MovieChat Forums > Paris, Texas (1984) Discussion > question for everyone who thought this m...

question for everyone who thought this movie was great


why is this movie really famous and why is it considered a great film? i dont understand...the people who liked this movie, can you give me opinions about this and why you liked it?

reply

Here's a whole page of links to people saying why they liked this movie (or didn't):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087884/externalreviews

Here's another: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087884/usercomments

And yet another: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/paris_texas/

Boy, it's amazing what they have on the internets these days.

'The Sound of Music' twice an hour, and 'Jaws' 1, 2 and 3.

reply

[deleted]

well.....what can I say? I can only echo the reviewer from Longmont on the main page who stated so eloquently: "Perhaps each person person has a film -- usually a masterpiece -- which affects him or her so strongly that it is beyond description. This is mine."

This Is Mine.

reply

[deleted]

I found the film to be a sublime experience. The subtlety and silence of all of the performances spoke loudly. They seemed to be conveying the emotions that words cannot. The photography is also beautiful. I think that in this film a lot of the emotions of the characters have been removed from their performances and transfered to the landscapes that it is set in, and that's why it's so evocative. The themes are interesting to me, and the way that all of the aspects of it (the direction, the writing, the cinematography, the music) all work together is just amazing to me. This is a film I can really get drawn into and lost in.

I think that the way that absolute-emancipation went about creating this thread was very mature for the IMDB boards, where someone who dislikes a popular film usually goes about voicing this by declaring 'worst movie ever!'. Asking this question instead seems to indicate that while the thread starter may not have loved the film himself, he's open to listening to other people's opinions on why they did and consider these viewpoints, which is good to see.

reply

Nice point about the landscape expressing the character's emotions. I went to see an exhibit of Frederic Remington's paintings, and the curator pointed out how his cowboys always display a stoic lack of facial expression in the most desperate circumstances, but their horses are freaking out like crazy.

reply

Without reciting a list of arrogant-sounding reasons as to why I like this film, I can say that the performances and story are what does it for me.

Throw It In A Pot, Add Some Broth, A Potato. Baby, You’ve Got A Stew Going!

reply

its a wonderful film for me. For a start the photography is amazing. The story is sweet and mysterious, and the strip club scene is extremely touching. Its a great comment on love, relationships and family and does this in a very unique way. The music is also superb. Its hands down one of my favorites.

reply

I think of it as nearly perfect. It has elements that one must accept are not realistic, but fit in terms of making the larger points. That is common to Shepard's work.

The performances are mostly spectacular, especially Stanton's and Stockwell's, but also Hunter Carson and Aurore Clement. The bit parts are all done well, too, such as the doctor.

Nastasia Kinski is a bit problematic, though. On the surface it is hard to say she is well cast, as she seems to struggle. She struggles even with her southern American accent at times. But in the end, it works because her character is struggling with all she confronts. The little bit she holds back even when she finally reunites with Hunter is the twinge of uncertainty about the future and what she will have to do to change lying inside her joy at seeing her boy again. She holds back earlier because she, like us, is not quite sure what to make of Travis, not only in the past, but now as he returns to see her and bring Hunter to her.

The score is also perfect. One of my favorite movie scores of all time, up there with Lawrence of Arabia, Apocalypse Now and Barry Lyndon.

The cinemaphotography is also perfect. Even the editing, the other element found less than perfect by some others as kind of lazy, I found compelling. It seems to settle on a pace that is closer to real life than some disconcerting, more active pace would have given. It forces us to consider the emotions and longings of the characters more than the usual focus on plot development.

Definitely in my top 20 all time.

reply

The story is slow, but that is required to tell the tale properly. The cinematography is fantastic. It's a beautifully shot film. The soundtrack by Ry Cooder (one of my all-time favorite musicians) is actually what initially drew me to this film. Harry Dean Stanton's performance was Oscar-worthy, although I don't think he was nominated. Before he ever uttered a word, his ability to convey emotions was impressive. He's one of the greatest, and also one of the most under-appreciated actors ever. The entire cast turned in great performances.

It's heavy, it's a bit slow, it has virtually no action, and the story is somewhat down, emotionally--so I can easily see where many might not find it to their likeing. I've always considered it a masterpeice--but one I can only watch once in a while.

reply

I'm guessing that everyone who glorifies this movie has studied film at some point (me included).

One reason the movie is great is because it is riddled with the marks of a good director- just watch the first 5 minutes and think how much you learn; more importantly what you don't learn. Every shot is like that for a reason. The whole film engages your imagination. You become wound up with Travis.

And I've rarely seen a movie in which the soundtrack played such an important role.

reply

Oh please, don't make it so difficult. It's just a matter of taste. I find this picture absolutely BORING, but I respect people who like it, and that doesn't make me an ignorant, uneducated, or like the main review of this page says, an insensitive person who can't understand the rest of the people's troubles. Christ!
There are other directors who treat those kind of things in her movies, and very different of that. For instance, entertaining. Watch Fellini, Almodóvar's dramas, Antonioni, Pasolini, Billy Wilder, Ingmar Bergman, Josef von Sternberg, every Hollywood classic melodrama, etc. Only one picture of one of them is infinitely deepest than Paris Texas.

Sorry but that's my point of view. And I'm not an insensitive.

reply

Clearly, it's not a matter of taste is it? When I first saw this movie, I was bored, then I learned a lot more about film. Revisiting it, I was completely blown away.

reply

I wish I knew why I loved this film so much. And what is impossible to explain is why I can never remember what it is until I watch it again.
It is usually a case of watching with someone who has never seen it before; sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't.

It is such a simple film: a story about the human condition. Nothing more. And perhaps that is its power. We all think of casting-off our burdens and vanishing into the desert. We all wait for those we have lost to return. We all accept responsibilities for things we should not have to accept.

What really makes this film work for me is the lack of persistence. Because it has so few memorable scenes it is like watching it for the first time each time, and as I have grown older and changed the film has changed around me like no other.

So if you want to love this film, watch it every couple of years for the next 20 years and see how you feel then. And don’t worry if you don’t "get it". I still don’t think I have "got" this film, and in a way I hope I never do.

reply

I had been warned upfront that the plot was extremely slow, and that it wasn't really about watching the "story", the same way a standard Hollywood movie is. It's much more about the way it's told, about the people, about the places. It's a rather meditative experience, and all the time where "nothing" is happening is time to contemplate all the subtle details.

I feel like a lot of arty movies, and Wenders in particular, you have to "learn" how to watch before you really enjoy them. Honestly, I think the same is true of standard Hollywood fare, but most of us learned how to enjoy those at such a young age we barely remember it.

This was my first Wenders film, and still one of my favorites.

reply

I saw this film recently, again. I agree it is the kind of film you should go back and see from time to time. It has that transforming quality that both refers to other places, and a somewhat particular time, while also being timeless. It has been in my top twenty, solidly remains so after the recent repeat viewing.

I understand those who don't like the pacing, but what draws me to the film is a number of things, and the pacing is part of it. I understand that what attracted Travis to the emptiness reflected his own sense of self, and while the desert has had a romantic attraction to me, it is also sort of unhinging. It is a place and concept that draws us away from our own every day lives while explicitly being devoid of easy meaning and value. In Travis's case it served to reduce him to someone almost outside of civilization, a crucible for completing a transformation that he began when he ran from the trailer.

I think we all are attracted to the notion that we might have that kind of transformative experience were we to remove ourselves as he did, but then we also don't know exactly where it will take us.

In Travis's case he had to journey back, but was not able to wholly transform himself. He did not even find he could be completely free of anger, although it is a faint echo of what we implicitly know of is past persona. His understanding of his involvement in his family and his marriage comes in fits and starts, showing how his own transformation was uneven and only went so far. He emerged with several important parts of himself still there, both good and bad.

An awesome film.

reply

I don't know what kind of justification will please you, but for me, the biggest reason I thought it was great was as simple as this— it really got under my skin, and unlike most movies that I see, which I can keep a level of emotional detachment from (or rather just do so by nature because the movie itself is too hollow), it hit me emotionally in a way that I've never been hit by any other movie. This movie has a heart and soul and humanity to it that filmmakers rarely, if ever, achieve.

reply

Well stated. I could easily write thousands of words about the the virtues of this film. But I could sum it up better, by saying that when I first saw this film, almost 28 years ago, I fell into a trance, as if I were transported to another place. I was deeply effected by this film, and I felt as if this film was made just for me. This is the most important film of my lifetime, and I judge all other films by the standards set by "Paris Texas".

You can't possibly digest everything in this film in a single viewing. I've seen it probably 20 times, and every time, I notice a different tiny detail, and how that detail fits into the grand scheme. This film is just as outstanding in 2012, as it was in 1984.

reply

I saw this movie on cable in the late 80's. I liked it a lot, but didn't really know why, still it haunted me. I went to film school in the 90's, and realized why it was so great.

They teach you in film school that there's a single point in any film where you realize what the movie is about. Moviemakers know this too, and they may show it early, in the middle, or late in their efforts to manipulate the viewer. "Paris, Texas" shows it really late... til the last twenty minutes in fact, which could normally doom a film as many people found this movie boring, but it works here to tie it all together, and makes you realize that you've been manipulated.

**Spoilers** "Paris, Texas" is a psychological mystery movie disguised as something else. Travis has been walking in the desert seemingly oblivious for four years. His brother takes him in, and the movie concentrates on Travis returning to the real world. We learn a lot about his young son Hunter, and his life in the surrogate family of the brother. Travis gets better and decides to search for his wife, Jane. When Travis takes Hunter with him, we feel sorry for the surrogate family. Travis finds Jane at first, but talks to her poorly, which delays his rehabilitation into the real world... This was actually all a distraction.

Travis talks to Jane a second time, in the third person because thats the only way he could explain it... to tell her a story. The story is about a man who was going insane about love. When Travis gets to part of tying a bell to the wife so he would know if she left, was the point I realized what this movie was about. It was a film about a man that knew that he had gone completely insane, but had no one to tell who would understand. Thats why he walked the desert for four years. The insane life they had in that trailer, though never shown, but spoken matter of factly was the movie. The only other one who might have understood was Jane, who needed to confess herself. That was the payoff at the end.

reply