As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.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.
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 »
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
There are numerous continuity errors in positions of items on the table throughout the movie. Coffee jugs disappear (Twins), cigarettes disappear from ashtrays (No Problem), cigarette packets move around (Somewhere in California). Cigarette lengths and coffee levels also vary. See more »
Cigarettes and coffee, man, that's a combination.
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A Joyful Process
Written by George Clinton (as George Clinton Jr.) and Bernie Worrell (as Bernard G. Worrell)
Performed by Funkadelic
Published by Bridgeport Music, Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Westbound Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licensing See more »
Finally, a movie my sister can get behind! With a title like 'Coffee And Cigarettes', health nuts must be having a collective heart attack. And the title isn't ironic. Every single episode in this string-of-vignettes movie has enough java and smokes to murder a truck driver. Bizarro writer/director Jim Jarmusch shot the flick over many years, gathering a wildly disparate cast to co-star in his black and white art film. No scenes are connected (except by the ever-present cigs & a cup o' joe) and each quirky sequence functions as its own self-contained act.
Most of the character's names are just the actor's names, but that doesn't mean they're playing themselves. In reality, Bill Murray might moonlight as a waiter and hang out with the Wu-Tang Clan (who always refer to him as "billmurray", one word). Jack & Meg White from the White Stripes might have a remarkable interest in science. And Cate Blachett might have a resentful, rebellious cousin who looks exactly like her (because she's playing both of them). But I doubt it. Those are just a few of the oddball sketches in this movie. In fact, I mentioned those ones first because, of the scenes with the big-name celebrities, they're probably the weakest.
Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan work together in the longest sequence. Molina is courteous and affable, Coogan aloof and mildly interested in why Doc Ock has asked for this meeting. In a gem of warp-speed character development, Molina goes from shy to eager to crushed to bitter. Both men are excellent. Also, musicians Tom Waits and Iggy Pop have similar oil/water chemistry, which is what makes their culture-clash one-upsmanship memorable. Roberto Benigni and Steven Wright set the tone with their jittery, nonsensical opening scene. There's more, but I've forgotten the rest already.
So I didn't reveal much plot. What's there to tell, though? The terrific Molina/Coogan sequence could be lengthened into its own movie, but the rest of this picture wouldn't work if the short scenes played any longer. 'Coffee And Cigarettes' isn't really even about smoke rings or the caffeine rush. Jarmusch and the cast use those as props to create some zany bits with an "opposites attract...or not" motif. The flick is funny, a bit too long, and light years away from the mainstream. I enjoyed myself, found my interest bobbing & weaving, then left the theatre. That's okay. Even art films are allowed to be fast food.
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