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coffee & cigarettes


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i had high hopes for this movie and was nearly giddy upon it's arrival in my mailbox yesterday in it's bright red netflix sleeve. anything called "coffee & cigarettes"? sign me up! and it's a jim jarmusch film; i loved johnny depp in jarmusch's "dead man", and tom waits in his "down by law", also netflix picks. since coffee & cigarettes was released in select theatres, it never made it to my tiny little city as all we seem to get are huge, obnoxious, overblown blockbusters of titanic proportion, and i usually end up hating these movies after having been dragged to see them, kicking and screaming. about ten years ago, i once accused my best friend corey of being a movie snob because the only movies he would pay to see were indies, eschewing all things mainstream; i don't know when my tastes shifted, but i think i've become just the person i accused corey of being.
coffee & cigarettes was a huge disappointment. it not only made me itchy to hit the fast-forward button on the dvd remote, it actually lulled me to sleep, twice. i so desperately wanted to like this movie, for it to be some eye-opening, gritty glimpse into the seemy underbelly of new york city's late night diner populous who sit and discuss art, politics, mob hits and sex all whilst consuming what else, coffee & cigarettes. i think i wanted it to be a little more documentary-esque than it was. it was far from anything remotely akin to a documentary.
the cast was star-studded: roberto benigni, steve buscemi, bill murray, steven wright, tom waits, alfred molina, cate blanchette, iggy pop... okay, not necessarily a-list star-studded, but definitely my kind of star-studded. it was set in nyc in the mid 1980's, shot in black & white, and that's where the interesting scenarios ended.
it seemed as if the cast were loosely following a script, then improvising the rest of the way; this might have worked with a cast more talented at improvisation, but this lot didn't seem very inspired. many of the scenes ended up seeming stiff and wooden and just, well, boring. it felt like watching someone drag a red wagon after the wheels fell, but without any sparks to make it interesting.
as much as i love a good, wacky indie film, this one just wasn't for me.
ironically, as i sit here and write about how much i disliked a movie titled coffee & cigarettes, i'm drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. i really wanted to love it.


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  • From Temple, Texas, United States
  • photographer. singer. soapcrafter. herbalist. dogmom. godmother. fantastic cook. i kiss better than i cook. [all photographs on this blog copyright melissa mcgee unless otherwise noted.]
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