7.3/10
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Coffee and Cigarettes (1986)

| Comedy, Short
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 »

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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. They start a conversation about cigarettes and coffee. Steven likes to drink coffee before he sleeps, so he can dream faster. The conversation jumps around. "You know my mother?" asks Roberto. Steven describes coffee Popsicles. They switch seats; then switch back. Steven has to leave for a dental appointment he's not looking forward to. Roberto makes a startling offer, inspired no doubt by the coffee and cigarettes. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Comedy | Short

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Coffee and Cigarettes: Strange to Meet You  »

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Edited into Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) See more »

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The first of Jarmusch's C&C scenes is between two comics...
13 June 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

...and what's as fascinating and cool as it is a little disappointing is that the laughs are more of amusement than of the laugh-out-loud sort. While there isn't a whole lot to Wright and Benigni's conversation, what is great about the vignette is how the two find a rhythm, play off each other as though they were the pros of Who's Line Is It Anyway, and it works. The choice and progression of shots is also well timed by Jarmusch with interesting bits of composition via filmmaker Tom DiCillo. The letdown is that the laughs aren't as great as they could've been. Of course Wright is one of the most under-stated of all comics, and Benigni is notorious for being off-the-wall even in his serious movies, though maybe for me something was missing, that a certain bit of un-ease was with them. However, this doesn't stop the short from being a nice little marker on the careers of Benigni, Wright, and Jarmusch, and it's a very good kick-off in the full-length version of the director's latest brew.


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