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Film / Coffee and Cigarettes

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Coffee and Cigarettes is a 2003 film by Jim Jarmusch. It consists of 11 short vignettes in which characters converse over coffee and cigarettes. The first three (Strange to Meet You, Twins, and Somewhere in California) were filmed in 1986, 1989 and 1993 as individual short films, with Jarmusch later returning to the concept to create a feature-length collection.

The All-Star Cast includes (among others) Cate Blanchett, Steve Buscemi, Steven Wright, The White Stripes and Bill Murray.

The 11 segments are:

  • Strange to Meet You: Steven Wright and Roberto Benigni meet in a coffee shop, introduce themselves, discuss the virtues of coffee and cigarettes, then part as Roberto goes to Steven's dentist appointment.
  • Twins: Joie and Cinque Lee bicker in a diner in Memphis. Their waiter (Steve Buscemi) posits a theory about Elvis Presley and his Evil Twin.
  • Somewhere in California: Iggy Pop and Tom Waits meet and make incredibly awkward conversation over coffee and "just one" cigarette.
  • Those Things'll Kill Ya: Joe Rigano berates Vinny Vella about his unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Renée: Renée French sits quietly enjoying her coffee and cigarettes while she reads a gun magazine, occasionally bothered by her waiter E.J Rodriguez.
  • No Problem: Friends Alex Descas and Isaach de Bankolé meet after having not seen each other in a while. Isaach asks if Alex called him out of the blue because something was wrong, Alex insists this is not the case. Isaach doesn't believe him.
  • Cousins: Cate Blanchett meets her cousin (also played by Cate Blanchett) in a hotel lobby in Sydney and they come to realise how vastly different their lives are.
  • Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil: Jack and Meg White sit in a cafe and... well... Jack shows Meg his Tesla coil. They also discuss its inventor: Nikola Tesla.
  • Cousins?: Friendly Alfred Molina meets rude and arrogant Steve Coogan in L.A. with an interesting discussion about their shared family history.
  • Delirium: RZA and GZA sit and talk in a cafe and are surprised to find that their waiter is Bill Murray.
  • Champagne: Bill Rice and Taylor Mead are on their coffee break and they pretend the disgusting coffee is champagne while listening to music coming from nowhere.

Tropes appearing in Coffee and Cigarettes:

  • Arc Words: A few phrases keep popping up. Most notably "Nikola Tesla perceived the Earth as a conductor of acoustical resonance", "I like to drink coffee before I go to sleep, it makes me dream faster, like the Indy 500" and words to the effect of "Coffee and Cigarettes? That's what you're having for lunch?"
  • As Himself: Most characters are versions of the actors playing them with the exception of Steve Buscemi as a waiter with a conspiracy theory about Elvis' evil twin.
  • Brits Love Tea: Cousins? is the only short that doesn't feature any actual coffee...because both participants are British and therefore are drinking tea. This is lampshaded.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Most of the actors.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: It's a Jarmusch movie.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tom blows up at Iggy for pointing out that the jukebox doesn't have any of Tom's songs on it. When Iggy leaves Tom checks to make sure none of his songs are on the jukebox either.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Renée proves extremely distracting for her waiter. Steve Coogan also seems very distracted by a female fan asking for an autograph.
  • Everybody Smokes: As you might expect.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Aside from a few tea-drinkers, the sketches all focus on people drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
  • Italians Talk with Hands: Joe Rigano and Vinny Vella certainly do. Vinny Jr. as The Silent Bob does nothing but this.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Steve Coogan asks Alfred Molina if he's gay due to Molina being perhaps overly friendly.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: A movie about people in a bar, smoking and drinking coffee, chatting... and it's fascinating.
  • The Stoic: Alex. Is something wrong?!
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Jack and his Tesla coil. Nobody, not even the waiter finds it strange that Jack would bring such a thing to a bar.