“You know, it’s funny; You go to some place new and everything just looks the same.”
Picked up a cheap copy of this Jim Jarmusch’s classic piece of minimalist cinema which I hadn’ t seen for 20 years. I was pleased that it’s still as fresh, funny and original as i remember it.
At the time I remember some snooty critics saying it was like watching paint dry studiously missing the point that it’s the singular lack of action and ,above all, silences that make it so unique.
The movie revolves around three characters – Hungarian émigré Willie (John Lurie), his pal Eddie (Richard Edson), and visiting sixteen-year-old cousin Eva (Eszter Balint).
These three spend time in the same room or car but can hardly be said to communicate with each other. Jarmusch shows the tedium and emptiness of modern America but manages to make this funny and poignant.
Eva clings to a battered cassette player and a tape which contains just one song – Screaming Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’. A star turn from Cecillia Stark as the Hungarain Aunt Lottie is just hilarious. One of my favourite scenes is when Eddie comes to see Willie. Willie says “Do you want a beer?”. Eddie nods. They each open a can and then there’s no further talk. They can’t think of anything to say so they stay silent. End of scene.
Jarmusch has made some cool movies since but this remains his masterpiece.