's second feature-length film from 1984
, starring John Lurie
, Eszter Balint
, and Richard Edson
, and winner of the Camera D'Or
. It was an expansion of his short film The New World
. It was distributed by the Samuel Goldwyn Company
originally, and on September 5, 2000
, it'll be available on VHS
(for the first time in 12 years) and DVD
. So I guess I'll use this node to attempt to convince you to see this movie when you get the chance
. It's a strange and sparse
yet darkly hillarious
movie. Great movie, especially if you like Jarmusch, road movie
s, or Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Lurie is Willie, a slacker before his time living in New York. He gets all his money from card game hustles, he lives off of TV dinners and cheap beer, and when he talks to his Hungarian aunt, he can't stand to listen to her talk in her native language. She gives him news that his sixteen-year old cousin Eva (Balint) is coming to stay for a few days, and naturally he's appalled. When she comes over, he attempts to tell her that she can't stay, but she shrugs at it nonchalantly.
Over the next ten of days Eva learns some of Willie's cultural signposts and practices, including TV dinners, cheap beer, half-remembered jokes, and vacuuming (or as Willie calls it "choking the alligator"). Willie learns of Eva's love for "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and he doesn't even bother to accept it. During the week he also introduces Eva to his friend Eddie, who ends up rather charmed by her.
At the end of her stay at his apartment, Willie gets along with Eva so well, he buys her a dress that she hates but wears anyway. On her way out of town, she throws the dress in the trash. Eddie sees her, and her only response is "That dress bugged me."
A year later, Willie and Eddie are running a poker scam (on Rockets Redglare of all people!), and they decide to use their newly-won $600 to go to Cleveland, where their Aunt Lotte (Cecillia Stark) and now Eva live. When they get there, they end up just as bored as they were back in New York, playing cards with Lotte (and losing), tagging along on Eva's movie date, and watching TV.
After a week, they head back, but on the way they decide that they'd rather go to Florida, and also take Eva with them. So they go back to Cleveland, take Eva away with her mother insulting and cursing like all get-out, and head for Florida. Eva's so happy...she plays Screamin' Jay again. And Willie hates it, but Eddie digs it. "It's Screamin' Jay Hawkins and he's a wild man, so bug off!" is what ends the argument in Eva's favor.
They go to a motel in Florida, have to sneak Eva in to lower the room rates, and go to the dog tracks instead of to the beach like they promised Eva the night before. Eva ends up stuck in the room all day and the guys end up losing all their money. They go to the beach afterwards and Willie is too upset to enjoy it at all.
When Eva wakes up the next morning, Willie and Eddie are gone. She takes a walk outside, buys a flamboyant hat, and gets mistaken as the pickup man for a drug dealer. When she goes back to the room Willie and Eddie are still gone so she leaves some of the money and a note in the hotel room and goes to the airport to try to get a flight to Budapest, Hungary. The guys finally come back with more money than what they lost the previous day, and find Eva gone, they also find the money and the note. Willie panics and goes to the airport to chase Eva down. He ends up on the plane over to Budapest, while Eva decides not to take the only flight and wait back in the hotel room.