New Jersey Movies
Movies Set in New Jersey
Here's a random list of movies that were filmed or set in New Jersey.
Broken Flowers is the best Bill Murray film since Stripes. For director Jim Jarmusch, this is a low key story, with a minimum of dialog, a little travel (almost exclusively in New Jersey), and five ex-girlfriends. Don Johnston (with a 't') has a dull bored suburban existence till he get's an anonymous letter informing him that he has a 19 year old son. His inquisitive Ethiopian neighbor, Winston/Jeffrey Wright feels it is time for a quest, so he supplies Don with an itinerary and sends him on a quest. Don visits his old girlfriends, beginning with Sharon Stone and her aptly named daughter, Lolita. Next stop is Frances Conroy, a childless real estate agent, Jessica Lange, and Julie Delpy. Cool story enmeshed in a minimalist film without a suitable ending. Great stuff. 2005. Rated R. 2005. 106 minutes.
Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
This is the exception for your standard New Jersey drugged out idiotic road film. Sure, it is all those things, but the whole thing is also a none-too-subtle parody of the whole genre. The two heroes are Chinese and Indian immigrants who have a healthy take on their immigrant status. They are still official garden state stoners, and most of the film centers around getting high and having the munchies. In this case they are on a quest for a few dozen White Castle grease burgers to assuage their hunger. They get lost along the way, and the film follows them through a series of misadventures. Better than most and filled with lots of inside jersey jokes. From the team who gave us Dude, Who Stole My Car? 2004. 90 minutes. Rated PG13.
The Animal Room
A Clockwork Orange meets the Jersey shore. Recalcitrant teens are relegated to the "animal room" in their school's basement. Doug Van Deusen is a gothic bully who enjoys beating up a fellow animal room inhabitant druggy Arnie. There are some nostalgic 60's drug hallucination sequences but little else of interest. Filled with teenage angst. Kubrick did it better. Directed by Craig Singer. 1999. Rated R.
Being John Malkovich
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack )is an under appreciated puppeteer who finally decides it is time to get a paying job. He interviews with the Lester Corp as a filing clerk on the 7 1/2th floor of the Merton Flimmer building. It's an unusual place, with low ceilings and eccentric occupants. At home, things are even stranger. Craig's wife, Lotti, is a frowzy pet shop owner, a rather unflattering part for the usually gorgeous Cameron Diaz. They live in a house full of chimps, parrots lizards, and other species. As Craig settles in to his filing tasks, he develops a thing for his attractive office mate Maxine (Catherine Keener). Smitten, Craig creates a Maxine puppet to express his true feeling to her wooden counterpart. His unrequited love leads them into a business partnership that is unorthodox, to say the least. They discover a half door that leads into John Malkovich's head. By going through, you can actually be John Malkovich, and when it's over you get spit out alongside the New Jersey Turnpike. 2000. Rated R.
Two immigrant brothers try their hand as restaurateurs in Atlantic City in the 1950's. The elder brother, Primo, is a temperamental chef, while the younger of the pair, Segundo, is a masterful Maitre'd. Business is poor, and they stake their hopes on serving a memorable meal to a well known Italian performer. 1996. 110 minutes. Rated R.
Clerks was brilliant, but then these guys got some money to make a full blown color film. They didn't waste the money or the opportunity. Ben Affleck is a New Jersey comic book creator who is smitten by fellow comic artist Joey Lauren Adams. He continues to pursue her even after she professes her preference for women. Love makes a serious attempt at conquering all, even sexual preference. Most of the Clerks cast can be found here, too. 1997. Rated R. 112 minutes.
You take a pack of Jersey shore losers that work in a convenience store and the video store next to it and you show us just how funny they can be, despite their boring miserable lifestyle and pointless existence. It works really well. 1994. 90 minutes. B&W.
Obviously, the religious right has no sense of humor if they tried to ban this film. This could be the third movie in the Win Wenders Angel Trilogy except it takes place in New Jersey instead of Berlin. Ben Affleck is a fallen angel who wants to get back into heaven on a technicality. Chris Rock is great as the 13th apostle, Rufus. George Carlin plays the gung ho Cardinal Glick. Alanis Morisette is God, and Janeane Garofolo wouldn't miss a part in a Jersey movie. As a bonus, most of the cast of Clerks are in this, too. Outstanding comedy that may get a trifle theological at times. 122 minutes. Rated R. 1999.
Eversmile, New Jersey
Daniel Day Lewis goes riding around Patagonia with a foldout dental chair on his motorcycle to promote dental hygiene in Argentina. He is sponsored by a New Jersey charity that abandons him, but fortunately his love interests fill the gap. 1990. Rated PG. 88 minutes.
Forfest Whitaker transforms himself into an urban American Samurai who works for a withering arm of the New Jersey mob. He lives high above his Jersey City neighborhood up on the roof with his pigeons and a copy of Hagakure, the book of the Samurai. His best friend is Isaach de Bankole, who is a French speaking ice cream vendor whom he doesn't understand, literally. Jim Jarmusch wrote and directed Ghost Dog which is arguably his best film to date. This is a tale about the extinction of the warrior class in modern America. There are lots of subtle touches that will allow you to watch this film a few times before you get them all. I particularly liked the license plates. Rated R. 112 minutes. 1999.
Awara Paagal Deewana
Loosely translated as "Honey Crazy Love" this is a rather non traditional Masala film with a Kung Fu plot, complete with monster trucks, flamenco dancers, murder, subterfuge, diamonds, wife swapping, blonde belly dancers, and lots of gunfire. When Babu, the criminal underworld boss, dies he leaves 10 billion rupees worth of diamonds to split between his son, daughter, and her husband. Whoever gets to New York alive can claim title to them. Vikrant is the evil son who plots to kill his brother-in-law Guru Gulab Khatri. They fight on both sides of the Atlantic, and comic relief is provided by two hen-pecked dentists from New Jersey. Shot in Liberty Park, NJ, Manhattan and Mumbai. Hindi w/subtitles. 150 minutes+.
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