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All Critics (22)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (21)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (6)
Daring in its conception but made with a watchmaker's care, "Stranger Than Paradise" is a playfully eclectic, formally perfect gem. It is also a persistently funny film that owes as much to "The Honeymooners" as it does to the avant-garde.
Not a lot to it, certainly, but the acting and performances combine to produce an obliquely effective study of the effect of landscape upon emotion, and the wry, dry humour is often quite delicious.
Stranger Than Paradise is a treasure from one end to the other.
Its tale of two immigrant boys and a visiting Hungarian cousin tasting the trivia of freedom is clear-eyed, wistful and funny.
...a love-it-or-hate-it sort of endeavor.
It's a unique, indelible and hilarious film, and certainly one of the best of its era.
It's a hipster version of Marty.
Jarmusch constructs from basic ingredients a complex of narrative symmetry and existential ennui pointing to something far more resonant than the sum of its parts.
... like a French New wave film by way of Bela Tarr, directed with a hipster American comic sensibility and an outsider's fascination with the details of the everyday.
the American Dream inverted, that its characters are carefree is a by-product not of sharing in the Dream, but of dealing with life on the margins.
Overrated but solid understated comedy.
This austere, minimalist comedy put NY's East Village and Jim Jarmusch on the map, displaying unique sensibility and aesthetics (single long shots). Though only his second work, it's still Jarmusch's best picture--by far.
Considering that I have ADHD, it's a wonder that I'm able to sit through films that are slow paced and sometimes devoid of plot. I can't make it through every film like this, but if there's things going on I like in a film like this, then yeah, I can get through it. This applies to this one here.
In a way, I can sort of relate to the characters: they are bored, rootless, and don't really do much of anytihing, yet they are interesting people to watch, even if we don't really know much about them. The music, clothes, sets, and sparse conversations they have contribute to this. I found my self really hypnotized by this film.
The performances are terrific, and if they weren't, then this film really would be a failure. Everything hinges on the understated nuanced acting the three leads (two of them being non actor musicians). The carmera work is also nice. I got so caught up in just looking at stuff that I almost forgot that virtually all of the film is made up of long takes.
This is a nice little curiousity. I need to see more of Jarmusch's work before I can really comment on it, but, based on the others of his I've seen, this is not too far removed from his later stuff.
WIth minimal plot and cast, Jim Jarmusch creates a masterpiece on his first time out.
Stranger than Paradise can come off as shallow because it doesn't really say anything. There isn't enough dialogue that conducts to psychological profiles of the characters. There isn't a particularly great challenge or crisis they must face that can tell us anything about them that we haven't already seen. No. Still, this doesn't make the film shallow, it makes it like life itself: we don't know everything about people we meet or friends we've made, but they remain of interest to us for whichever reasons, among which is, quite simply, that they are real and we can relate to them. In Stranger than Paradise, Willie, his cousin Eva -just off the plane from Hungary-, and his friend Eddie, do and say very normal things in a limited space (the entire film is composed of one-shot scenes; zero camera movement), but their moments together are so well acted and written that they reach levels of intimacy very close to real life. I suppose that's what has given this film as many lovers as detractors; how you experience it has a lot to do with your own perception of day-to-day existence.
Cinematically, roadtrips always go hand in hand with change, realizations, etc. Stranger than Paradise doesn't follow exactly along those lines, although it reaches an ending between tragic and hilarious that definitely involves change. It is a very unique film in that it goes nowhere; even locations as different as New York and Florida, filmed in stark black and white, "seem the same".
I think as weird as it may sound that I appreciate this movie more than like it. I think that some of the scenes are really great, but there are some that drag the movie down for me. All of the scenes are beautifully shot and acted. John Lurie is fucking awesome. I really enjoyed Broken Flowers and Cigarettes and Coffee, but there are some scenes in this film that just made me bored. Like I said, I appreciate how he made it, but that doesn't mean that it's all good.
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