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Fishing With John: The Criterion Collection

Somehow cult musician and part-time actor John Lurie convinced a Japanese television network to produce six episodes of this short-lived, deadpan 1991 TV series in which Lurie and special celebrity guests travel to the corners of the earth and fish — or pretend to, anyway. Inspired by the monotony of real sport-fishing shows, Lurie goes shark fishing with Jim Jarmusch, visits Costa Rica with Matt Dillon, watches Tom Waits put a fish in his pants in Jamaica, freezes to death with Willem DaFoe, and chases the giant squid of Malaysia with Dennis Hopper. The locations are genuine, but most of the story lines and fishing are not. That's hardly the point. The whole venture feels like a damn good excuse to get appealingly fish-faced Lurie and his colorful guests into exotic locales and see what entertainment they can conjure in the process. It usually works, and its slow pace is pepped up considerably by the keen vocal talents of narrator Robb Webb, who provides many of the series' funniest, most absurd moments. Lurie also scored the show, and you'll be surprised at how well his off-the-wall themes dig into your subconscious. Criterion has released all six half-hour episodes on this one disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio and 2.0 Dolby, including commentary by Lurie and the music video "Big Heart" by his band The Lounge Lizards. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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