Paterson (2016)

Viewed January 1st

In this easygoing Jim Jarmusch film, Adam Driver plays Paterson, the bus driving poet of Paterson, NJ. 

The expert editing of the bus driving montages captures the rhythmic dailyness of life, both artistic and domestic. There's a pleasant, albeit shopworn wisdom here and it can be hypnotic to let Jarmusch's cinematic craft wrap around you. There might be some more obscure, forty-five minute version of Paterson that never gets off the bus and we could call it a day. However, it does get off the bus and those scenes with Paterson's girlfriend and various other recurring characters never (in contrast to, say, the filmmaker's Stranger than Paradise) transcend their banality or remind you of the type of personal, plainly spoken Frank O'Hara poems the film celebrates (a tall order to be sure, but one the films begs its viewers to consider). Ultimately, the film leaves us with these pleasant bus scenes and a sort of embarrassingly sensitive white male fantasy about being creative and moral and "zen".