Coffee Break | Watch Jim Jarmusch’s Cannes-Winning Short Starring Tom Waits & Iggy Pop

Everyone needs a coffee break. For some, that means actually drinking something laden with caffeine to push you through to the end of the day. For others, that break has little to do with java, and much more to do with a nice distraction from whatever is on your plate that particular day.

Whether it be an escape from schoolwork, presentations, numbers that need crunching, or an actual passion project, that small respite can pay actual dividends. According to the Scientific American, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”

Our new recurring segment, Coffee Break, aims to give you just that. Small — albeit worthwhile slices of video content from the web — that should give you exactly what you need when you need to focus on something other than the task at hand.

In 1993, Jim Jarmusch presented his third installment of “Coffee and Cigarettes” which won him the the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Pairing rockers Tom Waits and Iggy Pop, the casting finds Waits initially apologetic for his tardiness — stating dryly that he just performed surgery. From there, the conversation morphs into thoughts about quitting smoking, Abbott and Costello and mainstream options like Taco Bell and IHOP.

The charm and awkwardness that would accompany the theatrical release of all the vignettes in 2003 — featuring the likes of Bill Murray, RZA, GZA, Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Joie Lee, Cinqué Lee, Steve Buscemi, Joseph Rigano, Vinny Vella, Cate Blanchett and The White Stripes — is certainly on display in this gem.

Jarmusch recalled directing the infamous duo, stating, “Tom was exhausted. We had just shot a video the day before for ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ and he had been doing a lot of press. He was kind of in a surly mood as he is sometimes, but he’s also very warm. He came in late that morning – I had given him the script the night before – and I was with Iggy. Tom threw the script down on the table and said, ‘Well, you know, you said this was going to be funny, Jim. Maybe you better just circle the jokes ’cause I don’t see them.’ He looked at poor Iggy and said, ‘What do you think Iggy?’ Iggy said, ‘I think I’m gonna go get some coffee and let you guys talk.’ So I calmed Tom down. I knew it was just early in the morning and Tom was in a bad mood. His attitude changed completely, but I wanted him to keep some of that paranoid surliness in the script. We worked with that and kept it in his character. If he had been in a really good mood, I don’t think the film would have been as funny.”

In case you missed it, check out last week’s Coffee Break, which paved the Way for Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’.

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