Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)


This movie has a lot of quirky, funny moments. Iggy Pop Meeting Tom Waits, for instance, and just jawing about whether they’re on the jukebox or not, and the White Stripes talking about Tesla coils and the resonance of the earth. It’s an arty film, and if arty films are your bag, you’ve found the right place. If you like Jarmusch, you’ve also found the right place. There are a number of recurring themes that resound nicely. Certain cups, certain patterns on tables, and certain lines of dialogue are mentioned.

Originally this sprang from a 6 minute short in 1988, and the theme and tone of that first piece, the one with Wright and Benigni, is kept well. There is also a scene with Cate Blanchett that I didn’t realize was two Cate Blanchetts until the end of the film, which made me feel both remarkably stupid and impressed, where she talks with herself, as her own cousin. Cousins are another great recurring theme, including this great scene with Alfred Molina, otherwise known as Doc Ock. It IS, embarrassingly so, an art film. It tries too hard to be arty, there’s no real solidifying gel for the story other than the resonance of the Earth, and the point is not to be found. If you don’t mind that, if you like open ended surrealistic literary jumping from stone to stone, you’d like this.

It reminds me of Mulholland Drive. A lot of good, cool imagery, a lot of interesting ideas, little cohesion. For some people, this is great. For others, it distracts from the enjoyment. Another example of how it can work is Being Human, a story with recurring themes and a continually similar story. It works well there, here, not so much. I love certain arty films. Limey, that’s a good one. It is risky with the camerawork, it has some interesting themes, but it’s all wrapped up. It all depends on what you want, like I say, but one this one, it detracted.

For all the bagging I just did, it’s a really interesting little film. I don’t think I’d buy it, but I WOULD watch it again if I was sitting around over 9 of 10 other movies. It was funny, it killed the time and didn’t make me say “I WANT IT BACK!”, and were it down my favorite line of movie types, this would probably be a new classic. So if you like this kind of arty movie, go nuts, you’ll love this. And if you don’t, you’ll still enjoy it.

DEFINITELY worth at least a rent.