Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Coffee And Cigarettes

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

COFFEE AND CIGARETTES

7/10

USA 2003 : Jim JARMUSCH : 96 mins

The too-cool-for-school cast-list says it all. All participants – clearly Jarmusch pals – play themselves. Namely:

Lust for Life (1) : JJO, TW in JJ's C+C

(i) Roberto Benigni and Steven Wright **
(ii) Joie Lee, Cinque Lee and Steve Buscemi ***
(iii) Iggy Pop and Tom Waits ****
(iv) Joe Rigano, Vinny Vella and Vinny Vella, Jr **
(v) Renee French and E.J. Rodriguez **
(vi) Alex Descas and Isaach De Bankole **
(vii) Cate Blanchett and Cate Blanchett ***
(viii) Meg White and Jack White ****
(ix) Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan ****
(x) Bill Murray, the RZA, the GZA ****
(xi) Bill Rice and Taylor Mead *****

A compendium of eleven black-and-white shorts about people talking and/or smoking and/or downing coffee (or, in one instance, tea), the vignettes being filmed (seamlessly, by four different cinematographers) over the last 18 years (though are relatively recent). In lesser hands, this format would be a recipe for indulgent noodling. Jarmusch pulls it off, no sweat. Despite the uneven midsection (provokes at best quiet chuckles instead of bellylaughs), the Waits/Pop two-hander (Waits can clearly act, Pop clearly can’t, both are very funny) plus four strong sections at the end Lust for Life (2) : TMeasily justify the price of admission. And the best – inimitable Warhol survivor Mead (“unequaled as the insouciant pop enigma who’s seen everything and done it all“) in terrific, elegaic form – is wisely saved till last. Other highlights include: the RZA’s habit of calling Murray by his full name (i.e. “Bill Murray”), and amateur-genealogist Molina startling Coogan with the most hilariously complex diagram seen in any film since the Rex Harrison wrestled with those phonogram-instructions in Unfaithfully Yours.

14th September, 2004
(seen 27th August : UGC Edinburgh : public show – Edinburgh Film Festival)

click HERE for our full coverage of the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival

by Neil Young