Coffee and Cigarettes Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 8, 2014
Jim Jarmusch's set of vignettes was filmed over 17 years and tells the intertwined stories of many famous individuals, and their love for coffee and cigarettes. Every vignette tells a different, quick story, and underlies differences in culture, health, beauty, and age. The film stars everyone from Roberto Benigni to RZA, and though each section feels incredibly different due to the subjects in them, the tone is pure Jarmusch. Most of what makes this film special are the little moments that remain unsaid, or are very subtle. In "Renee" we watch a poor waiter try to engage with a quiet woman, alone at a table, but every time he starts a conversation she rebuffs him. It's a very low, quiet scene, but it says a lot about what the waiter wants from her, and what she's willing to give him. In "No Problem" two men have a conversation, and one of the men doesn't want to reveal his gambling problem, which is only asserted in the last few seconds of the short. It's these moods, these little incongruities that make this film an essential watch, and an enjoyable one at that.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2006
A compilation of short vignettes filmed between the mid-80s and 2003, this is Jim Jarmusch's stylish, lo-fi ode to casual conversation over and about the title vices.

Shot in crisp black and white, what we get are 11 short scenes featuring 2-3 celebrities in each that consist of them sitting around conversing about various topics while they partake in coffee and cigarettes (or, in a couple of cases, tea...but even then the talk is about coffee).

Some of the scenes are a bit dull, even boring, but thankfully the next one isn't too far off. It starts out a bit slow, but gets better and better as it goes on. I didn't like the Tom Waits and Iggy Pop segment as much as I thought I would, but I loved the Cate Blanchett, White Stripes, and Steve Coogan/Alfred Molina segments. The one with the Lees and Buscemi is good, too.

Even if some of the bits are a bit dull, at least the music throughout is consistently awesome. Some of this is really funny, and maybe even a bit profound at times even. Even if this is uneven, I am a big fan of what this film is about, as I have personally spent countless hours doing the same stuff as the people featured here. I think that's why I wanted to see this to begin with, since that was before I became a confirmed fan of Jarmusch.

All in all, this is a relaxed, cool, and unique little piece of work. My score is admittedly based somewhat on my bias, but that shouldn't deter you from checking this out for yourself.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
In the same vein as Night On Earth this collection has some great scenes. Especially one with Bill Murray and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2011
Casual as a coffee break and boasting Jarmusch's usual offbeat humor, this unpretentious collection of black-and-white vignettes is curiously entertaining and sometimes even hilarious. It flows by from one chat to another while celebs savor their java and smoke.
stevenecarrier
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2011
I love short stories and by extension I love anthology films. I was curious to see Jim Jarmusch's vignette collection "Coffee and Cigarettes" for exactly this reason. Unfortunately, it's a rather lackluster affair. While the basic idea and through lines are interesting, it never seems like Jarmusch is really trying to say anything with his final product. This is just an 'idea movie.' While the Cate Blanchett short is clearly the best, because you get to know something more about the characters, the others are all just quirky dialogue and wacky performances. It's a cute idea for a film, but it really is just all hot air.
theunknownhobo
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2010
Although I found this fillm incredibly slow and at more than one point ambiguous to a fault, it was charming none the less. Following multiple stories from many different people, both famous and otherwise, this movie highlights the wonderous things that have been accomplished while people have a cigarette and drink a cup of coffee. My favorite scene would have to be when Iggy Pop and Tom Waits share their cup and butt - truly magical to watch!
YodaMasterJedi
Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2010
In all honesty I just wanted to watch this movie to see Iggy Pop, Tom Waites, The White stripes and Bill Murray. I was tempted to fast forward all the other vignettes to get to the ones with these characters in but thankfully I never or I would never have seen 'cousins?' -- Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan playing themselves in an absolutely perfect portrayal of the shallow, sickening and repellent nature that comes with fame. Coogan takes the word 'scumbag' to new heights, and Molina's keenness and almost innocence which slowly turns sour is perfectly pitched. Jarmusch has managed to capture the minutia of the trappings of fame so succinctly that sometimes it's difficult to watch. It's excruciatingly embarrassing but just gorgeous and has to be seen -- several times.

Likewise with 'somewhere in California'. Iggy and Tom play themselves but you can call Iggy Jim or Jimmy or Iggy or Jiggy if you like! Tom initially opts to call him Iggy but proceeds to refer to him as Jim throughout, and so the off-kilter banter begins. It's an hilarious portrayal of two guys who obviously have a mutual respect for each other's work but don't actually know each other that well. A series of ridiculous conversations and awkward silences ensue with Iggy becoming more and more animated and expressive to over-compensate for Tom's laidback yet defensive attitude. There are some excellent one-liners and it's just great watching these two giants chew the fat, fighting their different corners and trying to keep their cool.

I also thought Cate Blanchett shone in 'cousins', playing both roles as bitter cousin/ insipid famous cousin. It's another awkward, horrible meeting between two people -- one has made it, the other hasn't, and It's plain to see there isn't much love between them. We witness a series of underhand, loaded and nasty comments all in the guise of friendship, a friendship that only exists due to family ties.

Coffee and cigarettes the movie is a bit like coffee and cigarettes the vice: you'll get a buzz that's for sure. It's is an easy watch and each vignette has its qualities but as a whole it's a bit of a cheeky movie. It gets off on the fact that it has all these fab artists starring in it which goes a long way but not far enough. But I can't stress enough that it really is worth getting this movie out for the Coogan/Molina and Pop/Waites vignettes. Both priceless and essential viewing.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2010
Jim Jarmusch's series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common, but differ due to the subtext beneath the superficiality of the simple act of caffeine and nicotine intake. However, there is one with the absence of either showing how the effects may be somewhat psychological.
Sure this combination is known for the stimulation of an individual, but what is it about the practice that sometimes may bring about issues that you never saw coming your way?
The acting is generally quite good in this film, but I was particularly drawn to the vignette featuring Tom Waits and Iggy Pop. Their natural ability shines with all of their intrepid actions and insights, and their ability to just be themselves which is a quality so vital for an actor regardless of character work, and always much more effective to the viewing eye. Interesting how these two are both musicians, not actors, but excel in the field nevertheless. Just about everything Tom Waits has to offer is valid to film, music, and whatever else he is involved with.
The straight cinematography and continuous shots of the coffee being poured into cups on a smoke covered table with the presence of numerous ashes seems to tie into the various character internal and external conflicts which I found to be interesting as well.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2009
What a useless, noncohesive movie. I never thought a short could drag on for so long. This is exactly what I mean by artsy to the point of pretension. I get it, Jim Jarmusch, you're esoteric enough that we don't "understand" you, but neither do we want to understand you. Don't fool yourself; you're a hack.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2006
Jim Jarmusch filmed friends, actors and other celebrities talking during coffee and cigarette breaks, creating a series of short episodes of people having conversations about all kinds of things while drinking and smoking. While most of the actors are playing themselves they are still acting a role, like Steve Buscemi as waiter or Alfred Molina as a needy friend and new found cousin in one of the most amusing episodes. Some of them are fun, other seem pointless, but the highlights outbalance the boring parts. Cate Blanchett once again proves to be one of the best actresses of our generation in a role as herself and her own low-life cousin, Meg White of the White Stripes is adorable in her lack of acting skills and rock fans probably waited a long time to see Iggy Pop and Tom Waits meet. Unspectacular, but entertaining.
ebs90
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2007
A bit too aware of its hipness... but there's something really funny about Tom Waits and Iggy Pop smoking because they quit, Roberto Benigni attending someone else's dentist appointment, and Bill Murray working undercover as a waiter.
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2007
An ecclectic reel of shorts, focusing entirely on acting and dialouge, as well as the marvellous directing of Jarmusch. A film for film-lovers, it expresses the skill and art of "cinema" without the restrictions and presumptions of making a "movie."

Moving from ponderous, quixotic, to awkward, hauntingly sad, to simply hilarious... this film is almost a wildlife documentary of actors in their natural habitat.
puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2007
Sweet movie that shows what people talk about over small useless conversations over coffee and cigaretts.
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2006
Because of its lack of its simplicity and the fact that most of the characters were playing themselves it is hard to judge this movie based on directing or acting, or even writing because most of the dialogue was obviously improvised. However, it is a great concept that had a lot of wonderful, funny segments and some truly unique moments, and the film was just cool. Not surprisingly, at the end I really had a hankering for some coffee and cigarettes!
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
Great parts do not a great movie make.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2006
A collection of short movies, not all of them work, but the ones that do, do it well.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2006
Jim Jarmusch presents a selection of short films that he has shot since the late 80's. The two best parts are 'Cousins?' and 'Somewhere in California' mainly due to the chemistry in each one. 'Cousins?' is simply hilarious and Coogan and Molina really capture the comical timing. Jarmusch perfectly presents those quiet and seemingly insignificant moments in coffee shops that other films omit. The direction is simple with hardly any camera work involved. Snappy dialogue and a relaxed feel help the film along its way.
neumdaddy
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2004
(cradles journal's head in arms, mutters mystical incantation, and the journal is resurrected)

[size=1]At work now. Not working. Sssshhhh!!![/size]

I'm on somewhat of a funnyman/uber-dork streak as of late. One might say I'm "on a roll", but I would disregard such comments and fling a cream pie at that person's face.

Speaking of food, I've been on a culinary frenzy lately. Made some stir fry just before the weekend, and curry the next night. Dicing the veggies was actually quite comedic. With every slice I made, a little piece of vegetable shot off the cutting board and across the kitchen, ricocheting off toasters and cereal boxes and what not. Carrots aren't supposed to bounce, are they? But yeah, the curry was bellissima. I wish I was eating it riiiiight noooow...

More food + dorkiness: I was eating lunch in the parking lot yesterday, sitting in my Buick ("The Golden Ride") with the windows rolled down (I was gonna read later on my lunch break). I was rockin' out to old school Foreigner with a mouthful of sandwich, actually trying to sing through the dense walls of multi-grain bread jammed in my mouth, right as a few co-workers walk by. "Hey Neum". I waved back, not even attempting verbal communication with another human with food blocking my words. I kinda turned down the radio as they meandered through the cars and towards the office. Then, slowly, I turned the radio back up, and continued my rocking out. Heh.

Today even, I found myself with piece of cornbread in my hand and a barbaric urge to maul it (you know life is treating you well when you find yourself in such situations). Well, being the dastardly food torturer that I am, I decided to make a "character" out of my cornbread. A minute later, I've got a co-worker cracking up to "Steve the Cornbread", my tasty little cornbread friend with honey drooling from its makeshift lips (we were in the breakroom). Steve would talk of his lost family, stuck in a glass pan in a distant kitchen, the memory coated in horror. His therapist told him that his recurring nightmares of [i]the spatula [/i]were likely a result of abuse while young. And probably drugs in adolescence. Then Steve grew silent and introspective, and my co-worker had to go, ya know, work. And then...I lost myself in space and time. I was wrapped in a golden warm fluff, yellows and light browns twirling in knots, porous and aromic with a flavor I dare not describe. Next thing I knew, I had crumb-coated honey around my mouth, looking for a napkin. I wonder whatever happened to Steve.



Other stuff's been goin' on too, but I dare not describe.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2012
*** out of ****

Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee and Cigarettes" will either engage or flat-out bore you. I suppose the same could go for the majority of the director's other films, but I find this one to be especially divisive. I know a good number of people who would probably hate it if they saw it; but I also know those who might enjoy its relaxing cinematic approach. It's a simple film, really; enhanced by Jarmuch's signature eye for humane dialogue as well as his quirky direction. It's far from one of his best films, but I'll be damned if it doesn't impress the fans with its wit, dry sense of humor, and allure.

All I can tell you is that when approaching this film, you should probably know that it's all in the title. This is a film involving 11 random vignettes; connected not by characters or sometimes even location, but by the consumption of coffee and smoking of cigarettes, the two of which often come packaged together if in use at all.

Would there be much of a point in me describing each separate scenario? Personal answers to that question aside, I think we can all at least somewhat agree that no, there isn't much of a point at all in me doing that. Instead, I think I'll point out the vignettes that stood out the most to me; the ones that shine amongst the rest. Not all of the film's segments are created equal; some are better than others, while some are filled with the kind of essential simple pleasures that can elevate a perfectly un-complicated story and cast of two individuals to new heights.

I feel the need to mention the segment that opens the film - titled "Strange to Meet You" and originally filmed in 1986 - because it gives Jarmusch's anthology picture a rather grand kick-start. In short, I guess it gives us a basic and general idea of what's to come. The segment itself features Roberto Benigni and Steven Wright sitting down in a restaurant somewhere and having a nice, pleasant chat about the titular substances. There isn't much more to it than that; other than the fact that Benigni appears to be more lost in his addictions than Wright, who arrives not too far down the road.

Next on my short list of honorable mentions comes a wonderful segment that involves Jack and Meg White (of The White Stripes, one of my all-time favorite bands) working, narratively, with the pretense that the two are siblings (which they aren't; as you should know). Jack wants desperately to show Meg his Tesla Coil; of which the latter does not initially seem to care much about. The two seem uneasy; but I suppose that's all a part of the plan.

The final segment that I shall mention is the one titled "Cousins?" - in which Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan talk about showbiz, with Molina eventually coming to the surprise revelation that he and Steve are related by blood. Cousins, Molina says, and the question mark that accompanies the title is absolutely necessary.

"Coffee and Cigarettes" is joyfully experimental. Filmed in glorious black-and-white; this talky feature is a treat for the eyes and the mind. Jarmusch makes it clear that this is his film; certain members of the cast happen to be famous musicians (in particular, Tom Waits and Iggy Pop both make separate appearances, but in the same segment), there are world-renown artists on display, and the narrative is non-linear; if the film can be said to have a narrative at all. The film may not be perfect, but it offers up something different, and that's all I ask for out of independent cinema. "Coffee and Cigarettes" is a minor - but welcome and relaxing - piece of humanistic escapism.
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2006
A nearly perfect series of scenes. Brilliantly executed in terms of writing, direction, cinematography, and acting. It really sunk in for me on a second viewing.
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