Just Watched Dead Man

I just watched Dead Man (1995) directed by Jim Jarmusch. It was simply incredible. Not only was it one of the best movies of the late 1990’s as some critics said, but it was also one of the greatest movies ever made. Simply stupendous. It’s been called an “acid Western.” You will like it if you like Jarmusch, who makes some very weird movies.

Previously I saw Stranger than Paradise, one of the funniest movies ever made, an actual movie that shows what life is really like, in all of its utter banality. It also shows that movies aren’t real life because real life never acts like the movies. If it did we wouldn’t be able to handle it. But if movies acted like real life, no one would watch them because they would be too boring.

We can only bear to watch movies because they are so far removed from daily existence. We can only deal with quotidian life because it is so banal. And even in all of its utter banality and lack of consequence, a lot of us still can’t handle it. Look how many people check out via their own hand every year. Look at mental illness rates, mental illness in part being a symptom of not being able to cope with life at all. Look at how many people commit slow suicide via alcohol and dope.

You really need to see Stranger than Paradise in a movie theater where everyone will laugh along with you, otherwise you might not laugh at all.

I also watched Down by Law, Jarmusch’s next movie. It was excellent but I have pretty much forgotten it by now and may just watch it again.

Anyone ever seen any of Jarmusch’s very weird movies? If so, speak up or forever hold your tongue. I will list them here for anyone who’s memory is as bad as mine is getting in these dear late years:

Permanent Vacation (1980) – His first film school project – a lot of critics did not like it. Shot in black and white.

Stranger Than Paradise (1984) – Absurdist, deadpan comedy. Possibly his magnum opus. Stars jazz musician John Lurie. Shot in black and white.

Down by Law (1986) – Jailbreak movie with Tom Waits, Roberto Bagnini and Lurie. Superb movie. Shot in black and white. This was his last black and white movie.

Mystery Train (1989) – Three vignettes all set in Memphis. Has that great Stranger than Paradise feel of the banality of life. Very good, watching now. First movie shot in color. All subsequent movies were shot in color.

Night on Earth (1991) – Comedy-drama with five vignettes all taking places in taxi cabs. Mixed reviews, either good or awful.

Dead Man (1995) – Acid Western” with a superb, out of this world Johnny Depp playing the lead, a man named William Blake. And no, the name’s not coincidental if you catch my drift. The other fellow, the man of letters, is also part of his identity. Also Iggy Pop and Billy Bob Thornton. Also possibly his best movie.

Year of the Horse (1997) – Neil Young tour movie. Regarded as one of his worst movies. Apparently his rock show movies just don’t cut it. Maybe he should quit making them?

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) – Crime film about the Mafia with a most unlikely Mafia hit man. Said to be very good.

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) – 11 vignettes. Either good or terrible, with the latter opinion being the consensus. Then again, the worst Jarmusch movies are still probably pretty good.

Broken Flowers (2005) – Comedy-drama about an aging Don Juan. Also very good, stars Bill Murray.

The Limits of Control (2009) – Spy/assassin movie, generally regarded as one of the worst if not the worst of his movies.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) – Vampire movie. Oddly enough, a movie about a love affair between two vampires. Well-regarded.

Paterson (2016) – Regarded as excellent.

Gimme Danger (2016) – Stooges concert movie. Generally seen as one of his worst movies of all. The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – Zombie horror comedy movie with Bill Murray. Well-regarded.

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10 thoughts on “Just Watched Dead Man”

  1. Stranger than Paradise,
    Dead Man,

    Well playa’, you’re only catching up now. I have seen both. Good choice for the weekend.

    Just wanted to mention this, you didn’t approve one of my comments. Was it because it was Islamophobic? I never thought you would censor over that topic.

    Can you allow automatic comments?

    1. No idea. I didn’t even see the unapproved comment. No, of course I would not fail to approve one of your comments. I’m not sure what happened.

      1. Oh we’re good now. I just couldn’t find it. You’re having so much more traffic that it’s difficult to keep track. All the more power to you.

        I just wish you figure out automatic commenting like it used to be before.

      1. Stranger than Paradise

        I have been to Budapest. Somehow felt connected with the vibes of the film when I visited the place (I saw the movie many years ago though, before I visited the place). I get along greatly with East European thugs and criminal gangs.

        The main character, Willies, is pushy, arrogant, and conceited, so it’s easy to relate. That’s how I feel many Hungarians are. Being an asshole comes very naturally to them.

        Now, stereotypes are not always true, but having traveled so much in Central and Eastern Europe, I have a few observations.

        Polish: Racist simpletons, hard workers, girls are easy to score if you’ve got Game. This is quite funny. The girl might be racist to a Black guy, but she’d be willing to fuck him the same time. I think they hate Arabs and Muslims more. Some Polacks are very nice though. Also, out of the East Europeans, the Polacks are the most friendly to English-speakers. Half of them live and work in Britain and Ireland. But they are an insular people.

        Czech Very reserved. And it takes a while for them to open up. Only after several liters of booze have passed through their veins.

        Hungarians Really like that Willie character. Somewhat racist against immigrants and poor people.

        Romanians Pretty nice in my experience. The women are hot and great fucks. But some are thieving whores. Hardly any racists in this country. The people are generally lovely, if a bit sad.

        Ukrainians I get along with them. They’re like Russian Mafia criminals minus the balls and brains. The women are always nice to you. There is some racism against Black people but not so much against Arabs, Muslims, or Indians.

  2. I was watching some of the quite entertaining “worst movies of the year” Siskel and Ebert TV specials that were up on YouTube and remember one of the years they absolutely hated some Jim Jarmusch documentary on Niel Young. I laughed away as I absolutely HATED Niel Young music.

    I remember Siskel also hated Patch Adams with a passion. That dumb looking movie where Robin Williams put on a clown nose and bedpans for shoes and pretended to be a doctor.

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