• 11 separate vignettes filmed over the course of nearly two decades
  • Black and white, stationary camera, urban coffee houses—vices (cigarettes and coffee as the title states), graffiti on the wall to start us on the Steven Wright and Roberto Benigni
  • I won’t go as far to say it’s a meditation on anything but it’s an intelligent look at awkward silences, human interaction and encounter
  • It’s clearly minor Jarmusch—slight—one critic calls it an auteurs “doodles” and I like that —he has a background in shorts and his films prior to Dead Man—clearly created segments in Stranger in Paradise- Night on Earth is very much 5 separate sections and conversations between strangers—and this is a companion piece to that- but like Night on Earth it works best as a combination and a whole—not as 11 separate shorts because of the formal ties
  • Most often it’s a comedy of juxtaposition—whether it’s Bill Murray and Rza, Steven Wright who is so monotone and droll and Roberto Benigni a ball of energy – all fish out of water
  • Gloriously (and formally so sound—what else would you expect from Jarmusch?) overhead shots connected both in the scenes and between the vignettes- often checker table tops
alternating between his fixed camera is the overhead shots– beautiful and formally sound
  • Minimalist—irony—a hangout film
  • Lee Marvin portrait, musicians
  • Critics calling it uneven are a little wrong since it’s a formal structural whole—but some are inarguably better than others, Cate Blanchett is great in hers with the guilt-tripping cousin, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits talking about how none of their music is on the jukebox is great, Steve Coogan’s is the best- clearly a precursor to The Trip– condescending comedic talent—  Bill Murray’s is strong too with the Wu Tang Rza and Gza calling him his full name the whole time
Molina and Coogan are great- the converstion in the entire film never reaches the Linklater “Before” series or “My Dinner with Andre” but this is the closest
  • Repetition—“Health”—indy 500 joke, Tesla talk ‘
  • Recommend- closer to the “worth a look” pile than the 2003 top 10