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Went to a screening of Jim Jarmusch's film, Coffee and Cigarettes, which opens this weekend. The +1 was thanks to my friend, Neille, and her tenacious support of WNYC-sponsored promotions. Because free tickets were available through this public radio station, the theater was practically overrun with canvas tote bags and thin, pale legs.

As we proceeded slowly toward the actual theater, we were subjected to, in my experience, an unprecedented level of security measures. Our bags were inspected for recording devices and then, at a second security station, we were electronically wanded, just in case one of the WNYC fans secreted a shiv in his or her ziploc bag of home-popped popcorn. This seemed especially ridiculous to me for a couple of reasons. First, I have serious doubts about Jim Jarmusch's appeal on the bootleg DVD market. Second, the movie itself was so low budget it would probably be more cost-effective for a would-be bootlegger to just grab a camera and shoot the movie himself, scene by scene, and then distribute it legally under a slightly modified name, like Caffeine and Nicotine. Chances are, even a bootlegger with no formal directing experience would still find better performances than the ones Jarmusch got from Meg White and Iggy Pop.

The film was OK, and then very good. My understanding is that it was the product of a series of short films Jarmusch has been making over the last 15 years or so. The first three or four attempts were interesting only for their pairings. Apart from that, they remained parked in their seated position, and went absolutely nowhere. As the film progresses, the quality of the vignettes thankfully improves. The Cate Blanchett vs. Cate Blanchett film was especially inspired, as was the Steve Coogan and Alfred/Albert Molina encounter. And I really loved the final short film, starring Bill Rice and Taylor Mead, whose face has gained even more expression since the damage of what I can only imagine was a difficult stroke.

I look forward to reading the self-congratulatory, pithy reviews of this film that will surely be published in The New York Post and Entertainment Weekly. Here is my prediction for a few:

"Half and Half." - The Daily News
"Completely decaffeinated." - The New York Post
"Coffee and Cigarettes was sweet and light, but occasionally dragged." - Entertainment Weekly
"OK-chino." - Buzz Magazine
"A great example for today's youth." - Tobacco Growers Illustrated Monthly
"Not enough panda-related stuff here to hold my attention." - Panda Enthusiast Post
"Iggy RULEZ!" - Ethan
"OK, Jim, we get it. Bill Murray. The White Stripes. Tom Waits. The GZA. I guess you're the cool kid now. Sorry for calling you an ' albino faggot' all those years." – Montclair High School Reunion Committee Newsletter

WE FIRST MET ON 05.13.2004

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