Jim Jarmusch is 67 today (two more years until the big one!) and to celebrate the life and times of one of our favorite directors, we’ve decided to hook you up with a watchlist. Featuring some of our favorite Jarmusch flicks, this is the perfect reminder to pour yourself a good cocktail and revisit some favorites or, if you’re new to his genre jumping bonkers flicks, consider this your tailor made introduction to the meticulous madness. Either way, you have plans with a David Lynch lookalike tonight.
If you’re a teenager: watch Stranger Than Paradise
Jarmusch’s first film (and one of our favorites) is a brooding, sprawling comedy about being bored. Stranger Than Paradise follows three young people as they sit silently and smoke cigarettes in various locations around the United States (an intoxicating combination of New York, Cleveland and Florida). I’d argue that no film has more accurately captured the all encompassing apathy of being young.
If you’re a *cool* teenager: watch Coffee and Cigarettes
This anthology is uneven to say the least, but it’s a delightful (and stupidly beautiful) look at the stimulants and addictions that stain our days. Featuring performances by Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, Jack White, Meg White, GZA, RZA and so many others, the casting is buckwild from top to bottom. Also, you might have to get creative when it comes to watching this. It was available to stream on some of the big services at one point, but it has disappeared into the ether. You remember those old tricks, right?
If you’re an Uber driver (or thinking of becoming an Uber driver): watch Night on Earth
Another anthology, Night on Earth is the perfect excuse to jam the hell out to some tunes by Tom Waits. The film follows the stories of five different cab drivers (including a baby Winona Ryder) working in the cities of New York, LA, Paris, Rome and Helsinki and their various hijinks. Surprise, surprise, things get weird.
If you have good taste in music: watch Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Speaking of music, this was the first score / soundtrack produced by RZA, which is a good enough reason to check this baby out. A weird mash up of mafia, hitman and samurai movies, nothing about Ghost Dog is conventional. Also, Forest Whitaker plays the Ghost Dog! Like Coffee and Cigarettes, you’re going to have to get creative if you want to watch this film.
If you’re well versed in vampire-centric fanfiction: watch Only Lovers Left Alive
If you’ve already made your way through Dracula, but you haven’t seen Only Lovers Left Alive, you’re messing up. Alternatively, if the last book you read was Twilight (or, let’s be real, Breaking Dawn), you’re in for a wild ride. Only Lovers Left Alive is half parts hot vampire story and half parts cool vampire story. There’s a steamy Tilda Swinton / Tom Hiddleston romance and a wild party murder! Everyone is so well dressed!
BONUS ROUND – If you hate yourself: watch The Dead Don’t Die
I have a theory that this is Jarmusch’s 95 thesis style takedown of ensemble casts, which makes this movie sound more interesting than it is. It’s bad, but if you want to see Iggy Pop as a zombie, here you go.