April 27, 2007

Seen: Fishing with John

This is one of my favorite DVDs, and is perhaps the sole reason I troll the "Special Interest" section of the warehouse of disposable consumer electronics that is Best Buy. Hidden between videos of contortionist girls in spandex, monster trucks eating smaller vehicles, and guys dunking on each other (which I also enjoy) is the occasional offbeat gem. DVDs are so cheap to produce en masse that, combined with the lowered cost of shooting in the DV format, almost anyone can get something on the shelves of your local shiny disc proprietor. So when the DVD format came out while I was in high school, it was the closest thing I'd seen to self-distribution, and as such my friends all started receiving utterly random DVDs as birthday presents.

Fishing with John (1991) is a hilarious jaunt with actor/musician/etc John Lurie, in which he takes maverick celebrities like Jim Jarmusch and Dennis Hopper to faraway locales and shows them what he knows about fishing (which, as it turns out, is nothing). As with most brilliant films, the fact that it was even made was a small miracle: a Japanese company funded the whole thing and gave Lurie carte blanche. The fact that the esteemed Criterion Collection put out an irreverent show ostensibly about fishing should pique your interest alone, but I found a short clip on YouTube that may further illustrate the zen comedy of Fishing with John (and, in this case, Tom Waits):


Available at Netflix, or on the shelves of your local DVD store's Special Interest section.

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