HBO’s weird, wonderful and almost impossibly moving series Painting with John has recently entered its second season, and if you’re not caught up with Season 1, now is the time! Each episode is about twenty minutes long, so you can knock it all out in just over two hours.
If you were a fan of John Lurie’s first series, Fishing with John from (gosh) thirty years ago, you might have a clue regarding what you’re in for, but it’s not a prerequisite for watching Painting with John.
It’s got a simple setup: musician/actor John Lurie talks about, oh, everything while he paints. Or doesn’t paint. The closest thing there is to any action is Lurie repeatedly crashing drones in an attempt to film an opening for the show itself, or bouncing tires down a hill, shouting “Bounce!” over and over.
But if the stakes sound low, they’re not. Lurie talks about life and death and laughter and sorrow. Childhood stories, a brush with cancer, possums, why people in New York restaurants have such terrible laughs. You know: the big questions.
He’s an excellent raconteur, whether he’s telling you about the time his oven exploded or positing that the reason he got pulled over by a traffic cop was because of the way his eyebrows look.
And the paintings are beautiful too.