As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
A brother and sister, sitting in a coffee bar, bicker mildly about whose idea it was to come to Memphis and which kind of cigarette is fresher. Danny, their waiter, comes by offering ... 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
my impression of the film is that jarmusch wasn't really trying very hard. perhaps i'll be proven wrong and this film will one day be shown to have an understated genius about it, but i doubt it. the film is merely a collection of shorts that jarmusch has been putting together since 1986. the first one was the first one shot and the later ones seem to be filmed more recently (judging by the age of bill murray, and inclusion of alfred molina or meg/jack white, for example), but i can't verify that it was presented in the chronological filming order. at any rate, the film revolves around various people discussing various things over coffee (or tea) and cigarettes. more than anything the film made me want to go to a diner and have a coffee with some apple pie a la mode. unlike 'stranger than paradise' or 'down by law' this film had very little lasting effect on me. i had fun while i was watching it - jarmusch always has a quiet humor to his films, producing more chuckles than outright laughs - but it didn't leave me thinking like some of his others have. i like the molina/coogan and rza/gza/murray shorts the most. i don't mean to give the impression that the film is bad or that i don't like jarmusch because both are incorrect, it's just that jarmusch has done better and the film was mostly good fluff. B-.
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