My dad mentioned it a while ago, and I watched and liked Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes not too long ago. Bill Murray plays himself in one of the funniest C&C segments.
The movie won last year’s Grand Prix (2nd to Palm d’Or) at Cannes. It seems like a midway between indie and mainstream, and it feels like Sideways since they both cover some kind of mid-life crisis. The rhythm isn’t as tight as Sideways, or I’m just too stupid to know what the director means. Bill Murray has come a long way from Caddyshack (a big letdown for me) and Ghostbusters. I like Groundhog Day, but his latest movies are all kind of odd ball. And when there are long shots of your expressionless face, you’d be better look not too bad compared to Greta Garbo, otherwise it bores the viewer down.
Although I like the subtleties and anti-climatic ending, there are some things that I don’t quite care about. First, Winston (not Carmen’s dead dog, please) is just too unreal, too much of a setup to drive the story and having words stuff in his mouth, e.g. “you’re like Don Juan or something”.
Second, the whole movie has a denigrative feeling towards women. Surely our Don Juan feels lonely and sad and lost now, but boy did he have fun and girls and money! And look at the women he went after, each one being in a worse state than the previous:
- Laura’s race car driver husband died in a crash, and she’s a professional closet organizer. Now that’s not a skeleton in a closet, that’s a real Sharon Stone in there! And her daughter Lolita seems more voluptuous than the other you-know-who Lolita?! Give me a break, that household seems too much like every man’s daydream.
- Dora the hippie goddess is now a real estate slut who lives in a box cutter home in suburban desert. Dora’s husband, Ron (Christopher McDonald), looks so right as a real estate dude. I don’t know if Jarmusch meant to spoof Buddy “The Real Estate King” in American Beauty (Peter Gallagher), but they sure do look alike. Or maybe all real estate dudes look alike.
- Carmen the lawyer is now a lesbian animal psychic with a hot assistant/partner. Her life isn’t bad at all, but from Don’s perspective, which is the perspective of a common man, Carmen is a double curse: first it’s a banal joke that he turned his girlfriend into a lesbian; then she took a hot girl away from the world of men. Maybe there’s yet a 3rd curse: she “communicates” with animals, which is so out of this men’s world of reason and logic.
- Penny lives in a dump with some bikers.
- Michelle Pepe died 5 years ago.
And at the end Sherry, played by the lovely Julie Delpy from White and Before Sunrise/Sunset, hints that she may be coming back. And Don probably could have had an affair with the sunny Sun Green if he wanted to. He doesn’t deserve any one of them! What is this movie, the confession and redemption of Don Juan? What did he do to redeem himself? What can he do? If Jarmusch is really indie at heart, why didn’t he reverse the sex of the roles?
Well, I guess Jarmusch is just being honest, and it’d be doubly bad if the movie were about a female Don Juan visiting her ex-es: men won’t like it, and women think it’s demonizing. It’s a sad world of men–I don’t mean it’s sad for men, but it’s men’s world, which is sad for women. Both Lola and Sun Green lit up when they mistook Don’s name for Don Johnson. Oh well.
BTW I just learned from Wikipedia that the kid in the car in the last scene is Bill Murray’s real life son. That’s sly.