XL Popcorn – Stranger Than Paradise

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 670/1007
Title: Stranger Than Paradise
Directors: Jim Jarmusch
Year: 1984
Country: USA

I really enjoyed Dead Man when I saw it two years ago whilst cradling my crippled wrist. There was something about this deadpan almost mumblecore take on a western that endeared me and made me chuckle. I hadn’t quite cottoned on to the fact that he had two other entries on this list, otherwise I would have probably started on them sooner.

And then I would have been disappointed.

Seriously, I think I am one of the very few people out there who actually disliked this film and just found it to be tedious. Sure, there is joy to be found in rough edges, that’s one of the reason that Crumb is such an interesting watch, but in Stranger Than Paradise there was way more roughness than was necessary.

What’s a real pity is that I was actually enjoying this film in the first act. The film starts with a girl called Eva coming to New York from Hungary and staying with her disinterested cousin. The entire act takes place over 10 days and Jarmusch is able to mine some weird comedy beats out of their interactions, which culminates in one hell of an ugly dress.

I really wish, therefore, that this film had ended with Eva moving to Cleveland. It would have been a short film, but it would have been well formed and a weird little deadpan oddity. Instead it just repeats the same beats numerous times and you get more and more aware at just how awful an actor John Lurie is.

Still, at least I’ll always have this scene that made me laugh out loud for some reason:

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