As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial hostility and indifference a small degree of affection grows between the two. Along... See full summary »
This shortcut repeats the structure of Coffee and Cigarettes. This time, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits meet in a bar. But, again, we don't know why they agreed to do that in the first place, ... See full summary »
In a vignette called "Strange to meet you," Roberto sits at a small table in a coffee bar. Five cups of coffee and two ashtrays are in front of him; he drinks and smokes. Steven joins him. ... See full summary »
Eleven separate vignettes are presented. In each, celebrities, playing semi-fictionalized versions of themselves (with the exception of the characters of various wait staff, and one actor playing a lookalike cousin of herself), meet in a food service establishment with coffee/tea and cigarettes involved. Beyond the topic of discussion that brought them together, they often talk directly about coffee and cigarettes, more often that coffee and cigarettes, and by association caffeine and nicotine, are not healthy, especially if they are the only things constituting lunch. Other recurring themes include the Lee family, cousinhood, celebrity worship, the connection between the medical and musical careers, and Nikola Tesla's belief that the Earth is a conductor of acoustic resonance. In all cases, the coming together for coffee/tea and smokes acts as a bridge to overcome disagreements, and/or makes uncomfortable situations less uncomfortable. Written by
Doc, what could I do for this cough?
Shit, I was just thinking about that. Check this out: you get some hydrogen peroxide...
We got that for cuts and stuff.
...take fifty percent hydrogen peroxide, fifty percent water. You gargle with it. Do *not* swallow. You spit it out. Don't swallow, Bill Murray.
And if that doesn't work, try oven cleaner.
We got that in the back, too.
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Written by Milt Jackson and Ray Brown (as Raymond M. Brown)
Performed by Modern Jazz Quartet
(c) 1959 Renewed Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc.
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing See more »
It's easy to dip into coffee and cigarettes and meet all the characters but you might get a bit bored by some of their conversations.
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.
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