Coffee at the movies

For a habit that a large part of the world indulges in every morning, coffee is not a very typical topic of Hollywood movies. Oh sure, there are lots of movies with coffee in them, but not many where the stuff takes on the kind of central importance that it does in life itself.

Take Baghdad Cafe, for example, a 1987 drama/comedy that featured CCH Pounder, Jack Palance, and barely a cup of joe in its 95-minute running time. The Station Agent, a 2003 film about a dwarf living in an abandoned train station and the coffee van attendant who works next door, again features almost no coffee talk, other than as background.

The bottom of a coffee cup takes on paramount important in the award-winning The Usual Suspects, starring Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro and Gabriel Byrne, but coffee itself? Nah.

Chotchkie’s Waiter: So can I get you gentlemen something more to drink? Or maybe something to nibble on? Some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers, or Extreme Fajitas?

Peter: No thanks, just coffee.

Chotchkie’s Waiter: Okay. Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays!

That’s a scene from Office Space, once again taking our favorite pastime and turning it into background. The Bridges of Madison County may be a great romantic movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep which millions have copies of at home, but all the scenes involving coffee and just that – involving coffee, but not about coffee. So what’s the deal here? Has nobody ever truly explored the coffee culture in a movie?

Well, yes, they have. Jim Jarmusch spent thirteen years shooting short films on the side of his feature film projects, stealing cans of film from his productions, dragging actors aside and putting them in small scenarios for a film he would eventually call Coffee and Cigarettes. The film stars Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Steve Buscemi, Steven Wright, The White Stripes, RZA and GZA from the Wu Tang Clan, Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina (among others), and though it didn’t exactly tear up the box office charts, it certainly had some memorable scenes.

Iggy Pop: Cigarettes and coffee, man, that’s a combination.

In the 2007 film, The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Jack Nicholson rhapsodizes over his choice of coffee, a rare kind known as Kopi Luwak, civet coffee. Jack Nicholson characer didn’t know the beans run through the digestive tracts of a civet cats, and are gathered when the seeds, still coated in some cherry mucilage, are eliminated in the cat’s feces(yes, that’s right – the “best coffee in the world” is picked out of what is essentially cat poop).

If you have a coffee movie that we’ve missed, by all means let us know and we’ll add it to the page as soon as possible!