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Coffee and Cigarettes

3.3 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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(Sep 21, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Celebrated writer-director Jim Jarmusch (Mystery Train) serves up this witty and intoxicating brew that's "as addictive as caffeine" (Richard Roeper, "Ebert & Roeper and the Movies") and "as buzzy and ephemeral as, well, coffee and cigarettes" (LA Weekly)! "Sneakily delirious [and] way cool" (Time), this "funny cluster of eleven stories" (Rolling Stone) delivers "inspired eccentric match-ups" (The Hollywood Reporter) from an incredible all-star cast, making Coffee and Cigarettes an absolute must for fans of film, fun and fantastic wit!

Now here is a movie that's practically perfect for DVD. Shot over many years with eccentric actors, Jim Jarmusch's collection of black-and-white vignettes is as uneven as a collection of music videos (without songs). Even with the dull spots and the drop-dead-hip ambiance, there's something touching about this parade of frazzled people holding on to their coffee and cigarettes like life rafts--especially in the final sequence with Taylor Mead. There are some severely misconceived pieces, but the best are a treat: Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan in a hilarious Hollywood encounter, Tom Waits and Iggy Pop getting off on the wrong foot in a funky diner, and Cate Blanchett doing a dual role as herself and a jealous cousin. Bill Murray can't save one underwritten piece, but Jack and Meg White are amusing in an absurdist blackout. Use the Scene Selection menu, and revel in the fetishizing of java and butts. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Outtake with Bill Murray
  • Music video: "Midnight Jam" by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
  • Interview with Taylor Meade

Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Roberto Benigni, RZA, Cate Blanchett
  • Directors: Jim Jarmusch
  • Writers: Jim Jarmusch
  • Producers: Birgit Staudt, Demetra J. MacBride, Gretchen McGowan, Jason Kliot, Jim Stark
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002I83Z4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,123 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Coffee and Cigarettes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Coffee and Cigarettes was initiated in 1986 when Jim Jarmusch shot the first skit in black and white with Roberto Benigni as Bob and Steven Wright as Steven. The second scene was shot in 1989 with the twins, Cinqué Lee and Joie Lee, and the waiter Steve Buscemi where they discuss Elvis and the oppression of African-American musicians. The third piece was filmed in 1993 with Tom Waits and Iggy Pop meeting in a Californian bar where the two get together. This suggests that Jarmusch has been working on this idea for some years and there is much more to it than what meets the eye. The culmination of Coffee and Cigarettes came when all the 11 skits were put together in a film in 2003 for the audience to experience and ponder.

Self medicated existential philosophy, awkward dialogues with moments of silence, human connection, and health conscience characters drive the story of Coffee and Cigarettes where Jim Jarmusch displays 11 disjointed vignettes all set in different milieus. What ties the 11 incoherent skits together are the coffee and the cigarettes as they function as a brief opportunity for human connection away from time and responsibilities. The characters continue to inhale the nicotine and consume the caffeine during their meetings in order to stay alert and rid any slight hint of social anxiety. Yet, all the characters remain uncomfortable with one another as silence and meaningless conversation seems to fill their time cramped lives. This creates a socially symbolic oxymoron where the coffee and cigarettes are suppose to function as the key to human connection, but instead these two social drugs for self-treatment of anxiety and sleepiness become an impenetrable unfriendly wall.
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Coffee and Cigarettes is not a movie that everyone will like, but fans of Jim Jarmusch may appreciate it as much as I did. This is not a conventional movie, but a series of short conversations between well known people over coffee, mostly in improbably seedy places. The dialogue reminded me a lot of Jarmusch's first film, Stranger Than Paradise; there is an existentialist absurdity to many of the encounters. There is also a fair amount of tension. Most of the conversations are between two people who don't like each other very much, or who are at least are engaged in some kind of power struggle or game of one-upmanship.
Among those that stood out to me --Two English actors, Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina conduct a clever spoof on celebrity egotism. Molina tells Coogan that they may be cousins; Coogan is arrogant and indifferent until he finds out that Molina has Hollywood connections, and then the tables are turned. Tom Waits and Iggy Pop barely conceal their competitive feelings as they verbally spar over trivial topics like quitting cigarettes (both smoke, but claim to have quit). Steve Buscemi, a ubiquitous presence in independent films, is a waiter in a Tennessee diner who imposes himself on a pair of twins ( Joie and Cinqué Lee) and espouses his theory that Elvis was impersonated by an unknown twin brother. Cate Blanchett has a dual role as a celebrity and her resentful cousin. This one really highlights what I liked about the whole movie. You could easily read it either way --seeing Blanchett (the glamorous star) trying her best to be supportive while dealing with an envious relative, OR as a suave celebrity who has mastered the art of polite condescension. The line between the two interpretations is paper thin.
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Format: DVD
let me say, that i loved this movie. i loved it as a whole. i did not "love" every part of it. I think the part with Tom Waits & Iggy Pop is brilliantly awkward. I think Cate Blanchett can do no wrong. I enjoyed seeing someone else who feels that Nikola Tesla was awesomely bizarre (thanks Jack). I mean, don't get me wrong, some vignettes dragged, but others more than made up for it. When a scene was dragging on me, i just drifted off and enjoyed the cinematography. This movie is very much a "different" experience. With the kinda free-flow dialouge that makes movies by Robert Altman and Richard Linklater so endearing. And a shoulder shrugging hipness that makes Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson some of my personal favorites. This movie reminds me that Jim Jarmusch is a curious observer, just like me, and that he isn't just an aloof director, but that he experiences the pieces much like we do. He's our friend or guide, like in a Walt Whitman poem. But then again, i suppose this movie isn't for everyone. There is no plot to follow, and its not a particularly "flashy" film. It's not even terrible experimental in terms of concept. But i am glad that this is the case, cos oft times that type of stuff borders on pretention when in the wrong hands. The only really "challenge" this film poses, is the challenge of the way you choose to participate in it. I would enjoy seeing more of this kind of filmmaking cos i think it is a welcome change of pace from the "falsh/bang" of hollywood. Or maybe i just really like coffee....
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