"Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

..and why not?
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GoogaMooga
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"Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 22 Mar 2023, 11:10

Wondering what it would be like to revisit "Stranger Than Paradise" 38 years later, but lasted not even the first reel. Such a disappointment, it feels like a pretentious student film, with redundant homages, a threadbare plot, grainy bw, and looong takes, with oh so many fades. Jim Jarmusch tries too hard to look cool, and it is not good. We know how he roped in Tom Waits for the soundtrack of "Down by Law" a year later, which should be warning enough. Sure enough, it's bozo bohos on the road in "Stranger Than Paradise", and we are expected to care. Jarmusch really does the Wenders-meets-Antonioni thing, testing our patience in a tremendously self-indulgent, 85 minute film about nothing. Really, you couldn't go anywhere in London in 1985 without being reminded of Jarmusch, who was the darling of the critics and flavor of the moment. The zeitgeist of the 80s was all about distancing oneself from the tacky 1970s, but the creators often overdid it to the point of caricature, and as a result, I think we saw a healthier, stronger 90s culture in counterreaction to the drab 80s.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby naughty boy » 23 Mar 2023, 12:40

You do talk an enormous amount of rubbish.
Matt 'interesting' Wilson wrote:So I went from looking at the "I'm a Man" riff, to showing how the rave up was popular for awhile.

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 23 Mar 2023, 13:03

Ooh, a Jarmusch fan! Well, well, well!
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 23 Mar 2023, 13:04

naughty boy wrote:You do talk an enormous amount of rubbish.


Do you honestly think I care about your opinion? What do you hope to gain? You are full of shit.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby naughty boy » 23 Mar 2023, 13:06

GoogaMooga wrote:
naughty boy wrote:You do talk an enormous amount of rubbish.


Do you honestly think I care about your opinion? What do you hope to gain? You are full of shit.



:lol:
Matt 'interesting' Wilson wrote:So I went from looking at the "I'm a Man" riff, to showing how the rave up was popular for awhile.

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 23 Mar 2023, 13:08

Never had you down as a Tom Waits fan!
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby naughty boy » 23 Mar 2023, 14:01

I'm not exactly a fan, and I'm not exactly a Jarmusch fan either, while we're on the subject. But both did some great work.

Stranger Than Paradise could be my favourite Jarmusch. It does feel a bit like a 'pretentious student film', but a lot of what people mean when they say that are good things.


I just found out Kael liked it!

The first section is set in the bare Lower East Side apartment of Willie, who is forced to take in Eva, his 16-year-old cousin from Budapest, for ten days. The joke here is the basic joke of the whole movie. It's in what Willie doesn't do: he doesn't offer her food or drink, or ask her any questions about life in Hungary or her trip; he doesn't offer to show her the city, or even supply her with sheets for her bed. Then Eddie comes in, even further down on the lumpen scale. Willie bets on the horses; Eddie bets on dog races. Eva, who never gets to see more of New York than the drab, anonymous looking area where Willie lives, goes off to Cleveland to stay with Aunt Lotte and work at a hot-dog stand. And when Willie and Eddie go to see her, all they see is an icy wasteland – slums and desolation – and Eddie says 'You know it's funny. You come to someplace new, and everything looks just the same.' The film has something of the same bombed-out listlessness as Paul Morrissey's 1970 Trash – it's Trash without sex or transvestism. The images are so emptied out that Jarmusch makes you notice every tiny, grungy detail. And those black-outs have something of the effect of Samuel Beckett's pauses: they make us look more intently, as Beckett makes us listen more intently.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_ ... se#Critics


Anyway - it's fun, it's short, two of the three protagonists are at least likeable. I love the shots of hotel rooms and all the road stuff. And it introduced me to Screamin' Jay.
Matt 'interesting' Wilson wrote:So I went from looking at the "I'm a Man" riff, to showing how the rave up was popular for awhile.

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 23 Mar 2023, 14:55

Screamin' Jay played a hotel receptionist in "Mystery Train", didn't he? I think that was the last Jarmusch I saw. Or maybe it was "Night on Earth" that was my last, but I don't remember anything from that one at all.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby BARON CORNY DOG » 24 Mar 2023, 12:53

GoogaMooga wrote:Screamin' Jay played a hotel receptionist in "Mystery Train", didn't he? I think that was the last Jarmusch I saw. Or maybe it was "Night on Earth" that was my last, but I don't remember anything from that one at all.


Ah, well you must see Dead Man! And Ghost Dog!
And the Neil Young doc!
At a minimum.

I remember liking Stranger Than Paradise, but it's not a huge favorite or anything.
take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 24 Mar 2023, 14:00

BARON CORNY DOG wrote:Ah, well you must see Dead Man! And Ghost Dog!
And the Neil Young doc!
At a minimum.


I think I have got all three on DVD, but haven't watched them yet. But the Neil Young is a Jonathan Demme film, are you sure you don't mean this one:

Image
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby BARON CORNY DOG » 24 Mar 2023, 14:46

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby Quaco » 14 Apr 2023, 03:28

The long takes thing was a given. That is what's great and different about it. Granted, I haven't revisited it in 30 years (!), but that's what I/we all liked about it then, so I wouldn't think to criticize it for that now. Like criticizing it being in black and white.

I liked it (back in the day). It was an example of something that could have been very bad actually being kind of nice.
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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby GoogaMooga » 14 Apr 2023, 06:14

Quaco wrote:The long takes thing was a given. That is what's great and different about it. Granted, I haven't revisited it in 30 years (!), but that's what I/we all liked about it then, so I wouldn't think to criticize it for that now. Like criticizing it being in black and white.

I liked it (back in the day). It was an example of something that could have been very bad actually being kind of nice.


I liked it too - back then. About the long takes - nothing wrong with that. They were a stylistic choice and certainly an antidote to the cutty, choppy montage so popular back then, especially in videos and advertising, but also in narrative film. It's combined with the other stylistic choices that I have listed, that they can seem an affectation. It is also a question of economics. Jarmusch shot the film on a budget of 100,000 dollars, so it was cheaper to just shoot master takes, and forget about shooting for cover. That way Jarmusch wouldn't have to worry about angles and continuity and such.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: "Stranger Than Paradise" (1985)

Postby Quaco » 19 Apr 2023, 01:45

GoogaMooga wrote:
Quaco wrote:The long takes thing was a given. That is what's great and different about it. Granted, I haven't revisited it in 30 years (!), but that's what I/we all liked about it then, so I wouldn't think to criticize it for that now. Like criticizing it being in black and white.

I liked it (back in the day). It was an example of something that could have been very bad actually being kind of nice.


I liked it too - back then. About the long takes - nothing wrong with that. They were a stylistic choice and certainly an antidote to the cutty, choppy montage so popular back then, especially in videos and advertising, but also in narrative film. It's combined with the other stylistic choices that I have listed, that they can seem an affectation. It is also a question of economics. Jarmusch shot the film on a budget of 100,000 dollars, so it was cheaper to just shoot master takes, and forget about shooting for cover. That way Jarmusch wouldn't have to worry about angles and continuity and such.

Cool - some interesting points. Thank you
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