Indie & Foreign

Warning: May create an addiction to conversation.

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Is there a meaning to the eleven segments in this film? Maybe. Or maybe not. Do trivial conversations have a meaning? Maybe they are the product of a culturally-rich and relatively peaceful life. Or maybe they are the proof that we have achieved a state of evolution so advanced that we now have plenty of time on our hands to waste over a coffee cup, a cigarette, and the sharing of seemingly worthless thoughts.

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[do action=”moment” emo=”Funny” title=”‘Strange to Meet You'”/]

Roberto Benigni’s already hyper, so when he’s portraying a man jacked on caffeine and nicotine, the man’s a real firecracker. Steven Wright is caught in his frenzy as he inexplicably lets Roberto replace him for his appointment with the dentist. Did you notice they filmed this in some derelict building? Odd place to meet, don’t you think?

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In ‘Twins,’ Joie and Cinqué Lee meet with Steve Buscemi’s character, who comes up with crackpot theories concerning Elvis’s twin who allegedly ended up being the ‘fat Elvis’ who performed in Vegas and ended up dying from an overdose. The fact is, Elvis did have a twin brother, but he was delivered stillborn. Who knows what would’ve happened if he didn’t die?

[do action=”moment” emo=”Awkward” title=”‘Somewhere in California'”/]

In this one, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits share the strangest conversation yet. Waits seems to be irritated with Pop, but the coffee and cigarettes appear to douse his flames. Iggy Pop looks like a beaten dog in this segment, always trying to get Tom’s approval. During the funniest part of the clip, they celebrate the fact that they quit smoking cigarettes by smoking one.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Funny” title=”‘Those Things’ll Kill Ya'”/]

As Vinny Vela and Joseph Rigano debate on the dangers of tobacco and caffeine, using the f-word extensively, I can’t but ask myself: Is this what a day on Earth would look like if God was Martin Scorsese?

[do action=”moment” emo=”Sad” title=”‘Renée'”/]

Poor guy, he simply won’t understand she’s not interested.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Theory” title=”‘No Problem'”/]

So, what is happening with Alex Descas? Seems to me that the dice are involved in a way or another. Is he having gambling problems, or perhaps is there something paranormal going on? Notice how he always rolls doubles. Maybe he’s ‘cursed’ with good luck? I really wish we could know, but, then again, this segment wouldn’t be as fascinating without the mystery.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Fun” title=”‘Cousins'”/]

Cate Blanchet has a coffee break with her cousin who happens to be Cate Blanchet–as a different character. The whole idea of Cate Blanchet having a jealous and bitter cousin is pretty funny. Once again, we get a character who is on the verge of turning the conversation into an argument, but somehow, it never goes that far.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Funny” title=”‘Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil'”/]

Jack White’s face as he turns the Tesla coil on is priceless.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Triumphant” title=”‘Cousins?'”/]

Steve Coogan is being a complete jerk with Alfred Molina right until he realizes Molina is good friends with Spike Jonze. Thank God Molina got the upper hand here by refusing to exchange phone numbers with Coogan!

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To me, this is the weakest segment of all. It’s not that it’s boring, but GZA, RZA and Bill Murray recycle the same ‘dangers of caffeine and nicotine’ theme which had already been re-used already. I understand Jarmusch is trying to do something here, however.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Comfortable” title=”‘Champagne'”/]

In the last segment, although William Rice and Taylor Mead also return to past themes, they share a moment of grace as they listen to Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. How relaxing!

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Jim Jarmusch's vision was simple: recreate the cozy atmosphere of a coffee and cigarette break, and throw in some unusual conversations with meticulously-chosen actors. It's pretty much like SNL, if SNL didn't try to force-feed you jokes at every turn. You won't laugh until you puke, of course, because that's not what it aims for. This collection of shorts will, however, put a smile on your face from beginning to end.


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