Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)
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Critic Reviews for Coffee and Cigarettes
What unites everything is Jarmusch's playful, hang-dog absurdism.
A black-and-white novelty that plays like a directing-class exercise, you take your good with your bad with this one.
The film is a series of scenes, skits, episodes, that show two or sometimes three people smoking and sipping and conversing, usually in grungy places and usually improvising -- at least that's the intended impression.
A hit-or-miss movie.
An irresistible idea results in a movie as hazy and sometimes as irritating as cigarette smoke.
Audience Reviews for Coffee and Cigarettes
Casual as a coffee break and with Jarmusch's delicious offbeat humor, this unpretentious collection of vignettes in black and white is curiously entertaining and sometimes even hilarious, flowing by from one chat to another as its celebs savor their java and smoke.
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.
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.
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