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Broken Flowers
DVD disk
Feb 2, 2006 By: Jason Adams
Broken Flowers order
Director:
Jim Jarmusch

Actors:
Bill Murray
Jeffrey Wright
Sharon Stone

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After receiving an anonymous letter in the mail informing him that he has a grown son, an aging “Don Juan” visits a few of his old flames to find out the truth.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I hear some people complain that Bill Murray keeps playing the same role lately—the humorously depressed father/actor/undersea explorer—and the only cliché I can exploit is: Don’t fix what isn’t broken. (Would you rather he go back to the days of LARGER THAN LIFE, or even [gasp] GARFIELD?) Mr. Murray has simply found a filmic niche that he’s surprisingly good at, and in BROKEN FLOWERS, he’s at his best in years. While the film is quite funny, his performance is different and more subtle than any Wes Anderson movie. His Don Johnston is despondent, bitter and unconsciously uncomfortable in his life, but Murray never goes for laughs or the obvious deadpan humor. Any comedy comes from the unfamiliar situations he finds himself in, forcing Murray to carry the film with actual dramatic acting, which he does remarkably.

While his character is the anchor of BROKEN FLOWERS, the stellar supporting cast really fleshes it out into something special. His buffet of former girlfriends includes strong actresses like Julie Delpy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton and even a non-horrific Sharon Stone. Each of Don’s encounters with these women from his past is equally unique and memorable (one is an “animal communicator,” another has Lolita for a daughter), and even though they only have bit parts, you get a real sense of history and experience from every awkward interaction. I also gotta give props to Jeffrey Wright for his role as Murray’s neighbor Winston, who made me laugh out loud more than once. (“You must find out which of your women you impregnated with your semen 20 years ago!”)

This is definitely indie veteran Jim Jarmusch’s most “mainstream” and accessible film to date, but that’s not to say it’s a movie for everyone. It still has some arthouse sensibilities to it—taking its time with characters and lingering methodically on its message of finding direction in your life. There’s also plenty of understated depth that’s left for the audience to pick up and interpret...so if you’re more of a casual moviegoer this might not be your cup of tea. Just promise me you won’t avoid BROKEN FLOWERS because you think you’ve seen this particular Bill Murray movie already. (You haven’t.)
THE EXTRAS
For such a profound movie with so much possible interpretation, I’m truly disappointed with this lightweight DVD treatment.

Girls on the Bus: An extended take of the bus scene featuring two preteen girls who like to talk like preteen girls i.e. very annoyingly. C’mon, at least give us a bonus feature that has Bill Murray in it!

Broken Flowers: Start to Finish: A hilarious outtake reel that covers the whole movie and lets Murray’s comedic side shine through.

Farmhouse: A very unique five-minute behind-the-scenes piece from the farmhouse scene—unique because it’s shot in grainy black-and-white with director Jim Jarmusch narrating everything. Jarmusch’s take on the film seems really interesting, as far as what he wants the audience to take away from it. I wish he would’ve done a commentary track so we could’ve heard more.

There’s also the Theatrical Trailer and a preview of the film’s Soundtrack (which I’m going to the store to buy right now).
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A great movie that gets shoddy DVD treatment. (Criterion, please give this one the works!) If you haven’t seen BROKEN FLOWERS, and you’re a fan of Bill Murray’s, I’d definitely give it a try. You don’t even have to be a snobby, artsy cinephile to enjoy it.
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