What's special about the movie is how totally it believes in itself as a musical. The tunes, co-written by Sandler and a bunch of his pals, take on rock opera and traditional Jewish folk music with boyish exuberance.
At the heart of most of these encounters is talk about the nature of relationships -- cousins, twins, and peers. Mostly, though, Jarmusch displays an unexpected interest in the ironies and banalities of fame.
Penn's Kumar could become Jeff Spicoli for the generation of college kids who've never seen "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" but always seem to have a copy of "Dude, Where's My Car?" cued up at a moment's notice.
One of the best things about Nolan as a director is that he’s not self-conscious. His movies unfold and fold in on themselves without the strain of labor or flash. But that lack of self-consciousness is also Nolan’s downside.
The film spends its first half explaining the song -- famously and vividly about the cycle of Southern lynching. Its better second half-hour unmasks its composer as a compassionate Jewish guy from the Bronx.
There is a lot to recommend about James' Journey to Jerusalem. Its people are not among them. This searing little parable contains some of the more deplorable folks you're likely to see in a movie about faith.