It’s as if director Jim Jarmusch heard about the year that I just survived and somehow decided to bless me, so he studied the movies that have given me particular blessings in the past, and then he went and made a movie that makes make me laugh and cry and fill up with hope and blaze like a match with the remembrance of who I am and what I love.


With this, I realize that Jarmusch just might have quietly, sometime in the night, slipped into my “Favorite American Filmmaker” spot. He has become more reliable, more enjoyable, more unpredictable than anybody else I can name.


One night, I was re-reading A Wrinkle in Time, and Mrs. Whatsit explains to Meg Murry that there are not three but four — yes, even five, dimensions! The next night, I saw Paterson, in which Paterson ponders the very same thing. So… hmm.


Paterson and Laura — played so beautifully by Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani — may be my favorite movie couple. Ever.



This is the anti-Groundhog Day.

What if you woke up every morning, checked your clock, rose, and realized, “Hey… it’s another new day!” And then, like a poet playfully imagining variations within the structure of an established form, you savored the freedoms and surprises that structures make possible.


There’s a lovely scene at the end that seems like a wink to those who love Jarmusch’s late-80s classic, Down By Law. If you’ve seen it, maybe you remember the moment when Tom Waits is sitting dejectedly on a doorstep and a foreigner walks up out of nowhere and starts trying to connect with him in very uncertain English. It worked beautifully there. It works beautifully here as well.



The film I thought about most during Paterson was The Straight Story, and that’s a good thing. It seems to occupy the same space in Jarmusch’s catalogue that The Straight Story does in David Lynch’s.


SQÜRL is painting with some different colors these days. They almost sound content.


I’m still mad that two of the “special guests” on Paterson’s bus show up in this movie’s trailer. I saw the trailer before I saw the movie, and it spoiled for me what would have been, if I’d discovered them while watching Paterson for the first time, one of the happiest surprises of my moviegoing life. (If you see the movie and you don’t recognize them, well… email me.)


With Only Lovers Left Alive and this film, Jarmusch is really enjoying the composition of an aerial shot of a person lying down, limbs splayed, in the context of their everyday mess.



This is free verse cinema with some wonderful internal rhyming.


I saw this during its first regular-run screening late on a Thursday night in downtown Seattle with about fifteen other people who were the perfect audience — the sort that all hesitantly laugh at all the right things, but uncertainly, as if to say, “Is it just me, or was that really funny?” and then others start to laugh too, and we all realize that we have a similar sense of humor, and pretty soon we’re all laughing at all the little things, just happy to be in the company of people who “get it.”


Man, 2017 — my first two trips to the cinema this year have been deeply satisfying. Let’s go three for three, okay?

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