"Broken Flowers" --> Pepless and Glum Don Johnston (Bill Murray Checkmark) drives around The County (Rockland) and Westchester (Shelbyville) and environs to old flames' to see who he fathered Mystery Kid with.
"Godzilla: Final Wars" --> Aliens responsible for seeding earth with monsters (not Zilla but his foes) arrive to harvest their human cattle for eating - Human Mutant Posse Fight Aliens and Loose Zilla from South Pole Grave to Take on all sorts of Monsters and Save Civilization.
Half the fun of Jarmusch is checking out the places he wants to put on film - Usually not highly filmed places. No different here (Non-standard-movie-shorthand-version-of-Suburbia) but it was odd to look at since I knew very well a lot of the roads and Parkway/Highway he filmed on. The best Jarmusch Shot comes at the start of the movie during the slow (Jarmusch-Pan) roll from the neighbors' lawn busy with kids, toys, and running over to the pale silence of Juanston's Lawn and home. (There is variability in the suburbs -> Too long 'Suburbs' has been a crass Codeword for conformity and uniformity, like it is implicitly this great neutralizer of the spirit of those dull and stupid enough to live there. There is nice work here to undermine that...I think.]
I couldnt tell if it was shot to a) look dull to highlight the strong characters b)was dull because it was so familiar or C) was unintentionally dull looking.
The fortunate result it that the landscape and houses and roads kinda blend into each other and dont become a Jarmusch Site. They arent being slighted or glamorized. They are just there. Like Murray is much of the time - Only with us laughing at him while his hosts do seemingly odd and funny things -> Laugh affectionately, not ironically. Most of the people we meet are complex and likeable. Remarkable and dull at the same time. Like most human beings.
This movie is more affectionate towards people than any of his others. I really liked the husband of the nervous, former-hippy wife. Liked as in liked him as a person. Are we supposed to laugh AT him? I hope not. I hope we are supposed to feel warm about how genuine and understanding he was. But to laugh at what a 'conventional square of a suburbanite in real estate' he is is to get it wrong. Murray's sitting their nervous and stunned could translate/cue audience to think "wow, this is too much. what a situation. these guys are squares." but that's wrong i hope. It's hard to be sure since Murray is so good at being uncomfortable. It's a fault of the direction that we don't know what Johnston thinks. To say we are supposed to decide OURSELVES would be generous.
It was totally touching that the biker guy in the house off the road (build-your-associations-and-be-wrong formulaica) is angry and HURT that Johnston has upset his wife. But the laughter at the payoff/punch-out gets in the way of this.
Maybe this is a Content Over Form movie? Take away the trappings and assumptions (and Murray mannerisms) and just think about what is said and happens. Like a soap opera?
Unresolved: It's either absurd or awesome or both that we are supposed to believe that Julie Delpy was currently involved with the Ghostly Johnston.
Note: tried forgetting it was Bill Murray while watching. impossible.
Note: take away the soundtrack and the movie'd be dark as hell. AND a better movie.
Note: Laughing aint always listening.
Note: I laughed a lot.
Godzilla. 10 Monsters. Doing Battle. Good affects. Propulsive soundtrack. Most of Alls: Badass Armadillo and The Ineffectual Swamp Monster. Homage to The Micro-Sets of Destructed Cities. Bring King-Size Junior Mints.
Note: Do not ever, ever count out Mothra