An obscure low-budget American indie from the early ’90s, The Search for One-Eye Jimmy is a nice little comedic discovery with plenty of welcome faces. Written and directed by Sam Henry Kass, who would go on to produce and write a couple Seinfeld episodes, the film has an affable low-key sensibility and solid character turns from a number of dependable actors and at-the-time up-and-comers.
Almost entirely episodic and hung together on a sort-of mockumentary frame, the film stars Holt McCallany as aspiring filmmaker Les, just returned from film school to hometown Brooklyn and eager to make a meaningful movie, with cameraman Lodge Kerrigan (himself on the precipice of a respected art house career) in tow. He stumbles across what he thinks may be a golden opportunity as one of the neighborhood ne’er do wells, glass-eye owner Jimmy (Sam Rockwell), has been missing for several days. His mother (Anne Meara) and sister (Jennifer Beals) are worried sick, but his brother (Steve Buscemi) and pals (a scene-stealing Michael Badalucco and Nicholas Turturro) are more sanguine about the situation.
Les follows the ragtag search party around the neighborhood, hoping for a sensational payoff. At one point, the group is sure Jimmy’s been kidnapped, but instead of uncovering any nefarious plots, they mostly run into the neighborhood oddballs, including John Turturro as the dance-loving, trend-challenged Disco Bean and Samuel L. Jackson as cuckoo Vietnam vet Col. Ron.
Both Turturro and Jackson make the most of their scenes, but their wacky caricatures aren’t really representative of the looser vibe the rest of the film thrives on. Pitched somewhere between Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee on the comedic spectrum, the film shows that Kass can do deadpan and outrageous both pretty well. The film’s sensibility and its sense of place certainly owe something to both of those filmmakers, but The Search for One-Eye Jimmy ends up feeling like its own assured comic creation by the end.
The Blu-ray Disc
Never before released on DVD in the U.S., The Search for One-Eye Jimmy gets a respectable 1080p, 1.85:1 (though it looks to be closer to 1.78:1) transfer here. Levels of sharpness and clarity are never outstanding, but detail is fairly strong and a light sheen of grain helps give it a more film-like look. A few pockmarks and the reel change cues mar the elements, but the film looks quite clean otherwise. Fans who have been waiting for a long overdue home video release should be pleased.
The 2.0 stereo track provides a solid audio mix, keeping the mostly dialogue-filled soundscape front-and-center with no clarity issues.
It would have been nice to hear from Kass or some of the cast about this little-known film, but alas, all we get is a gallery of production stills.
The Bottom Line
Likely to satisfy a small niche of patient fans, The Search for One-Eye Jimmy should also reward those going in blind.