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This node is here not to praise the most praise-worthy combination of coffee and cigarettes, but rather as a review of Jim Jarmusch's film of that title: “Coffee and Cigarettes.” It is hard to describe this film, but if I had to try to describe it in one word it would have to be “minimalist.”

The film, released to cinemas in the US in May 2004, is made up of a eleven short vignettes, all shot entirely in black and white. There is no plot to speak of – it consists entirely of the characters talking to each other over coffee and cigarettes. The cast for this movie is simply incredible; Roberto Benigni, Cate Blanchett, Steve Buscemi, Steve Coogan, Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Steven Wright to name a few.

The characters talk about anything from Tesla coils to Elvis to, of course, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Each vignette features two or three characters, and the only thing that links one vignette to another is the fact that the setting, a coffee shop, is similar, and that the conversation usually mentions coffee and cigarettes. Interestingly, the actors generally play themselves – with a couple of exceptions.

Twins,” has a the bored and irritable twins Cinque and Joie Lee sitting at a coffee shop in Memphis, bickering with each other. Until they are interrupted by their waiter, played by Steve Buscemi, starts explaining his elaborate theory about Elvis' evil twin brother – the one who started wearing the jumpsuits and cape.

In “Cousins?” Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan drink tea in a Los Angeles cafe, complaining about the American preoccupation with coffee (and, of course, how they really need to learn to make a good cup of tea.) Coogan tries to make it seem as if he actually knows who Molina is, while Molina confesses his adoration for Coogan. Things get a little uncomfortable when Molina takes out a copy of his family tree and explains to Coogan that they are cousins and that he wants Coogan to love him.

In my opinion, the finest skit would have to be “Delirium.” GZA and RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan discuss the finer points of alternative medicine and the evils of caffeine over herbal tea, until interrupted by Bill Murray – their dazed and confused waiter. Between Bill Murray lighting his cigarettes with a stove lighter and drinking his coffee directly from the pot, and the hip hop stars' constant habit of ending every sentence with the actor's name “That don’t sound too good, Bill Murray!” the scene is absolutely brilliantabsurd certainly, but in the most entertaining of fashions.

Like I said before, it is difficult to describe the film. In parts the film is incredibly funny, and at other times poignant and other times just plain bizarre. I would have to recommend it to anyone who wants a change from the usual Hollywood schlock, although it certainly isn't for everyone – when I saw it it seemed as if a lot of the members of the audience just didn't get the jokes - then again, this is Singapore...

Writer and Director:
Jim Jarmusch


Roberto Benigni - Roberto
Steven Wright - Steven
Joie Lee - Good Twin
Cinque Lee - Evil Twin/Kitchen Guy
Steve Buscemi - Waiter
Iggy Pop - Iggy
Tom Waits - Tom
Joe Rigano - Joe
Vinny Vella - Vinny
Vinny Vella Jr. - Vinny Jr.
Renee French - Renee
E.J. Rodriguez - Waiter
Alex Descas - Alex
Isaach de Bankole - Isaach
Cate Blanchett - Cate/Shelly
Mike Hogan - Waiter
Jack White - Jack
Meg White - Meg
Alfred Molina - Alfred
Steve Coogan - Steve
Katy Hansz - Katy
Bill Murray - Bill Murray
Bill Rice - Bill
Taylor Mead - Taylor

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