This ranks as one of my favorite films of all time. However, I think one's opinion is affected by whether you see it on the big screen or TV. I remember seeing this in a theater when it was first released and thought it was the most strangely humorous, starkly beautiful, nihilistic, melancholy, touching and insightful thing I'd ever seen. Jim Jarmusch basically launched the independent film movement with "Stranger than Paradise" and while the brilliance of this film has caused me to see all his later work, nothing matches it.
It's sort of a hard film to describe - 'ya just have to see it. But try to catch it on a large screen if you can. Visually, it's just gorgeous. I remember reading somewhere that Jim shot it on some special B & W film stock left over from someone else's project. The stark winter scenes on lake Erie are unforgettable - like celluloid art.
On top of all of this - you get Screamin' Jay Hawkins singing "I Put a Spell on You" (the original, good version not the watered-down later version). I mean, what-more-do-you-want?!?
A little known bit of trivia - the chick who played Eva was a fashion model in NYC at the time and also makes a cameo appearance in the documentary of the NYC underground art/music scene called "Downtown '81" featuring Jean Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry, James Chance and Tav Falco.