Best Movies by Farr
Stranger Than Paradise Poster
Released Runtime Category
1984 89 Drama, Comedy
Director Language
Jim Jarmusch English
John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Tom DiCillo, Cecillia Stark, Danny Rosen

Stranger Than Paradise

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What's it About

Willie (Lurie) is not exactly thrilled that his sixteen-year old cousin Eva (Balint) is coming to visit from Budapest, Hungary. She spends ten days hanging out with him and his friend Eddie (Edson) in his shabby New York City apartment before she leaves for Cleveland to live with their aunt Lotte (Stark). One year later, Willie and Eddie take a road trip to visit her. Unimpressed with the harsh Ohio winter, they all decide to drive down to sunny Florida, which they seem to view as a mystical paradise. There, they hang out in a shabby hotel room, betting on the races until their luck changes.

Why we love it

Jarmusch’s second feature is a triumph of minimalist style and deadpan comedy. A super low budget dictated long, master shots edited together with “fades to black” separating the scenes. The effect is an unhurried realism, with the style reflecting the laconic nature of the protagonists. The locations vary but are always seedy, depressing markers of mood. Cinematographer Tom DiCillo (who also has a funny cameo) keeps the camera static while the characters enter or leave the frame. Lurie and Edson play off one another like an old-fashioned comedy duo, with Balint the plainspoken Lamour to their Crosby and Hope. Winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes, “Paradise” is one of the all-time great indie films made in this country.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"