As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
The resolutely single Don Johnston has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry. Don resigns himself to being alone yet again and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this "mystery" by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston, an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames. Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present.Written by
Bill Murray agreed to do the film on the condition that he would not have to travel more than an hour from his home in Hudson Valley, New York. Jim Jarmusch agreed and all scenes were filmed in either New York or northern New Jersey. See more »
While they're having dinner, Johnston spears several carrots on his fork, nudging one off the edge of the plate and onto the table. In the next shot, it's gone. See more »
I pretty much have all my stuff.
[picks up mail]
Looks like you got a love letter from one of your other girlfriends.
See more »
Unusually, bit part players with no spoken lines in this movie are listed in the credits. Normally only speaking parts are listed. See more »
I never saw this movie when it came to the theater. Later on, when it arrived on video, the clerks at the local store rolled their eyes and told stories of renters returning it and complaining that it wasn't funny and was boring. So I didn't rent it, being the mindless lemming that would listen to a video store clerk.
Then I stumbled across it on one of the TV movie channels and sat down and watched it. Perhaps it was the lack of any expectations on my part, but I found this movie fascinating. Bill Murray has cornered the market on middle aged male guilt and regret. Between this film, Lost in Translation and the Life Aquatic he presents us with a very real sense of what it means to be in your mid fifties and contemplating all that has been missed while pursuing something else.
The movie moves slowly, at a measured pace, but it has to, because that is how the story unfolds, with the protagonist moving down the road of his past reluctantly, and with trepidation and rightly so, because he has left skeletons behind. Many of them, it would appear.
Bill Murray was always my favorite SNL guy and he never disappoints, always taking whatever role he is given and doing it well, and doing it as only Bill Murray can. David Spade and Chevy Chase, eat your hearts out. Actually, just retire. But I digress.
The supporting cast deserves kudos as well. For once, I liked Sharon Stone in a movie. Francis Conroy does her Six Feet Under persona but manages to spin it a little differently, and Jessice Lange is mesmerizing as always. And Jeffrey Wright, as Winston is a perfect foil for the perpetually deadpan Murray.
But in fairness, I suspect that you have to be middle aged and male to really love this movie and all of its wisdom.
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