Couch Percolator: Coffee and Cabals

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The conspiracy of Vince Foster's death is finally no longer a conspiracy, according to Kenneth Starr. Of course, he might be in on it with them. So see some of 'them' in the odd thriller The Parallax View (1974), with Warren Beatty as a bush-league reporter snared in conspiratorial quicksand by the murder of a senator. The commission men in the dimly lit hall deliver the movie's stock line: "Although I'm certain that it will do nothing to discourage the conspiracy peddlers, there is no evidence of any wider conspiracy. None whatsoever."

But that and $200,000 will get you a cup of coffee. That and press credentials will get you into The Clinton Coffees, Pts. 1-44 (1997). Just four bucks will get you a coffee movie. But what exactly is a coffee movie? Parallax View was set in Seattle, yet features maybe two cups of the stuff (although one does kill Hume Cronyn). Pam Grier's blaxploitation babe-fest Coffy (1973), despite its many merits, isn't one either.

Diner (1982) is a coffee movie. Bunch of guys, hunched over bottomless cups and greasy food, stabbing out smokes in cheap foil ashtrays, bantering while the sun yawns. A coffee movie is Reservoir Dogs (1992): black suits, thin ties, some talk perhaps of virginity, of appointments, of tipping. Coffee is sallow men, indoor men, men of fluorescent-lit worlds and darker. A coffee movie is Midnight Run (1988): Odd couple on the road and on edge; crabby, dusty and tired. Small white ceramics, with a red stripe at the lip. The happy ending? DeNiro opens a coffee shop.