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 Post subject: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 pm
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Fishing With John

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John Lurie knows absolutely nothing about fishing, but that doesn’t stop him from undertaking the adventure of a lifetime in Fishing with John. Traveling with his special guests to the most exotic and dangerous places on earth, John Lurie battles sharks with Jim Jarmusch off the tip of Long Island, goes ice fishing with Willem Dafoe at Maine’s northernmost point, braves the Costa Rican jungle with Matt Dillon, takes Tom Waits to Jamaica, and searches for the elusive giant squid with Dennis Hopper in Thailand.

Disc Features

- All six complete episodes
- Commentary by writer/director/musician John Lurie
- Big Heart music video by John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Criterionforum.org user rating averages



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:33 pm 
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Tow Waits, listing his 20 favourite albums for The Observer, can't resist a sideswipe at John's fishing exploits:

Quote:
7 Lounge Lizards by Lounge Lizards (EG) 1980

They used to accuse John Lurie of doing fake jazz - a lot of posture, a lot of volume. When I first heard it, it was so loud, I wanted to go outside and listen through the door, and it was jazz. And that was an unusual thing, in New York, to go to a club and hear jazz that loud, at the same volume people were listening to punk rock. Get the first record, The Lounge Lizards. You know, John's one of those people, if you walk into a field with him, he'll pick up an old pipe and start to play it, and get a really good sound out of it. He's very musical, works with the best musicians, but never go fishing with him. He's a great arranger and composer with an odd sense of humour.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:21 pm 
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What was the genesis of this show? Is it really, as the essayist wrote, a way to write off travels? Where and when did the show air? Are we really to believe that there is no "acting" involved, that these performers are allowing their real selves to show though and not portraying the "performer" image that has been cultivated over the years? And was there really zero scripting involved. as in are these quys as witty as they appear onscreen? In other words, is what is shown as close to "real life adventures" as anyone can come, whether be well-known performers or not?

I was reminded of this series while watching Willem Dafoe in Paul Schrader's Auto Focus yesterday. Something about the, as the essayist wrote, "the homoerotic element of male friendships" that Dafoe and Jarmusch talk of and display in their "normal" personas that seemed to cross over to Dafoe's character John Carpenter and his relationship with Greg Kinnear's Bob Crane. Again, this made me question how "true" Fishing with John is versus how much of it was performed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:04 pm 
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From Lurie's commentary, it seems that the 'storylines' for most of the episodes were invented in the editing suite (e.g. the 'Search for the Giant Squid' didn't even exist as a crazy conceit while John and Dennis were filming in Thailand), so I'm prepared to believe that the shooting consisted of random weird shit, mostly improvised (and the occasional bit of fishing).

In which case, "zero scripting" isn't really accurate, but what scripting there was seemed to occur after the shoot.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:04 am 
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This is one of my favorites of the collection with one of the highest watchability factors. Sometimes I even just enjoy popping in the disc and listening to the intro music while I nap or read, etc. Good times...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:54 am 
wax on; wax off
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zedz wrote:
From Lurie's commentary, it seems that the 'storylines' for most of the episodes were invented in the editing suite (e.g. the 'Search for the Giant Squid' didn't even exist as a crazy conceit while John and Dennis were filming in Thailand), so I'm prepared to believe that the shooting consisted of random weird shit, mostly improvised (and the occasional bit of fishing).

In which case, "zero scripting" isn't really accurate, but what scripting there was seemed to occur after the shoot.

I think the commentary is pretty thorough on the matter.

I'm surprised this made it into the CC, or made it onto TV for that matter. IMO this is easily in the top five worst CC's. The concept was great, but Lurie totally choked on the opportunity. He even found a great narrator and utterly wasted him; he could have been spouting all kind of unholy nonsense, and insteads is given maybe 5-6 decent zingers. He knows that we know that he knows that fishing is as boring as hell to watch so it's the sideshow stuff that's supposed to keep us on board, and he just couldn't come up with the goods. Again, just in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:11 pm
Location: Florida
Finally picked this up. I love it. Tom Waits sticking a fich in his pants is worth picking it up, if not anything else.

EDIT: Does anyone have the image of Lurie's signature? It doesn't appear on the Criterion site.

BTW, does anyone know if the little ad for the soundtrack and the Lounge Lizard's new CD at the end with the credits were added for the DVD or on the original TV show when it aired?


Last edited by LightBulbFilm on Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:49 am
I remember seeing the shows when they aired on IFC and I'm almost positive the ad was shown at the end of the episode.

Personally, I'm glad Criterion put this out. I love having this on DVD.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:10 pm 
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In the Holiday '06 issue of Filter there is an feature interview with John Lurie about the making of Fishing With John. So far I can't find it online, but it's still on newstands.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:16 am 
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So lately I've been backing up all my DVDs to a hard drive using Handbrake, and I come to Fishing With John. So I find the DVD source after popping the disc in and Handbrake says there's only one title, it's the Jarmusch episode. I've watched the DVD before myself and it was intact, no problems at all. This makes me wonder a few things. Is it possible I have a bootleg copy? Is there a flaw with this disc some how? Is Handbrake not working correctly? Could some check for me and verify if my problem is with the disc or Handbrake or tell me if I have a bootleg (Which I question, I love Fishing With John, but really who would bootleg the Criterion disc to try and resell?)


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:39 am 
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Even if it were a bootleg, it should still show the files for all content on the disc. If all the content is there when you watch the disc, it should be there somewhere to back up, legit or not. Something else is the problem.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:46 am 
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You don't happen to know what the problem is, do you Donald?


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:59 am 
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LightBulbFilm wrote:
or tell me if I have a bootleg (Which I question, I love Fishing With John, but really who would bootleg the Criterion disc to try and resell?)

A reasonable question, but just last week, a bootleg of the Criterion Fishing with John turned up in China. For the past 2 years there was a bootleg of a Japanese edition with burnt in Jap. subs.
I often wonder who buys these sorts of films in China, besides myself. But a steady stream of art film titles regularly hits the copywronged streets of Shanghai.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 10:03 pm
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The Chinese are people too! They fish! Tom Waits is big in Japan!


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:31 pm 
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LightBulbFilm wrote:
So lately I've been backing up all my DVDs to a hard drive using Handbrake, and I come to Fishing With John. So I find the DVD source after popping the disc in and Handbrake says there's only one title, it's the Jarmusch episode. I've watched the DVD before myself and it was intact, no problems at all. This makes me wonder a few things. Is it possible I have a bootleg copy? Is there a flaw with this disc some how? Is Handbrake not working correctly? Could some check for me and verify if my problem is with the disc or Handbrake or tell me if I have a bootleg (Which I question, I love Fishing With John, but really who would bootleg the Criterion disc to try and resell?)

Have you played the disc in a regular DVD player? If the player has problems reading the DVD, it may be rot, similar to the one A Night to Remember suffers. I think Criterion may replace the disc if that is the case.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:05 am 
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LightBulbFilm wrote:
You don't happen to know what the problem is, do you Donald?

No. We can rule out simply being a bootleg as the problem, but that doesn't help much.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:00 pm 
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There's a fascinating article about Lurie in this week's New Yorker, but only a short excerpt is available online.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:09 pm 
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Matt wrote:
There's a fascinating article about Lurie in this week's New Yorker, but only a short excerpt is available online.

Jesus, the abstract is pretty depressing. Does the actual article have any better news?


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:04 pm 
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I read it a few days ago. I'd say it's more "bizarre" than depressing.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:25 pm 
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Steven H wrote:
I read it a few days ago. I'd say it's more "bizarre" than depressing.

Some humorous moments though, as when the author relates how Matt Dillon, dismayed over what he perceived to be an unflattering portrayal in Fishing with John, asked Lurie "Why did you make me so stupid?", and Lurie responded "God did that."


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:15 pm 
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That was funny, but I was SURE I had heard that somewhere before but I couldn't place it.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:02 am 
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Steven H wrote:
That was funny, but I was SURE I had heard that somewhere before but I couldn't place it.

As I recall, in the commentary track for the episode Lurie says a softer variation of this. Instead of "God did that", he says something along the lines of "well isn't that the point of the show."


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:01 am 
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I recall how I used to cretinously think, "uh, what the fuck is THIS doing in the Collection? Fishing with celebs?". Now I think, "this sounds AWESOME!". Tom Waits in Jamaica! I lost my snobbery regarding Criterion years ago. I MUST buy Fishing With John.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:35 am 
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I think it's fun and it's one I've thrown in a few times to watch. The dead pan narration is what really sells it.


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 Post subject: Re: 42 Fishing With John
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Dead pan narration? Definitely buying it.


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