Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.
Last Christmas, we gave you a list of the very best coffee moments in movie history. The term “very best” was contested by a number of readers, who scoffed at some of our choices. This year, we’ve listened to the gripes and watched a few more films to come up with ANOTHER list of great coffee moments in movie history. Sit back, pour yourself some coffee, and relive them all.
Will Ferrell was the MVP of last year’s list, showing up for both “Kicking and Screaming” and “Elf.” But we overlooked his turn in “Zoolander” as Mugatu, throwing a tantrum after an assistant hands him a foamy latte. Then again, if we got “farty and bloated” from lattes, we might protest too.
The whole movie is basically a collection of coffee moments, as the title character (played by Audrey Tautou) works in a twee Parisian coffee house. The most memorable moment comes when she takes it upon herself to make a love connection between a clerk and a customer who are crushing on each other. By dropping hot coffee on the clerk, she sends the woman rushing into the bathroom — and right into the customer’s waiting arms. And they waste no time getting down to business, treating the whole shop to a symphonic display of their attraction.
Although a lesser movie than its predecessor, the second “Airplane” movie does feature a scene that highlights just how vital coffee is to the average traveler. Julie Hagerty’s stewardess alerts the passengers of a space shuttle that their navigation system has failed and they’re hurtling hundreds of thousands of miles off course. They seem only mildly miffed until she also informs them they’ve run out of coffee — and that’s when they riot. Which is completely understandable.
In 1987, when “Spaceballs” was released, it seemed like every household and every office had a Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker on the counter. The brand was iconic — iconic enough to make it into Mel Brooks’ satirical “Star Wars” spoof. Of course, the Spaceballs ship would have a giant Mr. Coffee on board, right next to Mr. Radar, so Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) can drink coffee while he watches the radar. Everybody knows that.
More of an aesthetic moment than a plot-driven one, Audrey Hepburn steps out of a taxi in her iconic black dress and pearls, bouffant hair and sunglasses in place, to drink from her classic take-out coffee cup as she gazes into the jewelry store’s window.
“It’s all in the grind,” explains Grimesy, played by Ewan McGregor, as he carefully French presses coffee on a Somalian base. It’s a sentiment many Coffee or Die readers can relate to. This was not what he had signed up to do when he became a U.S. Army Ranger, but you can see a hint of worry on his face when he finds out that he’s about to see action instead of being the guy who keeps track of the cream and sugar.
If this were a list of best TV coffee moments, Special Agent Dale Cooper’s exclamation of “Damn good coffee — and hot!” from “Twin Peaks” would definitely make the list. (So would the time that Pete found a fish in the percolator.) But in the film prequel to the show, a pair of FBI agents also make their way to a diner for some coffee. It’s late at night, or early in the morning depending on your perspective — late enough for Special Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) to trick a sleepy Special Agent Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) into dumping a whole cup all over himself. It’s okay though — it’s unlikely that coffee was nearly as good, or as hot, as the cup Agent Cooper sipped on the show.
The unbearable Weimaraner-owning yuppies (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock) met at Starbucks — but not the same Starbucks. No, they repeatedly saw each other through the windows of two separate Starbucks locations on opposite sides of the same street. Their taste in coffee may have changed over the years, but their love of clothing catalogs remained the same.
Before Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) whacks Stacks Edwards (Samuel L. Jackson), he says his capo Frankie (Frank Sivero) will make them some coffee. Once Stacks is dead, Tommy tells Frankie to make the coffee to go. Not the brightest bulb, Frankie takes him seriously. Maybe Frankie was honestly that thirsty?
Probably the most unconscionable omission from last year’s list, Alec Baldwin’s speech from “Glengarry Glen Ross” is the most indelible moment in the film. His character is named Blake, but we all know him better as Fuck You. He tells Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon) to put down the office coffee pot, because “Coffee is for closers.” Until the salesmen in the firm make good on the leads they’ve been given, not only will they not be caffeinated, but they will have the threat of unemployment hanging over their heads. Good news is, even a middling amount of success will get them coffee — and a set of steak knives.
Maggie BenZvi is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and has worked for the ACLU as well as the International Rescue Committee. She has also completed a summer journalism program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to her work at Coffee or Die, she’s a stay-at-home mom and, notably, does not drink coffee. Got a tip? Get in touch!
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