Quick-Thoughts: Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

Jim Jarmusch Marathon Part II of VII

“You know, it’s funny. You come to someplace new and everything looks just the same.”

“No kidding, Eddie.”

And yet, there are a lot of “I’m not”s in Stranger Than Paradise. I’m not a Hungarian, I speak English only now, yada yada things are different these days you see? Maybe the priorities aren’t set straight here; maybe the priorities to embody culture shouldn’t be sought in embodying what the genuine persona in your new world should be, or what the genuine American dream — aka the American greed — in your new world should be, but what the genuine bond with its inhabitants should be. We are far too distracted with covering land, and not covering what it is made of, who it’s being built from in the first place; perhaps that’s why it all seems the same to us so frequently. For a movie as prompted to reveal the “true” American experience in an outsider’s bubble space, it ironically makes sense that it’s executed like anti-American sensationalist art.

The acting here is just phenomenal too; feels wholly authentic to reality given how appropriately reserved it and the dialogue always come off as. The beguiling physical comedy is also very much a bonus. 

“Why should I want the peanuts? There’s nothing in it.” How about why is our perception so often closed off? Sheesh, this movie was painfully relatable in the best possible way.

Verdict: A

All-Time Favorites, Jim Jarmusch Ranked

“Stranger Than Paradise” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

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