The third feature-length film by Jim Jarmusch
. It stars John Lurie
, Tom Waits
, Roberto Benigni
, Ellen Barkin
, and Nicoletta Braschi
. Filmed in 1985
, and released in 1986
by Island Flims
, which folded into Polygram Filmed Entertainment
, and now the movie is part of the MGM Pictures
catalog. So as far as VHS
goes, it's out of print
, and a DVD
hasn't been released yet, but we'll probably see them released
within the first half
of next year
The story, at least at the onset, follows two guys in New Orleans, both too apathetic in their respective bad situations. First there's Waits as Zack, a good DJ woo keeps getting fired because he won't "jerk a few people off". Barkin plays his girlfriend, who's sick of the pattern he's going through, and decideds to throw all of his possessions out of the window. He doesn't care until she goes for the shoes. He gives them up after a struggle and gets them back off the street on his way out.
Then there's Lurie as Jack, a bad small-time pimp that is so enamored with being a big-time pimp that he can't even do a good job with what he has. One of his prostitutes berates and insults him, but he's just oblivious to everything she says.
Both Zack and Jack come into cons disguised as good fortune. Both are set up, both get arrested, and both end up in the same cell. They argue with each other at first. That turns to ignoring each other. And from there they decide to talk about dreams and such, which gives Waits an opportunity to do try out for the Mystery Train DJ role. They get mad at each other, and give each other the silent treatment again.
Bob(Benigni), a struggling comedian from Italy, comes into the picture at that point. He speaks english stolen from hard-boiled crime movies, mixes Zack and Jack's names up, has a conversation with himself about Walt Whitman, and leads the prisoners in a mass chant for ice cream. All this loosens Zack and Jack up again, even though it's mostly fun at Bob's expense. At least until he finds an escape route, which leads them into the Louisiana bayou.
They wander through the woods, what seems like forever. They find a cabin that happens to be a replica of their cell. One night they Zack and Jack decide to split up, leaving Bob alone. Bob catches and manages to cook a rabbit while reminiscing about the way his mother cooked rabbits. Zack and Jack eventually walk their way in circles back to Bob, and they all eat.
Eventually they come upon a road, and a nearby restaurant called Luigi's Tin Roof. Zack and Jack send Bob in to scout out the place, and after a few hours, Bob hasn't returned. The sneak up on the place and see Bob being served dinner by a woman, Nicoletta (Nicoletta Braschi). So Zack and Jack are welcomed in, introductions are made,
and Bob informs his former cellmates that he's going to stay with Nicoletta forever. They get a good night's sleep, breakfast, and a change of clothes left to Nicoletta by her dead uncle. And Zack and Jack depart, saying their goodbyes to Bob and Nicoletta. Then they come upon a crossroad, where they exchange jackets and take different paths.
A couple of notes about the music: