Before I took up booze writing my literary efforts were directed towards the more legitimate field of semi-professional online film criticism. ‘Legitimate’ is a relative term, of course. At my cinematic height I wrote for four different film websites, and specialized in horror cinema. I had just graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies and figured that writing about film was the only thing I was qualified to do professionally. (My full-time A/V job notwithstanding.) But eventually I started doing the math and found that I was spending more money on movie tickets than I was making from the reviews.
Soon after this revelation I turned to the far more fruitful field of drinking a bunch of booze and not getting paid anything to write about it. And here we are. But occasionally I get the urge to take up film writing again, and thus I conceived of Film Fridays.
Every other Friday I will pair a movie with the booze you should drink it with. I promise to stay away from obvious choices like The Big Lebowski and James Bond, and I’ll do my best to maintain some variety. That way, if you keep checking in you’re almost guaranteed to find something you like.
The idea of pairing booze with movies is not a new one, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an online presence. So to kick off, I thought I’d start with something safe, but sophisticated. An all-time favorite, Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) is perhaps writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s best-known film, and a modern classic.
Shot in black & white, the film consists of 11 short scenes, in which one or two characters drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and talk. Each scene is independent of the rest, though themes and bits of dialogue are repeated. The whole film is held together almost entirely by the dialogue and performances. Essentially, this film is (or should be) a textbook for anyone studying screenwriting. Jarmusch’s writing is, as always, slow with a subtle humor, and his characters are often so naturally written that they teeter on the edge of awkward.
Now I know that to some of you this just sounds like movie nerd babble, and admittedly it is. But if I haven’t caught your interest yet, let’s take a look at the cast. Along with several other actors who’s names you may not recognize there’s Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, The White Stripes, Alfred Molina, Steve Coogan, the GZA and the RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan), and Bill Groundhog-Day, Ghostbustin’-ass Murray! And each of them gives the type of halting, nuanced performance that only Jim Jarmusch can tease out of them.
But what do you drink with a movie like this? The obvious answer would be an Irish coffee, so I avoided that, but I wanted to stick with a coffee-based drink. After combing a few different recipe books and websites I found the Keoki Coffee, a simple and delicious dessert drink.
1 part brandy
1 part Kahlúa
4 parts hot black coffee
Simply add the brandy, Kahlúa, and coffee in a glass or mug and top with cold whipped cream.
This drink goes particularly well in a glass coffee mug if you have one on hand, but absolutely essential is cold whipped cream directly out of the fridge. That one little detail takes the Keoki Coffee from good to great.