way, your cupcakes are just amazing!'. Were we seriously to envy them? I'm not so sure. So, it was definitely an intriguing movie but, to be honest, I never thought it was fascinating either. I mean, Paterson was an interesting guy but while his girlfriend was really pretty, she definitely had nothing interesting to tell and I'm not sure if I really cared about their monotonous life. Or maybe the director wanted to show us that everyone has the potential to be a poet, even a bus driver. Anyway, even if it didn't really blow me away, it was still a decent directing effort from Jarmusch.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 579 Average listal rating (322 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3


Cast : Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska, Jeffrey Wright, John Hurt

What was it about?
A depressed musician reunites with his lover, though their romance - which has already endured several centuries - is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister.

My two cents:
Somehow, the vampires have been an endless source of inspiration for the filmmakers, ever since 'Nosferatu' was made almost 100 years ago, and while most of the mainstream features like 'Twilight' are terribly underwhelming, Jarmusch managed to come up with something fresh and original. Indeed, instead of the usual boring action scenes, you get here a fascinating and melancholic character study about some of these night creatures. Once again with this director, the soundtrack was just perfect and mesmerizing and, with Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, he couldn't have found some better actors. To be honest, there were a couple of things that did bother me though. For example, how on Earth a vampire should be able to die like that? It seemed to be an odd choice. Furthermore, those vampires were apparently filthy rich and with such wealth, it shouldn't be really difficult to find some blood and, yet, they acted as if they were going to die soon. Anyway, even though it was probably missing something to be truly amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed the damned thing.

My rating: 08/10

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People who added this item 288 Average listal rating (156 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.3


Cast : Isaach De Bankolé, Jean-François Stévenin, Paz de la Huerta, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Gael García Bernal, Bill Murray

What was it about?
The story of a mysterious loner, a stranger in the process of completing a criminal job.

My two cents:
For some reasons, somehow, it took me almost 10 years to see the damned thing. Well, I wish I could say it was worth the wait but, unfortunately, it turned out to be the weakest movie delivered by this director so far. Indeed, for 2 long hours, you get to see some mysterious black guy wandering the streets in some Spanish towns basically doing nothing at all. From time to time, he did have some conversations with some random characters who mostly spoke Spanish, a language which the main character of course didn’t speak. I mean, it could have worked with a 10-15 minutes short movie but to see this for almost 120 minutes was just so tedious. My guess was that Jarmusch wanted to go for something even more experimental than usual but it seriously backfired. I mean, it was visually quite appealing and Isaach De Bankolé did what he could with a seriously limited character but I really had a hard time to care at all for the damned thing.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 1273 Average listal rating (797 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2


Cast : Bill Murray, Julie Delpy, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton

What was it about?
As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.

My two cents:
Basically, this movie followed the new trend at the time of dry indie comedies starring Bill Murray which became really popular with 'Lost in translation'. As a matter of fact, this trend started even before, at the end of the 90's, when Murray started to work with Wes Anderson. Anyway, even though I eventually enjoyed this movie, honestly, I thought it was still nothing really mind-blowing and I was rather disappointed. The point is that Bill Murray, in those movies, is fine and indeed pretty good but, seriously, it is never really amazing and certainly not hilarious whatsoever. At the end of the day, I'd rather watch 'Groundhog Day' which was the pinnacle of his career if you ask me. Still, Jim Jarmusch is a fine director and he did a pretty good job as usual and there was a fine cast. Like I said before, I liked this flick, I liked the laid-back tone and how the main character was basically an a**hole but it just didn't blow me away like I was hoping for. Anyway, even though it was nothing really amazing, it remains a decent flick.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 1068 Average listal rating (571 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1


Cast : Roberto Benigni, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Isaach De Bankolé, Cate Blanchett, Jack White, Meg White, Alfred Molina, Steve Coogan, GZA, RZA, Bill Murray

What was it about?
A series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common.

My two cents:
For a 17 year period, Jim Jarmusch was shooting some short movies always involving people smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Apparently, the first movie was shot in 1987 with Roberto Benigni. Eventually, it was not bad but the whole thing was somehow still rather underwhelming. Indeed, it is always the same thing with a collection of short movies, some of them are pretty good but some of them are rather weak and, therefore, the end-result is not really impressive. Personally, I really liked the one starring Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, the one with Cate Blanchett, the one with GZA, RZA and Bill Murray and the one with Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan. The rest, however, didn’t really blow me away though. Eventually, after the amazing ‘Dead Man’ and impressive ‘Ghost Dog’, I had some pretty big expectations with Jim Jarmusch, this movie was a step down in my opinion. Anyway, even though it is a minor effort in Jarmusch’s career, it was still not bad at all and definitely worth a look.

My rating: 06/10

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Cast : Forest Whitaker, Isaach De Bankolé, RZA

What was it about?
An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

My two cents:
Back in 1995, I saw ‘Dead Man’ in the movie theater and I was completely blown away by the whole thing. So, when Jarmusch finally came up with a new directing effort 4 long years later, of course, I got really excited by the damned thing and I saw it as well in the movie theater when it was released. Eventually, even though it wasn’t a complete home-run like ‘Dead Man’ was, it was still a fascinating feature. What impressed me the most is how completely different it was from his previous directing effort. What they did have in common though is that those 2 movies both had an amazing soundtrack and, this time, Jarmusch worked with the RZA, the leader of the Wu Tang Clan, who delivered here a mesmerizing hip-hop sound. To play the title character, they went for Forest Whitaker who easily delivered one of his best performances. Anyway, basically, the whole thing was some kind of really weird mix including ancient Asian philosophy, the mob and some Hip-Hop on top of that. Eventually, this mix made this tale really intriguing but also borderline non-sensical preventing the whole thing from becoming really amazing but I still loved the damned thing anyway.

My rating: 08/10

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People who added this item 36 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.6


What was it about?
This film documents Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 1996 concert tour. Jim Jarmusch interviews the band about their long history, and we see backstage footage from the 1970s and 1980s.

My two cents:
I wonder how I ended up watching this flick but, in fact, I actually saw it in the movie theater when it was released. Indeed, I really loved ‘Dead Man’ and this movie had a huge impact on me when I saw it at the time. The one thing I loved about ‘Dead Man’ was the soundtrack which was definitely one of the very best soundtracks I have ever heard and it has been haunting me ever since (as a matter of fact, I have even bought the soundtrack at some point). So, when I heard that Jim Jarmusch was directing a documentary about Neil Young, the guy responsible for ‘Dead Man’ amazing soundtrack, of course, I had to watch the damned thing. Eventually, it turned out to be a decent watch but I can’t say I was really blown away by the whole thing . The point is that, to be honest, like most of the other old rockers, Neil Young was not really producing his best music right at the time when this documentary was made, at least, that’s my opinion, and therefore this feature was slightly disappointing.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 1366 Average listal rating (689 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Dead Man (1995)


Cast : Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfred Molina, Steve Buscemi

What was it about?
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.

My two cents:
After all these years, this movie is still one of my all-time favorites. In fact, I remember very well when it came out. Indeed, I even saw the damned thing in the movie theater when it was released and I was just completely blown away. I mean, basically, I was very young back then, I had never seen anything similar before and, in my opinion, the whole thing was nearly pitch-perfect. Basically, this movie was just so poetic, I know that many people think it is really slow paced but I thought it was just a really mesmerizing picture. Obviously, the acting and the directing were quite impressive and it might even be my favorite Johnny Depp movie. Eventually, this movie remains an acquired taste, some like me really love it and some think it is actually nothing really impressive. Anyway, since then, for more than 20 years now, I have kept following Jim Jarmusch’s work and, even though some of his movies were really good, not one of them ever managed to reach again this level of awesomeness.

My rating: 10/10

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People who added this item 602 Average listal rating (350 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8


Cast : Gena Rowlands, Winona Ryder, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Isaach De Bankolé, Béatrice Dalle

What was it about?
An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.

My two cents:
2 years after ‘Mystery Train’, Jarmusch was again coming up with a new anthology of stories but, this time, instead of 3 short-stories, he gave us 5, all taking place during the same night and involving some taxi drivers and passengers in five cities: Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki. Personally, I’m not really a huge fan of this approach because you often get some half-baked sub-plots instead of a fully fledged tale but, this time, it did work though. Eventually, the weakest segment was probably the one involving Winona Ryder as she gave a rather weak and unconvinving performance and my favorite one was the segment involving Béatrice Dalle and Isaach De Bankolé as the characters and their relationship were the most interesting from the whole bunch. Eventually, even though this movie wasn’t really a masterpiece, it was still a decent watch.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 381 Average listal rating (208 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
Mystery Train (1989)


Cast : Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Joe Strummer, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits

What was it about?
Three stories are connected by a Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley.

My two cents:
This time, instead of giving us one story, Jarmusch gave us 3 different stories all taking place in a hotel in Memphis. Personally, as mentioned before, I’m not really a huge fan of this approach but it did work here. Basically, like most of Jim Jarmusch’s work, there was a deliberate slow tempo and it can be either quite mesmerizing or slightly irritating. In this case, it was fine but I can’t say I was really blown away though. I don’t know, it seems that all these quirky characters were fairly interesting but I can’t say that they were really fascinating either. Still, Jarmusch always managed to attract some really nice guys and, for this movie, you had such notorious figures like Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer to play those characters. Anyway, it was definitely a decent watch.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 598 Average listal rating (340 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
Down by Law (1986)


Cast : Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Ellen Barkin, Roberto Benigni

What was it about?
DJ Zack and pimp Jack end up in prison for being too laid-back to avoid being framed for crimes they didn't commit. They end up sharing a cell with eccentric Italian optimist Roberto, whose limited command of the English language is both entertaining and infuriating.

My two cents:
To be honest, I must admit that I actually had a hard time to care about Jarmusch's early work from the 80’s. I mean, they were all interesting but it wasn’t just really my cup of tea. In this case, the fact that I always thought that Roberto Benigni was actually more obnoxious than really funny didn’t help either. Fortunately, John Lurie and Tom Waits were fine here and this trio was not bad after all. On top of that, Jarmusch definitely knows how to create a nice unique mood and the black and white cinematography was really neat. This time, Jarmusch did use a plot but he obviously didn’t care much about the rules of the jailbreak genre which was pretty nice. Maybe, I should check it give another shot at some point. Anyway, even if it didn't blow me away, it was still definitely a decent watch.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 482 Average listal rating (249 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6


Cast : John Lurie

What was it about?
A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial hostility and indifference a small degree of affection grows between the two. Along with a friend, they eventually end up visiting their aunt in the wastelands of Cleveland and then proceed to Florida where they lose all their money gambling before unwittingly gaining a fortune.

My two cents:
Even though Jim Jarmusch's directing debut ‘Permanent Vacation’ was not entirely successful, this movie was a huge critical success at the time and it is usually considered as a huge influence on American independent cinema. Eventually, I think the whole thing is pretty much a matter of taste. Indeed, Jarmusch is definitely one of the very few real American authors like Woody Allen, Terrence Malick or Wes Anderson, and I have a lot of respect for his work. On top of that, the black and white cinematography was quite gorgeous. Still, I thought it was hard to really connect with the whole thing as it shows a deliberate slow pace, there is no real plot whatsoever and none of his characters were either likeable or really interesting. The fact is also that this movie was made 30 years ago and, at the time, it might have been ground-breaking but since then, I have seen tons of similar Artsy features so its impact is not as big as it used to be. Anyway, even though I wasn't really blown away by the whole thing, I thought it was still a pretty good indie feature.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 186 Average listal rating (89 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4


Cast : John Lurie

What was it about?
A young man wanders New York City searching for some meaning in life and encounters many idiosyncratic characters.

My two cents:
It took me many years to finally see this directing debut but I'm glad I managed to see it. Jarmusch made it back in 1980 when he was still a student at a film school with a 12.000 dollar shoestring budget from a misused scholarship. Basically, it was a typical Jarmusch effort, with very little action, very little character development but some rather mesmerizing directing. It wasn't very well received by the critics and it wasn't even released theatrically but, right from the start, it established many of his trademarks that we will see in his following features. To be honest, the acting was not really impressive and the pacing was kind of sluggish but I really enjoy his directing in general. While watching this, I was thinking that if the guys from the Beat generation like Jack Kerouac for example made movies instead of books, it would have probably looked like this. Anyway, even if it was far from being really amazing and even though it is really an acquired taste, I actually liked the damned thing.

My rating: 07/10

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Since I have finally managed to watch all the movies directed by Jim Jarmusch, I thought I should make one of these lists for these guys as well.

Enjoy!


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A Complete Review of various directors' work (44 lists)
list by johanlefourbe
Published 5 years ago 7 comments



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