Many years ago I happened on Stranger Than Paradise at a college film festival. My first-ever Jim Jarmusch movie and still my favorite. Willie (John Lurie), living in low-rent New York, is compelled by his family to provide accommodations to his young cousin Eva (Estzer Belint), fresh off the boat from Hungary. Perhaps the simple filming brings better focus on the characters to make this movie so genuine and funny.
Spaced is one of the tightest British sitcoms I’ve ever seen. There isn’t a wasted moment throughout, and every moment is funny. Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson wrote the series and play the lead characters. It is so easy to see our own foibles in the characters yet love them. An intriguing special feature is the “cultural references” subtitles. Simon Pegg proves what a geek he really is.
- Stranger Than Paradise (USA/West Germany) 1984, Criterion Collection. List price: $39.95
- Spaced (England) 2008, BBC Worldwide. List price: $59.98
— Robert Penny, Physicist