movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Another movie selected via our quest to see every Johnny Depp movie that doesn’t sound intolerable.

PEOPLE: Directed by Jim Jarmusch (who directed such terrible movies as Coffee And Cigarettes). And featuring Johnny Depp (of course), Crispin Glover, and Iggy Pop, among others.

QUIRKS: Oh crap – It’s in black and white! Noooooooooooooooooooo. I’ve still only really liked that in Clerks. It’s a major detriment to see things as someone biologically crippled would. I’m not a dog; I’m a human being. Give me color.

GOOD STUFF: The beginning half of the movie was quite interesting. People’s behavior in the opening train sequence, combined with the black and white, really made me feel like there was a David Lynch influence. And the running “do you have any tobacco?” gag was amusing. Having a main character named “Nobody” was brilliant. The characters were quite unique, and quite good. “Nobody”‘s interactions with Johnny Depp provide ample comic relief, and bring out many laughs. Johnny Depp‘s reactions to “Nobody” were similarly entertaining.

BAD STUFF: The second half of the movie. While it held our interest, it has the same pointless, fey feel that No Country For Old Men had — you can’t outrun fate, blah blah. That’s fine and dandy, but preach a lesson I believe in and you’ll get more brownie points from me. I don’t believe in fate; I believe in free will. I find “you can’t escape fate” movies to be a bit cliche and trite. It’s been done to death. If anything, this movie’s existence almost makes me like No Country For Old Men even less, as it’s clear that it’s been done before (albeit Dead Man has far less graphic violence).

This movie was also supposed to be a preparation for entry into a “spiritual journey”, so I was expecting something perhaps a bit more psychedelic and interesting. Colors. Visuals. Some kind of revelation. But no, there was none of that. Stuff happens, and then it is over. The lesson is nothing I haven’t heard before. That’s not necessarily bad, but I was hoping for more from this movie.

CONCLUSION: Excellent characters, each and every one of them. From the mild-mannered accountant forced to become a murderer, to the strange Indian who turns out to be English-educated, to the pack of bounty hunters, whose cold, remorseless leader reminds me of the antagonist from No Country For Old Men. Interesting plot. But the final substance of the movie left me wanting. I sort of wish I hadn’t bothered to see it, but I’m also glad I got it out of the way. There are far better movies out there. This gets “just below a generic pass” from me; 3 stars on Netflix, and 6 on IMDB. I say “just below” because if IMDB allowed decimal points, I would actually only give this about a 5.5 to 5.75. Anyway, based on the god awful movie Coffee And Cigarettes, I should have known to have lower expectations!

RECOMMENDATION: A must for Johnny Depp fans. If you like No Country For Old Men, you should see this too. If you have a fondness for black and white westerns — especially those shot in modern times — then you might want to see this as well. But if you want action, psychedelic spirituality, or fast pacing — then this movie is not for you.

MOVIE QUOTE: Nobody: “The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow.”

COINCIDENCES: Just a few weeks after seeing this movie, we went to X-Day, and they played it during the night-time “drive-in” movie (outdoor amphitheater). Carolyn & I got the most trashed we’ve collectively been in awhile, stumbled over, laid in the wet grass (Carolyn’s face down, semi-conscious), watched it for 10 minutes, smoked a cigarette, and left. We don’t remember making it back to the tent. Carolyn was bruised for a week afterwards from rolling around in the grass with me. What a night!

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Chris H/Lisa loved it. Benj & Ian really liked it. Glen didn’t like it, and this is closer to agreeing with Glen than I usually am.

Mood: somewhat annoyed
Music: Freezepop – Parlez-Vous Freezepop?