Movie News

Moriarty Interviews Jim Jarmusch!!

Published at: May 10, 2004, 7:56 p.m. CST

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

If you read that headline and said, “Who?” then go to movie geek jail. The world of the weird is better for having had Jarmusch be part of it since the mid-‘80s, when he was one of the pioneers of what we now think of as the indie cinema scene. From the very start, he has been oddball, idiosyncratic, and frequently hilarious. No one else could have made such low-key masterpieces as DOWN BY LAW, NIGHT ON EARTH, MYSTERY TRAIN, or STRANGER THAN PARADISE. In the last decade, he’s expanded his palette and made films that defy easy definition like the superlative haunted western DEAD MAN or the hypnotic martial arts meditation GHOST DOG. He’s one of a kind, so when Mr. Beaks had a scheduling issue and asked me if I wanted to go meet Jarmusch for a one-on-one interview, I didn’t even have to check my schedule. I moved whatever I had to move, and I went.

By the time we sat down together, it was mid-afternoon, and he’d already been doing press for his new film COFFEE & CIGARETTES for several hours by then. When I walked into the hotel suite where we met, he was on the floor, signing one-sheets. He was instantly recognizable with his exclamation point of nearly-white hair and his deadpan delivery of even his most passionate remark. We were introduced, and I told him how long I’ve enjoyed his movies, dating back to when I dragged my parents to see STRANGER THAN PARADISE in the theater. That was before I could see an R-rated film alone, and I found myself having to really pitch some of the stranger fare I wanted to see in order to get them to go. I fell head over heels in love with the film at first sight, but both of them were less-than-enthusiastic, marking one of the first moments when I realized that perhaps my interests were different than theirs, which is a pretty great feeling.

JARMUSCH: Yeah, I remember the first time I showed STRANGER THAN PARADISE to my father. After it ended, he said, “Well, I liked it, but I think they projected the reels out of order or something. I really didn’t get it, y’know?”

MORIARTY: One of the first things I wanted to ask you about was the way you so frequently use musicians as actors. It’s really striking, and you’ve gotten some great performances out of people that I don’t think anyone else would have thought to use in a movie, and they certainly haven’t used them the same way you do. That goes back as far as your use of John Lurie.

Well, it’s not a calculated thing of “What musicians can I work with?” It’s just a completely... uh, it happens by chance, by the fact that I started out as a musician. I kinda came of age in the whole late-‘70’s punk scene. Most of my friends were musicians. I still tend to have a lot of friends who are musicians. I get ideas for working with people because of qualities they have that I’m aware of either by knowing them or through their work. So it’s really more circumstantial. It’s certainly not calculated.

A great example is [COFFEE & CIGARETTES] and the segment with Jack and Meg White. It’s such a different side to their personality than what I’ve seen. It’s so playful. Their music to me always comes across as, in the best way, bombastic, a bit of an assault. This is just a funny, even sweet little piece with the two of them...

Yeah, except I’ve seen the Stripes play a lot, and I burst out laughing often with Jack’s rock star moves. I find it so joyful that I find it very funny sometimes. I love their music, and I don’t think it’s without that... I think there’s something very fun and funny to their stage presence.

A lot of times, especially with this film, which I really enjoyed... I just got a chance to see it last night at the Arclight as part of the AFI Series...

Nice theater. Wow.

Yeah. Great theater. The two things that struck me right off were that this is, without a doubt, a Jarmusch film. So frequently, as directors get older, they seem determined to break away from what it is that they do and chase other styles or genres, almost like a reaction to the passage of time. Your style remains so clear, so true to your voice. Is that a conscious resistance to change, or is it just that you follow the things that interest you, and this is where they lead you?

I don’t know, because I really am anti-analytical, especially about my own stuff. It’s really hard for me to know what I’m doing, other than, you know, this is just how I do it. It’s very organic and intuitive, and it’s all a process for me. It’s not... each film is not a signpost for me of some changing technique or understanding. I hope I’m learning. I’m still trying to learn how to make a film. I hope I feel that way when I’m 80 years old and, hopefully, still working. But it’s hard for me to analyze because I’m interested in the whole process of life and of learning from your mistakes. But I don’t really know how to even... and I’m not trying to avoid the question... I don’t honestly know how to answer it because I don’t look back. I don’t see my films again once they’ve been released.

Really?

No, I don’t, uh, I know what I need to learn, which is the things I don’t like about the things that I did, or mistakes which I find incredibly valuable and I embrace those mistakes. I just try to keep going, y’know, and I just try to do it my own way. I don’t know any other way.

Speaking of process, let’s go back and discuss the way COFFEE & CIGARETTES developed as a feature. I remember seeing the original Benigni film way back in the ‘80s on, I believe, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

Yes, it was made for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in 1986.

So was it an ongoing concern? Did you know you wanted to make more shorts right away? At what point did it become a feature?

Well, the idea of it becoming a feature didn’t start until I’d made two or three of them, because I realized I was doing the same thing over and over. I thought it was about variations, so I figured when I got enough of them, maybe they would work together. I wasn’t sure, though, and once I had about eleven of them, it wasn’t until I went into the editing room and started to put them together to really decide, “Is it stronger with them put together, or is it stronger with them left alone?” I felt they... and again, I can’t quite see it ‘cause I made the film, and it’s hard to see since I’m so close to it... but I felt like there was an accumulation of things that made them stronger together.

I love that there is dialogue that shows up in the films and recurring ideas that are discussed. I also love the way your actors are all playing sly riffs on themselves. One of my favorite segments has got to be between Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan...

Yeah, well, they are masters of timing and nuance and little resentments. They are just masterful at it, y’know?

Coogan really deflates the entire idea of new celebrity so well... a guy who is starting to really click and who carries this sort of attitude with him now. It’s great the way they play off each other in that one.

I think it’s fun for them to sort of make abstractions on themselves. I think Cate Blanchett did a beautiful job, because she’s sort of, in real life, between those two characters. She understood them both, but she’s neither. But she’s both. And Alfred and Steve, or any of them playing off themselves... like Tom [Waits] and Iggy [Pop], too, are kind of riffing off of themselves in a way.

That’s so much fun, to see Iggy Pop nervous about meeting somebody. Iggy Pop nervous is the last thing anyone would think of when they think of his image.

Well, Iggy Pop is never nervous, but Jim Osterberg is just a complicated human being with a lot of nuances and levels to his personality. He’s an amazing guy. I love Ig... Jim.

His performance in DEAD MAN is so great. It’s one of my favorite little pieces of that film.

Oh, thanks. Yeah, I love what he did in that film, and he did some funny fucking improvs, too. There were things he added, like when he’s trying to load a shotgun and the bloodbath’s going down, and he’s saying things like, “I cooked, I cleaned... oh, man!”

There’s a whole movie that’s suggested by he and Billy Bob [Thornton] and their relationship, and Jared Harris...

Yeah, Jared’s great, too.

It’s just so hilarious.

If I’d made the whole film just of them, it would have been hilarious.

That’s a real favorite of mine out of your filmography, if for no other reason than Gary Farmer... he’s such a revelation in that film. I haven’t seen anybody use him that well since, with the possible exception of SMOKE SIGNALS. Gary’s got this enormous spirit in that movie...

Gary Farmer has an enormous spirit as a human being. He’s an activist. He’s incredibly involved in all sorts of native rights. He worked for years and finally, now, in Toronto, they’ve got a Native American radio station. He spearheaded this and got it going, and it took years, y’know? He’s always doing stuff for other people. He is a huge spirit in life, y’know? And he’s one of the most valuable friends you can imagine. And Gary Farmer... the odd thing is I discovered him through Tom Waits. When the film POWWOW HIGHWAY came out, Tom Waits called me up and said, “Jim, you seen POWWOW HIGHWAY?” I said, “No, not yet. I read about it.” “Two words. Gary Farmer. Check it out. There’s an actor in here, he’s going to blow you away. He’s the most human, beautiful thing I’ve seen in years. Check it out.” So it was Tom Waits, actually. So then I rushed to see the film, and I was like, “Gary Farmer... whoa.” And then, y’know, I wrote DEAD MAN for him. I hadn’t met him yet. I had to go way up to Canada where he was living off the grid somewhere, and I had to stay overnight. I had a script, and he said, “Y’know, why don’t you just stay overnight and tell me the story rather than having me read this? I prefer the old way. Just tell me the story.” So I did, and he was like, “Oh, yeah, it’s interesting,” and the next morning, he’s like, “So when are we going to shoot this thing? I’m there.” But what a... what a great human being, y’know? But I’m lucky. All these great actors, I’m in love with all of them.

I think that’s one of the things that really comes across in your work. You give actors space in a way that a lot of directors have forgotten how to do. So often, films are all about the concept, or they’re about a gimmick, and the actors are almost chess pieces being pushed through something, rather than allowing them to inhabit a space.

Well, they get forced into what we used to call “Akkin,” which is acting their way through the scene rather than reacting as a character to things happening around them. Real acting for me is about reacting. It’s not about interpreting the scene and delivering the intention of the scene. It’s about me and each actor collaborating on a character that we could put anywhere, and they’d still be that character reacting. Because in real life, you don’t know what I’m going to say next. I don’t know what you’re going to say next. So why should... I mean, often, I can see actors, and I know they know what’s going to come next, and I’m just left out, sort of. I’m not interested. I’m trying to learn to work with actors to allow them to react, and they know that I am collaborating with them, and whatever we do with that character, we’ve got to elevate it above what I would do alone in my head, and what you would do without me as the writer/director, and together, we’re going to make it something above our own capabilites, hopefully, and try to... I love working with actors because they are very... they’re all different, and everyone has different experience and a different approach. Y’know, they’re all different people, and they all have different amazing qualities, and it’s very hard to be an actor and be naked emotionally and be thrown in after having to wait all day, and it’s like “Okay, get in character and we’re shooting and here we go and action!” Y’know? It’s just, I sympathize with them. I try to be very aware of what they need, as much as I can be, because I really appreciate what they go through and what they’re bringing to our film. It means a lot to me, so... and I’m drawn to people that have great spirits and, and gifts, and I fall in love with them all, y’know? I’m very particular about who I want to work with, but then I just...

Well, we often see people reappear in your films. I love the fact that the Joie and Cinque Lee sequence was shot while you were shooting MYSTERY TRAIN...

We shot that the day after we wrapped, and we were exhausted.

Cinque is one of those very particular actors, and I love the way you used him in MYSTERY TRAIN. He’s awesome opposite Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in that. In this one, I love the way he and Joie play off of each other. There’s something really great that you could only get from a real brother and sister. They have that whole lifetime to draw on.

Yeah, well, it’s also a genetic understanding. You don’t get the harmonies of the Everly Brothers except through genetics. And [the Lees] have that thing, and they’re very different people, but they have this whole lifetime of experiences. They’re just linked. And Cinque reappears briefly in the Meg and Jack White segment. He’s the only one who comes back.

One of the things I really enjoy in your films is the way you create a space for people and it feels like... I wanted to ask you how rigorously COFFEE & CIGARETTES was scripted, because it feels improvisational in some ways, but...

Shouldn’t every film feel improvised?

Absolutely.

Shouldn’t all performances feel improvisational?

That’s why when things show up again in the picture, and you realize there’s a master hand at work here, and it’s not just random, it’s really is exciting. It feels so natural.

Well, they’re all scripted, but definitely not rigorously, because... I even tried to trick the actors into improvising by saying, “Okay, we’re going to shoot this section of the script in this next take,” and then when they run out of that dialogue, I just let it keep rolling and leave them there and see what happens. I encourage them to, y’know, to... to take detours. But they all had a script. They all had scripts to follow. Some of them followed them very closely, and others less closely. But it gave me a structure in the editing room, where I knew, “Okay, I did have this skeleton, and now I have this footage, and how does this flesh fit on this skeleton?”

I’m fascinated by the combination of RZA and GZA and Bill Murray. I love the way they’re so smitten with Bill in the sequence. I love the way they call him “Billmurray” every time they talk to him.

Yeah, I’m trying to get... I’m trying to institute a new thing in hip-hop culture where everyone calls each other “Billmurray.” Instead of “dawg” or “god,” or whatever you call somebody. “Hey, what the deal, Billmurray?” Everyone is Bill Murray...

There’s no higher compliment.

... and Bill Murray is everyone.

I have to ask. Bill is notoriously difficult to pin down on films. Was it easier to get him to do this because of how brief the segment is, or was it that same sort of tapdance, and if so, how did that go?

It was pretty easy, because I know him, and I actually wrote a script that we were going to do together two years ago, and I was the one who decided I didn’t want to do that film yet, so then... anyway, I have real hopes of working with him as a real... he’s just one of our most amazing actors.

I, I... I completely agree...

And I want to work with him in that way, in a, a... not a goofy kind of thing.

I’m so thrilled that directors finally seem to have discovered that about him in the last five years or so.

Oh, man, there’s MAD DOG AND GLORY, RAZOR’S EDGE, LOST IN TRANSLATION, RUSHMORE... y’know, he’s finally looking for those things, too. He’s pretty savvy. He knows his gifts. In this case, I’d known him for a while, and I called him up and said, “Bill, I’m doing this little thing,” and he said... he didn’t ask me what. He didn’t ask me what it was. He just said, “Well, how long is it going to take?” And I said, “Oh, one day.” And he said, “Well, can we shoot it in half a day?” And I said, “Gee, Bill, I don’t think so. I’ll try.” And he said, “You’ll try. That means a whole day. All right, all right, just call me the night before.” And this was like three days before, right? “Call me the night before, leave me a message, tell me when to be there, what to wear, where to be, and I’ll be there.” Then I hear CLICK, and I’m like, “Bill? Bill? Oh, shit... he’s gone.” So, I did, and he showed up. GZA and RZA were already there, and... I’ve spent a lot of time with them, a lot of days spent on Wu Time. I’ve spent a lot of time in studios and collaborating with RZA or watching the WuTang, and I’ve hung out with Ghost Face Killer and ODB, too, and, uh, I was frankly amazed that RZA and GZA were already there. And then Bill walked in, like, fifteen minutes later. RZA and GZA were not on Wu Time. They were there on time. Whoa. That was fun.

Speaking of RZA, I wanted to thank you for putting on the GHOST DOG DVD the score as an isolated audio track. It’s something I wish more directors did, because they collaborate with these great musicians, and then the music can sometimes get lost in the mix. You tend to end up with really strong scores, like Neil Young’s work on DEAD MAN, which is just amazing.

We should have done the same thing on DEAD MAN on DVD. What I do is I do things the anti-Hollywood studio kind of way. Usually, when you make a film, you pay the musician as a work-for-hire, and then the producers of the film... in my case, on my films, that would be my company... owns that music. I don’t do that. I go to Tom Waits or Neil Young or RZA, and I say, “Look, you make the music, I pay for the studio time, I pay a fee, but nothing like what you would get if I’m buying your music from you. You own the publishing, you own the royalties from the soundtrack, and even though the soundtrack has to have the title from the film, you can do whatever you want with the music on the soundtrack as long as it’s somehow connected with the film. I get the use of the music in the film forever, but it’s your music. Anything else you want to do with it outside of the film, it’s yours.” That’s a nice way to work, and they really seem to appreciate that. Usually, it’s like “We own it. Goodbye.”

I think the results are really adventurous and I think you’ve gotten some of the best work out of...

Well, I respect them too much to want to pay them to own their music, y’know? And I love it when they do something like... RZA made a GHOST DOG record with all these different people, having them watch the film and write lyrics and write new stuff out of their impressions from the film. And the score... you now can get it... it’s a cult thing. You can get it, but it’s a Japanese-only thing. Or you can get it off the DVD. Or like Neil Young. He went a different way and made a sort of collage thing out of the score. I love that. It’s like throwing the ball back, like “Okay, now you see what you want to do.”

Well, it turns into a reaction to what you’ve done.

Yeah, it’s like playing tennis. It’s like they come up with something else on their own, and I love that. I love to see what they do. I’m sometimes surprised. I was definitely surprised the first time I heard Neil’s score and he had, like, the engine of a ’52 Chrysler in the background. And I’m like, “Huh?” But he’s Neil, man, and I’m like, “Whatever you want to do, go your way.”

Well, the whole movie is such an anti-traditional Western that it makes sense to have an electric score. It feels really appropriate to what we’re watching.

It was always intended to be a sort of a hallucinogenic and psychedelic Western, in a slow peyote-fuelled kind of a way, not in a flashing... y’know... but it’s supposed to have that kind of a drug-like effect. Neil’s score really kind of underlines that. For me, anyway.

Then that inevitable moment came, as it does at the end of all good interviews, when the publicists came in and had to hustle me out so someone else could come in and have their turn. It’s a shame. As I was leaving, thanking Jarmusch for his time, he told me how much fun he’d had talking with someone who seemed to like all of his work and not just pimping out the new film. I could have spent the whole afternoon picking his brain, and I urge you to check out COFFEE & CIGARETTES when it opens in New York and LA this weekend, then rolls out across the country in the months ahead. It’s about as far from the big-budget spectacle of something like VAN HELSING or TROY as you’re going to find, literally just a movie about conversations held over the titular elements, but it’s full of great performances and the same wonderful absurdist wit that marks all of his work. It was a real pleasure to speak with him, and hopefully you’ll get a hit of that same pleasure when you see the film.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • May 10, 2004, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Great interview! Too bad....

    by don_gately

    you had to go and spoil it by throwing in that, "he really appreciated the fact I'm a fan and not just a journalist" bit at the end. It's not about you, it's about the filmmaker. Period. Good interview though, one of the best I've read from JJ.

  • May 10, 2004, 8:32 p.m. CST

    great interview!

    by failed musician

    finally something pertaining to an actual artist!

  • May 10, 2004, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Jim is a Billmurry!

    by FineEagerSeeker

  • May 10, 2004, 9:25 p.m. CST

    DEAD MAN is AWFUL

    by Louis P.

    Dead Man is the worse film I have ever seen. I don't hold my breath while saying it. THE WORSE. Pain. Pain is what I felt when I watched a free screening of the pretenious drivel. And I don't hate Jim Jarmusch films. Actually most of them I enjoy. So there is no bias here. Dead Man just happens to be a film that I hate thru and through; from the shitty Neil Young score(which consists of one cord over and over again) to the cinematography ("just sit the camera here and roll") to the amazing slow pace (that had me banging my head against the back of my seat). To quote from Enter the Wu-Tang, "torture, mutha-fucka, torture".

  • May 10, 2004, 9:42 p.m. CST

    RZA, GZA and Billmurray!

    by illegit

    As soon as I saw a clip from this scene in the trailer I knew I had to see this shit ASAP! What a fucking combo! And Jarmusch is a dope filmmaker, so all the better.

  • May 10, 2004, 9:45 p.m. CST

    dead man rules, plain and simple

    by doctor_cock

    ah, louis p, you have SO much to learn about films... alas, there may be hope for you yet...

  • May 10, 2004, 11:11 p.m. CST

    movie geek jail?

    by Kid Joker

    Now I'm a hard movie buff - especially when it comes to pron films (think about it). I've never heard of that Jim fag you nerds are all chatting about neither have I heard of any of those shitty sounding "low key" movies as you refer to them as - fucking hell. You guys need to get out of ya mumma's basement and get a life - and a decent weight size. One more time - FUCK!

  • May 10, 2004, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Good interview

    by The Real McCoy

    That was a great interview. I hardly ever see anything on J.J., seeing as he's such an eccentric director. Anyway, shame to say but my first introduction to Jarmusch wasn't until Ghost Dog. That movie just blew me away. Everything about it was just awesome. Few movies manage to capture mood and the ones that do(lost in translation, ed wood) immediately rise above all other films because of it. I also encourage anyone who doesn't own the Ghost Dog DVD to at least rent it. It's got some great deleted scenes, an interview with Jarmusch, and that isolated score that Moriarty mentioned.

  • May 11, 2004, 12:23 a.m. CST

    THE WORSE. Pain. Pain is what I felt when I watched a free scree

    by flossygomez

    ...I'll let the psychotic dyslexia speak for itself here. What exactly IS pretenious anyway? Loved every minute of Deadman and jerked off until my wanger bled while watching Ghost Dog. RZA kicks it..and Jarmusch makes me glad to be a cinema freak.

  • May 11, 2004, 12:32 a.m. CST

    jarmusch

    by lopan

    he's pretty good, not the WORSE I've ever seen by far. don't really find him pretenious either

  • I think I'm finally gonna go all the way and rent it next time, though.

  • May 11, 2004, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Jarmusch's best work is behind him - ten years behind him.

    by Mosquito March

    It's like a universal law - all directors get soft and unfocused when they get older, and every attempt at being "hip" comes off stale and superficial. Like GHOST DOG. You'd think the guy who made STRANGER THAN PARADISE and MYSTERY TRAIN would be alert enough to recognize he's slipping, but, I guess not.

  • May 11, 2004, 2:18 a.m. CST

    PS - "hypnotic" is often a nice way of saying "slow and boring".

    by Mosquito March

    Much like "Buddhist tone poem".

  • May 11, 2004, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Shame Mori....shame

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    Mori....good interview....but it could have been better if you mentioned some of his acting bits...like "Blue in the Face"....or better yet...HIS BIT ON "FISHING WITH JOHN"!!!!!! C'MON! THEY WENT SHARK FISHING!!!! WITH A 9MM!!!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE JOHN LURIE TELLING JIM JARMUSCH TO HOLD A PIECE OF CHESSE OVER THE BOAT WHILE POINTING THE GUN AND SAYING "You pull back quick and I'll shoot the shark."...Man, if that ain't the way to fish....it was the way they did it in the old country at least...And thus, it was swiss chesse! - - - George, The 7th Chicken!!!!

  • May 11, 2004, 3:03 a.m. CST

    How can some of you bastards call yourselves movie fans?

    by The Real McCoy

    I don't get it. Even before I'd seen a Jim Jarmusch film, I had at least heard of him. Geez, man. And I love Kid Joker's post telling the rest of us to get out of our mama's basement, blah blah,etc. Hey JACKASS - you're visiting a nerd movie webstite TOO so don't even bother trying to call us nerds because we like a filmaker you've never heard of. Although it may sound like an oxymoron, Jarmusch fans are like cool movie geeks. Y'know, like the Weezer kind of nerd.**** And I'm sure Hass is one of those stupid "movie fans" who thinks Johnny Depp's best performance was in Pirates of the Carribean. To Hass - Johnny Depp is an actor who existed before Pirates. A long time ago he did a really good movie called Dead Man directed by Jim Jarmusch. NOW GO WATCH IT YOU COCKSUCKER!!!!

  • May 11, 2004, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Spiritualized film

    by reni

    Jim what was the Spiritualized film I heard you wanted to make? (Ladies and Gentlemen We're Floating in Space... I think it was.)

  • May 11, 2004, 6:35 a.m. CST

    great interview. love the Jarmusch.

    by Mr Brownstone

    by the way I watched Beat Takeshi's Zatoichi remake last night and it was pretty great. Takeshi's films kinda remind me of Jarmusch's in a way.

  • May 11, 2004, 9:39 a.m. CST

    I honestly thought Jarmusch was dead.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Shows what I know. sk

  • May 11, 2004, 10:14 a.m. CST

    See you all in Geek Jail

    by JackDonkey

    I'll be there.

  • May 11, 2004, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Thank you Moriarty

    by Joe Don Baker

    I dig this site for all the studio scoop, but a Jim Jarmusch interview is way more rewarding. Keep supporting the people who work outside the system. They deserve the attention just as much.

  • May 11, 2004, 12:11 p.m. CST

    thanks for the interview

    by mansep

    interesting talkbacks.. i guess this separates the geek men from the geek boys, hehe

  • May 11, 2004, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Kid Joker...the joke is on thee

    by lostoptimist

    you pompous windbag. If you're a movie buff even in the slightest you should have at least HEARD of the name 'Jim Jarmusch', if not seen one of his films. And to call us nerds is like the pot calling the kettle black because, by coming here, you are obviously "One of us," to steal a line from another rather famous movie that you've probably never heard of, let alone seen. So stop with all the whiney self-loathing already. In time, who knows? Even you might learn to like yourself.

  • May 11, 2004, 1:51 p.m. CST

    FromBeyond...I don't know...

    by lostoptimist

    I mean, Jarmusch's DEAD MAN has Johnny Depp and John Hurt AND Robert Mitchum, GHOST DOG has Forest Whitaker, NIGHT ON EARTH has Winona Ryder and Gena Rowlands and a relatively famous soundtrack (which more people bought than saw the movie); these are all relatively known actors/actresses. His name and his movies get name checked in everything from

  • May 11, 2004, 2:53 p.m. CST

    FromBeyond, you're entertaining, you are

    by lostoptimist

    In the same way it's entertaining to lie in bed with a fever of a 102. But, anyway, we probably should've established what I thought a film buff is/was before I insinuated you were not one due to your lack of familiarity with one of the United States of America's greatest and most well-known Independent filmmakers. You see, "Film Buff" is sort of an old school term for an individual who loves movies, the history of film, and often finds cinema can be more than just entertainment but bonafide art as well. Somehow I don't think this definition applies to you.

  • May 11, 2004, 3:10 p.m. CST

    I saw Coffee & Cigarettes at the Toronto Film Festival last year

    by Garbageman33

    It was really good, although some segments work better than others. The one with Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina discovering they're long-lost cousins is great. So is the one with Bill Murray serving tea to RZA and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. And Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, well, how could that NOT be great? But the best part was the Q&A with Jim Jarmusch in which he talked about how he came up with all the different segments. He basically said he wanted to come up with things involving people who would seem to have nothing in common. In fact, he said he's still bummed out he didn't get to shoot the one featuring Joey Ramone and Howard Cossell. The weird part is, I think he was serious. Jarmusch is a true original and I think this is his most accessible movie. Hopefully, it will be well-received.

  • May 11, 2004, 4:13 p.m. CST

    I wasn't going to respond but...

    by Homer Sexual

    I love some of his movies. "Stranger than Paradise" is one of my all-time top 10 favorites. "Mystery Train," "Down By Law" and "Ghost Dog" are also good. Hated "Night on Earth." I find people who say "get out of mama's basement" or words to that effect are the most likely people to actually be in their mama's basement. Anyway, like him or not, anyone who claims to be a movie buff but hasn't heard of Jarmusch is not a movie buff, not at all.

  • May 11, 2004, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Kevin Smith would also be dissapointed in some of you so-called

    by The Real McCoy

    I completely forgot about this when I posted earlier but Kevin Smith thanked Jim Jarmusch in the credits of Clerks along with a couple of other WELL-KNOWN independent filmakers like Rodriguez. If I remember correctly, he thanked them for "paving the way". Jarmusch reminds me of The Pixies. The Pixies are really the godfathers of alternative music and hardly anyone has heard of them. Much in the same way Jarmusch is one of the godfathers of independent film and he just doesn't get enough respect.

  • May 11, 2004, 5:48 p.m. CST

    I can understand people not knowing all indie directors (Hal Har

    by Lenny Nero

    I'm not naming names, but some of you need to stop with the insults and seek out this on-and-off director. He's a vital asset to 80s cinema, to say the least.

  • May 11, 2004, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Ok, I can't take it it anymore.

    by Pontsing Barset

    Call me pedantic if you like, but how many more of you are going to type 'worse', while context indicates that what you mean/meant is/was 'worst'? Unbelievable.

  • May 11, 2004, 10:20 p.m. CST

    I haven't posted on this site in a damned good while

    by PumpyMcAss

    Mainly due to the fact that nothing worthwhile has been posted in quite some time. BUT this was a very good interview and surprisingly insightful. Jarmusch is someone who deserves our respect. He knows music and he knows wit. And he knows drug use. Those who are defending themselves for not knowing him just make me sad. Simply because you own a bunch of obscure anime porn and go to every shitty scifi or comic book movie released on opening night does not make you a movie buff. It makes you a nerd for sure but not a well-rounded nerd. You're like the dude who is gets A's in math but nothing else. Also, whoever said that the site needs to gain street cred by having big star interviews is a douchebag and hates movies.

  • May 12, 2004, 12:25 a.m. CST

    Good director, Good interview, Weak movie...

    by Electric Tsunami

    I saw this tonight and I could have used some coffee myself to get through this. Certainly feels like some of the dialogue was improvised only it also seems like the actors didn't really have much to say. There are some good segments and some good moments in some of the weak segments, and some segments that don't work at all. This isn't deadpan. If you are bored by Aki Karismaki or Beat Takeshi then you WILL be bored by this film. I can handle those directors and I was not excited by this film (although it didn't test my patience to force me to leave the theater like Masked And Anonymous did last year).

  • May 12, 2004, 4:06 p.m. CST

    FromBeyond - "I know plenty about movies, but I've never even HE

    by duanejones

    yes, it does. get to know him, after you've removed that underinformed chip off your shoulder...great interview, incidentally.

  • May 12, 2004, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Just for you flossy

    by Pontsing Barset

    pre

  • May 13, 2004, 8:01 p.m. CST

    The reason a lot of people haven't heard of Jarmusch is...

    by JimboLo

    ... as stated in the interview he has kept his own style and independant sensibilities. I met him once when he came to London to introduce Ghost Dog and asked him what he thought about people grabbing his directorial touches and sticking them in their own bloated efforts. He said he didn't mind it because audiences seemed to enjoy them. He knew who I was referring to though. It was of course the director who has "adopted" the non-chronolgoical structure. And the use of long takes. And the ghost of Elvis sketch. And the criminals hiding out from the law idea. And getting RZA to score a movie. And allowing characters to just hang out and talk pop culture: "that's how I feel about being here with you two fucking snowflakes. Lost. In. Space." And Steve Buscemi. And having a film based around a hotel. And having the black guy with an unexplained plaster on his neck. Jesus! Just change your fucking name to Quentin Jarmusch.