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Great Scenes – DOWN BY LAW

Jim Jarmusch‘s hip art-house classic, 1986’s Down by Law features brilliant cinematography and an incredible cast – including a young Ellen Barkin, lounge lizard John Lurie, then-unknown-yet-super talented-Italian comedian Roberto Benigni, and cult icon and iconoclast Tom Waits, whose song Jockey Full of Bourbon kicks things off brilliantly. Cinéma vérité never sounded so good, and there’s an incredible poetry in the nuanced performances as our female characters wake alone in the company of their male counterparts, everyone barely in motion as the world whips by around them. Immediately we’re transported, not only to the back alleys of Louisiana but also to the existential landscape traveled by the film’s lovable losers. Feel free to sing along:

Edna Million in a drop dead suit
Dutch Pink on a downtown train
Two dollar pistol but the gun won’t shoot
I’m in the corner on the pouring rain
16 men on a deadman’s chest
And I’ve been drinking from a broken cup
2 pairs of pants and a mohair vest
I’m full of bourbon; I can’t stand up.

Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire; your children all alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on the fire; your children all alone

Schiffer broke a bottle on Morgan’s head
And I’ve been stepping on the devil’s tail
Across the stripes of a full moon’s head
And through the bars of a Cuban jail
Bloody fingers on a purple knife
Flamingo drinking from a cocktail glass
I’m on the lawn with someone else’s wife
Admire the view from up on top of the mast

Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire; your children all alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire; your children all alone

Yellow sheets on a Hong Kong bed
Stazybo horn and a Slingerland ride
To the carnival is what she said
A hundred dollars makes it dark inside

Edna Million in a drop dead suit
Dutch Pink on a downtown train
Two dollar pistol but the gun won’t shoot
I’m in the corner on the pouring rain

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May 6, 2011   No Comments

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