Monday, February 24, 2014

Jim Jarmusch Rated

speaking of vampires...it's slightly suspicious that Jarmusch
has looked exactly the same for the last 30 years...
I saw the new Jim Jarmusch movie yesterday and very much enjoyed it. Jarmusch is always pretty hit and miss but I thought this most recent one, Only Lovers Left Alive, was a welcome return to form. Its a vampire movie and apart from Let The Right One In and the early seasons of Buffy I've never been a big vampire movie fan. Still I liked this one which is very much in the tradition of Tony Scott's The Hunger and Neil Jordan's Byzantium. Anyway here's my assessement of the Jarmusch filmography rated A through F. If you think any of these grades is particularly harsh or mistaken please let me know...

Permanent Vacation (1980) B            
Stranger Than Paradise (1984) B+
Down by Law (1986) B+
Mystery Train (1989) A
Night on Earth (1991) C
Dead Man (1995) A
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) A
Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) D
Broken Flowers (2005) F
The Limits of Control (2010) B
Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) A

27 comments:

Jim in PA said...

No arguments here ... I saw Mystery Train when it came out and it really blew me away ... loved the tone, humor, soul. JJ's great when he tries.

adrian mckinty said...

Jim

I think Mystery Train is one of the three or four JJ films where all the elements are balanced perfectly, whereas Night On Earth and Coffee and Cigarettes are thematically similar but dont quite work - at least for me.

Jackie said...

F for Broken Flowers - harsh surely. Bill Murray is in it for cyring out loud!

adrian mckinty said...

Jackie

Let me posit a positive spin first: if a film-maker doesn't have at least one F rated film in his filmography that probably means he's been playing it a little too safe with his career, wouldnt you say?

But as for Broken Flowers...well I'm sorry I just hated that. I thought it was really flat, atypically patronizing towards working people, patience testing and just generally shit.

Alan said...

Adrian,I did see "Ghost Dog" and Forest Whitaker is superb.It was for me Infinitely better than Alain Delon's "Samurai". Many of the others I will list and you're "A" list will make its way to my to movie list.In terms of sheer horror caveat not the acting "The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers"kept me awake and scared senseless.I am talking of Kevin McCarthy in the original version.Any Bela Lugosi Dracula flic still makes me look at the closet doors.Best Alan

adrian mckinty said...

Alan

Yeah its not the scary quality that turns me off vampire movies or their dreary ubiquity I think its just the ick factor. All that fake blood on fake teeth, biting necks etc. always just grossed me out.

The supernatural doesnt really disturb me but if its within the bounds of physics and the story's plausible then I can start to lose myself in the plot and get freaked: the last one that did that to me was Kill List.

Jackie said...

Its good to know that the new one is an A at least!

adrian mckinty said...

Jackie

Stylistically its almost perfect especially the use of Detroit as a location. I confess though that I hated the

SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT

John Hurt character who was burdened with one of those awful and utter silly Shakespeare conspiracy theories. I almost knocked it down a grade just for that.

seana graham said...

I'm with you on Dead Man and Ghost Dog. I haven't seen much else of Jarmusch's work. But I did see Broken Flowers and would rate it somewhat higher than you did. Although honestly, I don't remember enough of it to know why.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

I wouldn't want to watch it again. Coffee and Cigarettes has its moments but those moments are probably best watched on youtube.

seana graham said...

I'm not much of a rewatcher or rereader in general. Although there are exceptions.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Oh I like rereading and for some things I'm a compulsive rewatcher.

seana graham said...

I like rereaders more than I like rereading. I can watch some things over and over, but I wouldn't say they are particularly salutary.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

BTW in the new Jim Jarmusch movie the hip, laconic, cool, sexy vampires are very world weary and have read everything "La chair est triste, hélas! et j'ai lu tous les livres"

So what do the pack to read on the plane? (a night flight of course)

Infinite Jest

lil Gluckstern said...

This is totally off topic-well, not totally-but I read on Declan Burke's blog that you have a book coming out in July(!!!). You will remind us so we can see how your present location has informed your writing. My copy of "In the Morning.." is on its way, finally!

seana graham said...

I think I'll like that vampire movie. It's too bad DFW didn't live to see it, though.

adrian mckinty said...

Lil

Yup very much a change of direction for me - a murder mystery set in 1906 in the German Colony of New Guinea. It was fun to write so hopefully people will like it.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Very sad news about Harold Ramis today. Directed Groundhog Day which is as close to perfection in a film as anyone has ever achieved.

Matt said...

I would also rate Broken Flowers a little higher, otherwise the list would be pretty close to mine.

If you're looking for a really good vampire novel, Adrian, try to find 'Enter, Night' by a Canadian writer named Michael Rowe.

It starts “The vampire in the dirty green army surplus jacket and cowboy hat boarded the Canada Northern Star Charter Lines bus from Ottawa to Sault Ste. Marie at noon.” It could either be really good or really bad but it's the former and it only gets better.

Matt said...

Yes, Ramis also wrote some of the best SCTV episodes back in the mid-70s. Apparently a nice guy to everyone he met. I also like that he moved his production company back to Chicago from L.A.

seana graham said...

I hadn't heard about Ramis, so thanks. Yes, Groundhog Day was great and I bet a lot of people will be rewatching it now. Wherever we rank Broken Flowers, it was definitely a lesser vehicle for Murray than Groundhog Day.

Matt, thanks for the Enter, Night tip. I will look for it.

Oh, and Declan was right, that cover for the new book is great.

Matt said...

On a sidenote, I don't know if you read this when you were younger, Adrian, but all 200+ issues of Starlog are now available online...legally.

https://archive.org/details/starlogmagazine

adrian mckinty said...

Matt

Oh I liked Starlog. In fact I might have some in a storage locker somewhere unless theyve broken into my locker and auctioned off the contents as part of some despicable reality show trading in human misery.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

I've said it before and I'll say it again: they shouldnt teach Chinatown in MFA screenwriting programmes they should teach Groundhog Day. Its a flawless, brilliant script with an iron clad conceit and internal logic. Ramis will be missed.

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Steve said...

Interesting link for you - you're mentioned:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/what-ian-rankin-has-learned-about-writing-a-good-writer-never-stops-learning/article17036493/

adrian mckinty said...

Steve

That was nice of Mr Rankin. I've emailed it to Stu.