August 03, 2005

COFFEE AND CIGARETTES
Jim Jarmusch, 2003

7.5
when going into a Jim Jarmusch film, you have to expect some deliberate acting. detractors will simply call it awful. but this film shows what awful acting in a Jarmusch film is. this incredibly uneven experiment revolves around pairings of people talking around cigarettes and coffee. simple enough. along the way you get humor (mostly humor), heartfelt situations, and even some sweet philosophy. there's no real thread running through these vignettes aside from the coffee and cigarettes mentioned in the title. so it's a very loosely-woven film. don't get me wrong, i love to have the chance to just watch and listen to actors do their stuff. especially in Jim Jarmusch movies because there's a transparency and an honesty that shines through everytime. and it's usually absolutely charming. but here some of the pairings, although brilliant on paper (Iggy Pop-Tom Waits, Meg and Jack White, ...) simply do not work -- because of shoddy acting. this revelation came to me during Iggy Pop's segment. he just could not do it (especially paired with the brilliantly funny Tom Waits). i actually felt awkward watching him trying to find his place. Meg White also felt stiff and posing. but -- Jarmusch kept the most charming, and rewarding, vignettes for the end - what with the brilliant Alfred Molina-Steve Coogan team-up, the dizzying GZA-RZA-Bill Murray tag team, and, finally, the wonderfully serene Bill Rice-Taylor Mead segment. is the film worth it? it's a nice little experiment, but if you're not a Jim Jarmusch fan stay away from it at all cost -- except for the last three segments i mentioned which are simply brilliant and show the rest of the cast how it can be done to perfection (RZA repeating, "Bill Murray, Bill Murray" had me laughing silly everytime).

Posted by Sam | 3:21 PM |