Stranger Than Paradise - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stranger Than Paradise Reviews

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June 1, 2016
NY hipster Willie (John Lurie from the Lounge Lizards) puts up his cousin Eva from Hungary on her way to live with her aunt in Cleveland. After a few days of restrained hostility, they develop a grudging affection for each other. A year later, Willie and his friend Eddie (Richard Edson from Sonic Youth) borrow a car and drive to Cleveland to visit Eva. After a few days in wintery Cleveland, they decide to drive to Florida. Not much more than this happens ... it's how it happens. I love Jarmusch, and this might still be his best film. There's a scene in Cleveland where they decide to go "see the lake", and they stand in the wind and the snow and stare at a frozen lake. If you agree that this is pretty funny in a deadpan way, this film is for you. Rammellzee, Tom DiCillo (who shot the film) and Rockets Redglare all have cameos. How can you not love that?
October 22, 2015
Our tastes do change over time, don't they? 30 years ago this seemed stylish and witty in a sort of deadpan way. Today it seems kind of sluggish and ham handed. Raised a star for memories sake.
October 4, 2015
An understated, minimalist little tale of friendship, family and accidental criminal activity.
September 24, 2015
Each shot is like a sketch in this dry, minimal, super-stylish black comedy. In Stranger Than Paradise, Jarmusch's knack for drifter flicks was unleashed, and its pent-up, rhythmic beauty holds true 30 years on.

'It's Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and he's a wild man, so bug off'
August 20, 2015
Gave this a re-watch recently and was struck all over again by what a great filmmaker Jim Jarmusch is, and how influential his early work is on my tastes in film. His work was some of the first that I discovered with friends looking for something outside the mainstream and this delivered in spades.

Recommended.
½ May 22, 2015
Simple, minimalistic film with few characters. Single shot scenes and little movement.

We follow Willie, a guy from Budapest. He is kind of a low life dude that hangs out with his friend Eddie. Eva, Willie's cousin, get's involved when she pays Willie a visit. They split up, but they catch up again. I got a feel that Willie wanted her in his life, that's why they are reunited. They live of money won on gambling and they does some travelling. Overall they seem quite bored.

Shot in black and white. There are few characters here and a simple dialogue driven film. The final part are brilliant but the build up seem a bit flat. Still it's a strong story here. I dig the two songs that appear a few times.

Jarmusch's first film, but not his best for me. I liked it, but I probably own it some more interest for the first 30 minutes or so. That part never really engaged me. Better than "Dead Man" even if that film has stayed with me for a while for some strange reason. I bet this will too.

7 out of 10 bad feelings.
½ April 17, 2015
Years before the independent film movement of the 90's in America, Jim Jarmusch released Stranger than Fiction, an off-beat comedy about two guys and a girl trying to get out of their boring, mundane lives. The plot is simple, Willie a twenty-something living in New York, gets a visit from his cousin Eva, who is staying with him for ten days because her aunt was sick in the hospital. After that, Eva has to go to Cleveland to stay with her aunt for the rest of her visit. Meanwhile Willie and his friend Eddie go to visit Eva and her aunt in Cleveland. After spending several nights in Eva's aunts house the decided to go back to New York. While driving to New York they think it's a good idea to go back and take Eva with them but this time they were driving to Florida, and the rest well, you have
to see it. I don't like spoiling movies for nobody. As you watch this movie you get the sense of how independent the production was. In many ways this movie is a precursor to the indie movement that was to come in later years. The look of the movie was exquisite and the acting was very natural for a bunch of relatively newcomers. All in all, I give this
movie three and a half stars out of five.
March 31, 2015
fabulous is an understatement
March 12, 2015
wry and simple.. good movie for thematic isolation.
½ January 29, 2015
Jim Jarmusch's masterpiece conveying his trademark themes of unwanted visitors and the monotony of life. A model for his other recent triumph, Only Lovers Left Alive.
ElCochran90
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2014
This is definitely my favorite version of Jarmusch, the dude of stationary solitude and existentialist inertia with an air of coolness. I. Simply. Love this Jarmusch.

For starters, Jarmusch was a director of artistic and cultural inspirations: books, films and songs of all ages, Jarmusch is a living amalgamation of styles and trends that refuses the existence of originality. Everything is the result of something previously done and represented either intellectually or stylistically, a philosophy that I fully support. Since the film opens, you can see Jarmusch's aesthetic director stamp, but as the film progresses, you slowly begin to unravel his possible influences. Even if you encountered Jarmusch one day and he told you that you perceived his influences wrong, maybe you wouldn't. When I saw Stranger in Paradise for the first time two weeks ago, a film that I had incorrectly postponed for about 8 years, I clearly witnessed a Nouvelle Vague and Cassavetes-like cinéma vérité hybrid with an irreverent sense of humor.

Stranger in Paradise is a film about isolation, which is represented in many forms.

1) Willie is an unproductive small-time gambler living in a small flat located in New York City. He has detached himself completely from human interactions as much as possible, and all he does is to watch TV, drink, smoke, sleep and walk in the dilapidated streets during midnight.
2) His distant cousin, Eva, is moving from Budapest to America, alone, to a place that she doesn't know, and informs him that she will need to stay at his place for 10 days. He is reluctant to this and doesn't like the idea. Family detachment.
3) Eva meets Eddie, Willie's buddy. They get bored together, but the guys develop a fondness for Eva. This smells like a love triangle directed by Eustache. Isolation ensues.
4) Once both grow simultaneously bored out of that monotonous daily routine, strengthening their initially cold relationship in the process, Eva decides to leave with her aunt living in Ohio. Willie now doesn't want to. The pain of being left alone again.
5) Months later, Willie and Eddie win $600 in a poker game and decide to go after Eva in Ohio. Now its their fondness to Eva and the boredom of their isolated life the factors that push them to get rid of this isolation.
6) It's winter in Ohio. The streets are covered with snow. Few people walk in the streets. The aunt, Lottie, also lives alone. There is nothing for the trio to do than look at the frozen surface of the water.
7) The three decide to escape. Detachment once again.

This hilarious pattern of being reluctant at first, feeling bored next and escaping to another isolated place in an attempt to get rid of their previous unsatisfactory life stage is repeated from beginning to end. So, for the 1000th time, it is all about detachment and isolation. The minimalist style that captures the barren landscapes along with the unenergetic black-and-white cinematography communicate the same message with a high correlation.

Classic directors that inspired this type of films and style had no choice but to use black-and-white in their films. Now that technology has transformed this usage into an artistic decision, it is possible for filmmakers like Jarmusch to rise out of the blue and give an important name to independent cinema while utilizing the beauties of black-and-white to their advantage, because in modernity, people are forced to put attention to the details of the film if it looks so dead in color, or walk away. Personally, I think it looks beautiful in all of its glorious bleakness, dissecting monotony, and choking the alligator.

93/100
September 21, 2014
A movie of his time that now can not pass as more that an intellectual exercise that chokes as only the nothingness as his plot.
August 29, 2014
While it is competently directed and acted, "Stranger Than Paradise" ultimately suffers heavily from an unbelievably slow-paced and insignificant story, a breadth of unfunny gags, and an unfathomably thick layer of pretension.
July 23, 2014
We could say it is boring, but the key to understand is that you need to watch the hole story for an hour before it make sense and you will feel the power of that movie. It is like to describe love in one sentence - I love you! Better make a hole movie about it till you can say these words otherwise it is ...pure Hollywood.
July 16, 2014
Director Jim Jarmusch's second feature film is about three young people. One is Willie who is a Hungarian immigrant. His cousin Eva comes from Budapest to stay with him and he is not happy about it and treats her pretty cold. His friend Eddie likes Eva and treats her much better. The movie follows the three in three distinct acts that are pretty interesting.

I understand the praise this movie gets for it's technical aspects, but as a story it is pretty simple. That is okay though, because I think a lot of art actually works really well when it is minimal. The movie comes off as very drab and shows three young adults who are kind of lost with no real direction in life. In that regard it is actually very similar to Jarmusch's first movie "Permanent Vacation". The three main characters think that traveling somewhere better or warmer will make them happy, but realistically it is their own attitudes and mistakes that keep them from being happy.
½ July 14, 2014
Jim Jarmusch's first major feature, after his 16mm feature length amateur effort "Permanent Vacation", "Stranger Than Paradise" showcases the story of hipster who reluctantly takes in his Hungarian cousin, forms a bond before she leaves for Cleveland, then goes to Cleveland to rescue her and take her to Florida. It is a slow moving indie flick, with some amateurish flat acting...but it is enjoyable because of the talent behind the camera, which actually elevates what could be a boring mess.
June 13, 2014
In terms of independent films, nothing else comes out like "Stranger than Paradise."
June 7, 2014
Jarmusch's single, fragmented black and white takes serve as a series of French Wavey snapshots for his non-story, and, as an exercise in style, "Stranger Than Paradise" is pretty good, but, as a comedy, with a few exceptions, it's not very funny and kind of aloof, and as any kind of existential meditation, it's pretty superficial. It's a movie that, rather like its characters, has a sure sense of itself, but nowhere to go and nothing much to say. Some people might see that as a good thing; I didn't.
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