November 20th, 2002

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Down By Law

God what a brilliant movie. Down By Law does for seedy New Orleans what Fargo did for, well, Fargo. That is, there ain't no more verisimilitudinously captured mood-piece about the decay of southern Louisiana than Down By Law, just as the plot of Fargo is secondary to the enivonment of Fargo itself. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Down By Law is that Jarmusch reportedly wrote the script before ever having been here.

I haven't seen that movie in years. The DVD arrived yesterday and I noted something I didn't see when ordering it. It's part of the freakin' Criterion Collection! There's a company I should like to be affiliated with in some way. Their choices of products, namely of the "classic underground/independent" variety, are unerringly perfect, yet not limited to any one type of film. (What do 8 1/2, Brazil, Picnic At Hanging Rock and Sid & Nancy have in common? Besides being übercool flicks? And yet there is a sense of thematic logic in that list.)

But beyond well-chosen films, they treat each of their projects with kid-glove respect and high production value, both in the quality of their remastering ("Picnic..." looks like it was filmed yesterday), and the tons o' extra crap they somehow manage to procure.

The Criterion DVD of Sid & Nancy contains one of the best commentary tracks I have yet heard, not to mention a slew of rare accompanying footage germaine to the subject matter. And Brazil is three bloody DVD's long for all its treatments and deconstructions.

Down By Law similarly boasts commentaries, interviews, phone calls, outtakes and all sortsa goodies on the 2-disc set. BONUS!

I'm sorry about the unseemly happy-rant, but in our current artistic McClimate, reverent integrity always gives me wood.