In "Paterson," Driving a Bus Becomes Pure Poetry

There's no such thing as living an ordinary life, and this movie proves it.

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30-Second Synopsis: Adam Driver is a bus driver named Paterson who lives and works in Paterson, New Jersey. Every day is the same: he gets up between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m., kisses his wife good-bye, and walks to work. He writes poetry on a notebook before driving his bus routes, and writes a little more at lunch. At night he takes Marvin the bulldog for a walk, stops at his local bar for a beer, and then gets up and does it all over again the next day.

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Watch the trailer.

A Different Adam: Adam Driver in Paterson is not Adam Driver in Girls. He reads a lot, sure; he has a robust inner life that he's a bit reluctant to share. But this character shows a kinder, gentler Adam, one who never raises his voice and downplays his disappointment when Marvin chews up his notebook. It's such a subtle, casual performance that one begins to forget that Adam Driver's not actually a quiet bus driver from New Jersey.

Everything is black and white circles, polka dots, bubbles, stripes…*everything.*
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Paterson's Wife Means Well, But…: She paints everything in the house (towels, drapes, shower curtains, her clothes) black and white, and she borrows several hundred dollars from Paterson to buy a black and white guitar.

Also, What Is This Recipe?: Paterson's wife also bakes a pie for dinner filled only with melted cheddar cheese and brussels sprouts. If someone can figure out how to make that good, let us know.

Paterson the man is constantly surrounded by the old crumbling buildings of Paterson the town.

Small Town, Big Influence: Paterson, NJ, is where Beat poet Allen Ginsberg grew up, and serves as the backdrop for William Carlos Williams's epic, five-volume poem, "Paterson." Writer and director Jim Jarmusch makes only subtle references to these poets, instead allowing the idle chatter of Paterson's bus riders and the beauty of the waterfalls where Paterson eats his lunch to serve as their own kind of poetry.

Paterson, of Paterson, NJ, writing in his notebook before work.

Weird Coincidences: After his wife has a dream that the couple has twins, Paterson begins to see twins everywhere—on his bus, on the street. He even meets a little girl writing poetry at the bus depot, waits with her for her mom to pick her up, and then realizes that the little girl's sister is her twin.

Marvin—bulldog, menace, great facial commentary.

Paterson's Great Whodunit, Solved: Every evening when Paterson returns from work, he discovers that his mailbox has been knocked sideways. He kicks it back up straight with a mix of surprise and anger. One day, after Paterson heads to work, we see Marvin the bulldog run out of the house, jump up and push the mailbox over, and run back inside.

An almost-Kylo Ren haircut on a far-from-Kylo Ren man.

Who Is That Mystery Man?: After Marvin the bulldog destroys Paterson's notebook, Paterson goes to an overlook at the Great Falls of Passaic River. There he meets a man from Osaka, who hands him a blank notebook, says, "A-ha," and walks away.

Paterson is in theaters now. For more info, see bleeckerstreetmedia.com/paterson.

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