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Fishing With John (Vols. 1 & 3)


Fishing With John (Vols. 1 & 3)

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The premise of Fishing With John is as simple as the TV program itself is entertaining. Over the course of six episodes, a number of celebrities accompany surly jazzman, composer, and character actor John Lurie as he travels to exotic locations and fishes, most often badly. Sometimes an outright parody of nature programs and other times an exercise in deadpan worthy of Lurie's friend Jim Jarmusch (who guests in the first episode), the frequently hilarious Fishing With John entertains in both capacities. In addition to such seemingly unrehearsed moments as Matt Dillon nervously holding Lurie's shoulder as their rickety plane descends into the Costa Rican jungle and Tom Waits enthusiastically enjoying a card game in some godforsaken Jamaican dive, the somber, Discovery Channel-worthy narration provides the program with some of its best moments, offering such observations as, "As always, night turns into day." Each episode of Fishing With John—which Lurie also wrote, directed, and scored—is worth seeing, but Lurie's ice-fishing expedition with the beatific Willem Dafoe, with its shocking conclusion, may be the best of the bunch. On the other hand, it doesn't feature Tom Waits placing a fish in his pants, a moment that provides another episode's high point.