I endorse this statement. Of Jarmusch’s output, the only others I’ve seen are Mystery Train and Dead Man and while I don’t much care for them, the former two films I just love. For me both films have a hilarious tension built into their slender and very similar plots: both feature two self-consciously hip characters (who are clearly complete losers) having unplanned encounters with an outsider who ends up gradually pulling the other two out of their own asses, whether they want it or not, and yet still end up punished for their sour view of life; effectively for not recognizing that “it is a sad and beautiful world” indeed.
I can certainly understand if this is not for everyone. Jarmusch has a very specific way of setting up and playing out scenes, and seems totally disinterested in the busy repetoire of variations in camera placement and fast edits that most current directors use to move the story along. The beauty I find in his films is in the simple yet sophisticated staging (heightened in the films under discussion by the abstract monochrome images) and the breaking up of each sequence from the others via abrupt transitions that give each scene the tone of a sort of filmic Haiku. OK, that’s a bit pretentious.
How about this: I think Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law are great comedies for the way both mine humor from ordinary dialogue, and for being an almost endless series of sight gags that are often subtle but are clearly there for those willing to look. Just a couple of examples from Down by Law: Lurie and Waits’ reactions when Begnini announces why he’s in jail with them, and the reactions of all three after their escape, when they realize how closely their newfound hideout resembles the place they were escaping from.
But yeah, no one HAS to like a particular film, or director. If Jarmusch isn’t your cup of Joe, don’t worry about it.