Paterson

There are lots of reasons I am not a bus driver. I don’t even like driving my own self to work, first of all. No aptitude for it of course. And then there’s my habit of being monumentally distracted. Now, this is only sometimes a problem in my own driving – I occasionally sail by an offramp or I miss a turn. I’m paying attention for hazards but I daydream and revert to habits too often in navigation. This means I’ve often driven Matt back to my house instead of dropping him off at his.

paterson_03Paterson (Adam Driver) is a conscientious bus driver. He doesn’t even loathe his passengers, which I find hard to believe. He’s not exactly immune to daydreaming; he writes poetry, thinks it up while driving, writes it down on his breaks in his secret notebook. My first impression was that he isn’t much of a poet – writing words in an uneven column does not a poet make. But he chews on them, refines them, until they start to sound like true beauty.

And he’s a sensitive soul too. He loves his wife, tenderly. He cares for others. He’s not even awkward around kids. And if he tackles a guy to the ground, he also helps him up. I’ve had a real problem with Adam Driver ever since I knew there was a guy named Adam Driver. He played a douchebag on Girls, and I vicariously hated him on Hannah’s behalf. Then I went to Chicago and saw his big ugly mug all over the Gap ads down Magnificent Mile. Ugh. My opinion did not approve through Inside Llewyn Davis, or While We’re Young, or This Is Where I Leave You, or The Force Awakens, or Midnight Special, or Silence. Safe to say I just don’t like the guy. OR DO I? Jim Jarmusch, you salty dog, you may have just melted my Eskimo ice cream heart.

[Sorry, I had to use it. I just learned that Eskimo ice cream, or Akutaq, is whipped fat with paterson_06berries, the fat being anything from whitefish, or reindeer tallow, or moose, or walrus, or cariboo, plus sugar, milk, and Crisco.]

Paterson is a quiet movie, contemplative. It’s not for you if you need things to “happen.” But this movie works at face value and as metaphor. It’s zen. It’s one week in the life of a guy who wakes up without an alarm, kisses his wife’s bare shoulder, eats a bowl of cereal, goes to work, comes home, walks his dog, drinks a beer, goes to bed, repeat. But it’s finding the beauty in the little details in between that ignite this film. Jarmusch hums the poetry of the everyday. Adam Driver and his co-lead Golshifteh Farahani (as his wife, Laura) have terrific creative chemistry. Their relationship envelops each other’s quirky habits and their artistic foibles. There is much to admire here. I will even reframe my Adam Driver opinion if necessary. Paterson is cool beans.

 

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36 thoughts on “Paterson

  1. Often Off Topic

    Ahh I’m glad Paterson won you over! I’m biased because I LOVE Adam Driver, but he’s been very good at playing a douchebag in some of his roles! I can’t wait to see this movie again πŸ™‚

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    1. Jay Post author

      I passed on seeing it at TIFF and have had to wait a long time to see it here! I was leery at first but got into it within a few minutes.

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      1. Often Off Topic

        It’s definitely a hard one to sell to non-movie buffs! The UK is having to wait so long for the Oscar movies but we got Paterson ridiculously early, so swings and roundabouts I guess πŸ™‚

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      1. kmSalvatore

        Hahaha.. oh yeah I learned slit myself.. like.. which kid wasn’t a virgin any more , and in the city , which corners to buy drugs … and of course it’s where I learned to take my iPhone photography to the next level πŸ™‚ yep it’s not a job fir everyone .

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  2. Christopher

    Funny enough most bus drivers I’ve talked to don’t loathe their passengers. If anything I’d say far too many enjoy talking to people, which sometimes results in them being monumentally distracted.
    More generally though you’ve got me thinking about modes of transport as a running theme in Jarmusch films. Paterson focuses on a bus driver, Night On Earth follows a series of taxi drivers, Dead Man opens with a long train trip, and in Ghost Dog there’s a man who’s built a boat on the roof of an apartment building.

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    1. Jay Post author

      That’s true, I guess he does have an attractions for transportation!
      And yes, I’m sure bus drivers are much better human beings than I am – I just know that I would loathe them. I would growl if anyone tried to get on!

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  3. Liz A.

    Even actors we hate sometimes get a good role. And a good movie. If this keeps up, then you can change your opinion. (As for me, I don’t have an opinion about Adam Driver.)

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, and to be fair I’ve never felt he was a bad actor exactly, just that I couldn’t really shake off the skeevy feeling, and none of his characters really encouraged me to do so.

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  4. Jane Lurie

    I loved this movie. I am not in your camp about Adam Driver, but he is not your typical leading actor. I thought the magic was in the poetry describing his everyday observations. The cinematography was beautiful, the small scenes were also like poems. This film worked for me. πŸ™‚

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  5. William

    Great review!
    I it missed here, it was a Aussie film fest and only played a few days but maybe it will come back or I’ve see it on the small screen later.
    I don’t know the actor at all so thanks for filling me in who the hell he is. I’m a fan of jim jarmusch and this sound like he back at his best after a very disappointing last movie!
    BTW I’m you’re 50th like for this post for you! I’ve got to ask how do you do that? I get a couple maybe a few on a popular post, maybe I guess movies are so you know, viewable and I’ve learned I write about music a lot people have never heard of!
    Anyway I like your blog and I never say but you seem to not mind a reply or so too!
    πŸ™‚

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    1. Jay Post author

      I think this might be my fave Jarmusch now.

      Glad you took the time to comment today. You’re right, we do love it!
      I still havent’ found out yet myself what makes a post popular, but I do try really hard to visit all the people who visit us, leave comments for the people who left us comments, and see what other people are writing about so we can be part of the community.

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      1. William

        Wow! Fave out of everything, now that’s a big call but I wouldn’t doubt it because he’s made some great movies so why not now? I’ll have to go if I see it on around here again.
        Yeah, I did think it kind-of work like that but I guess some people aren’t talky and I’ve not be really blogging that long too. Cheers!

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  6. Khalid Rafi

    Such a wonderful film. I loved every minute. Especially loved how it finds beauty in the smallest details. Monumental performance by Adam Driver, and easily some of Jarmusch’s best work ever.

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