Blue in the Face

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I love the idea of Blue in the Face: when Wayne Wang and Paul Auster were done making the scripted movie Smoke they discovered that they had done so ahead of schedule and under budget, so they decided to use up the rest of their money and time by making a second movie. As Smoke was set in a neighborhood cigar shop and was about the interleaving stories of the inhabitants of the neighborhood, it was easy enough to set a new series of stories in the same location. Wang and Auster set up some scenarios which the actors improvised through. They even got some celebrities to make cameos -- Madonna, Michael J. Fox, Lily Tomlin. The whole thing is edited together with some footage of Brooklynites talking about their neighborhood. The best part of the movie is an extended conversation between Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel) and Bob (Jim Jarmusch) as the latter gets ready to smoke his last cigarette before quitting. With the way it's edited it's pretty obvious that what we're seeing is just part of a very long conversation, and I think I'd rather have seen that long conversation. The movie has a whole just doesn't gel for me -- there's too little plot to make sense as a complete narrative, but there's too much plot to just pass it off as a extended montage.

FuzzyCo grade: B-