7.1/10
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Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

A series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Roberto (segment "Strange to Meet You")
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Steven (segment "Strange to Meet You")
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Cinqué Lee ...
Evil Twin / Kitchen Guy (segment "Twins / Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil")
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Danny (segment "Twins")
...
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Tom (segment "Somewhere in California")
Joseph Rigano ...
Joe (segment "Those Things'll Kill Ya") (as Joe Rigano)
Vinny Vella ...
Vinny (segment "Those Things'll Kill Ya")
Vinny Vella Jr. ...
Vinny Jr. (segment "Those Things'll Kill Ya")
Renee French ...
Renée (segment "Renée") (as Renée French)
E.J. Rodriguez ...
Waiter (segment "Renée")
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Alex (segment "No Problem")
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Isaach (segment "No Problem")
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Cate / Shelly (segment "Cousins")
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

11 June 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Café e Cigarros  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$99,162 (USA) (14 May 2004)

Gross:

$1,971,135 (USA) (16 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Jim Jarmusch, together with Tom Waits and John Lurie, is a member of the Lee Marvin look-alike club "Sons of Lee Marvin", a portrait is hanging over The White Stripes during the "Tesla" section. See more »

Goofs

When Cathy is giving the paper bag to Shelby, the bag is tied at the top, but when Shelby is taking it, it is wide open. See more »

Quotes

Shelly: It's just... funny, don't yah think, that when you can't afford something, it's like *really expensive* but then when you can afford it, it's like, free? It's kinda backwards, don't yah think?
Cate: Yeah, well... the world is a bit like that, I guess, in a lot of ways.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tesla Coil Wrangler ... Peter Kunz See more »

Connections

Edited from Coffee and Cigarettes III (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Hanalei Moon
Written by Robert Nelson
Performed by Jerry Byrd
Published by Criterion Music Corporation
Courtesy of Surfside Hawaii/Lehua Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Breezy absurdist comedy
11 February 2005 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

--Mild spoilers--

I haven't seen a single Jarmusch before this and have no knowledge or his style whatsoever, nor have I smoked a cigarette while drinking coffee, but I enjoyed this film immensely.

It doesn't purport to speak of grandiose themes and epic emotions, nor does it go out of its way to be deliberately offbeat and quirky; the audience has no emotional attachment to the characters and there is no plot in most of the vignettes. So what puts this film above all the pretentiously shot black-and-white art-house crap that is slugged out every year? For one thing, it is really funny. From its expressionistic colors to the dialog that proudly smacks of absurdist humor, this film is like a breeze of cool air, utterly enjoyable from the first reel to the last that does not cloy on to the heart, but is very unforgettable.

Ultimately, its unobtrusive absurdist humor, which provokes chuckles instead of heartily laughs, serves to prove the Pinter-esquire themes of the futility of communication. We get a sense that the characters are isolated and desperately trying to touch each other through their speech but ultimately failing to do so; and yet, through their manic speech patterns and delirious pauses, what is unsaid speaks more than what is said itself. While this unconventional style of humor is often difficult to pull off as it might fast become monotonous (as evident in a recent stage production of The Caretaker that I saw), Jarmusch's deft direction with his actors (from their gestures to the way they hold their coffee cups) pushes forth the humor and carries it on steadily throughout the entire film.

It is hard to say much about a film who has nothing much to say. As in my favorite segment, 'No Problem', the one with the two French black guys, their dialog only serves to underscore the meaningless and nothingness of communication. What is scary about it is that it is so accurate, that these type of conversations, however ridiculous and absurd when portrayed on screen, often typifies our daily conversations. It depresses me sometimes that human communication can be easily reduced to all these, and this film makes the point entirely clear.

So it definitely comes as a relief, that as a conclusion, the relatively more heart-warming vignette with the two old guys (Champagne) was chosen. Not only does it touches lightly on the recurring 'acoustic resonance' theme, it also hints that we may in fact touch each other, through common music or through a common idea. And it just happens that that common song was 'I have Lost Track of the World' by Gustav Mahler, an amazing piece by an amazing composer that I have just recently began to love, a delightful moment which shows that although we are as disconnected at the different vignettes in the movie, it is comforting to know that we are still united in some weird cosmic way, like this forum here. And like the two old guys, after our coffee and cigarette break in which we step into an odd world that is not really unfamiliar, we would have to step back in to the real world again. But it doesn't hurt to have a little nap in between and pretend bad coffee is champagne.


56 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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