Coffee and Cigarettes
Shot entirely in black and white, this film is like a combination of Saturday Night Live and The Twilight Zone. It features 11 unrelated sketches, each beginning with a person seated at a table and each involving coffee, cigarettes and an intimate conversation between two people. The characters continually talk about the evils of smoking but then keep right at it. The subjects of conversation are random, flowing from cousins to waiting to traveling to life struggles. Enlivening some of the interactions are the appearances of recognizable celebrities, most playing themselves: Roberto Benigni, Steve Buscemi, Steve Coogan, Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, Steven Wright, Alfred Molina and Cinque Lee. The human condition of wanting to relate to another person plays out in nearly every conversation.
The average movie goer will find this unconventional film boring and its lack of action unsatisfying, but it does have its positive side. Since there is no action, Coffee and Cigarettes contains no violence or sex. Most of the characters, or speakers, have redeeming desires, but few enjoy the company of the person sitting across the table from them. Of the 11 sketches, it is primarily one that makes the film objectionable, containing 90% of the offensive language, which is substantial with more than 40 f-words and 20 occurrences of profanity. But, as a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough, so this one conversation ruins the movie.