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The top 10 coffee scenes in movies (with video)

The top 10 coffee scenes in movies (with video) (photo)

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David Lynch, Meg Ryan and Jim Jarmusch all have one thing in common–for some reason, coffee has been a recurring set piece over the course of their careers. The ubiquitous caffeinated beverage’s power to stimulate the brain and draw people together over conversation has propelled storylines in many of their films, and they are not alone.

For a while back in 2006, it even looked like Tom Hanks and Gus van Sant might make a movie about the international coffee peddler Starbucks’ ability save down-and-out families. We have yet to see the “How Starbucks Changed My Life” film go into production, but countless other actors and directors have slipped in sips of java to keep scenes percolating.

Here are ten of the most memorable examples.

10. Agent Kujan makes a mess, “The Usual Suspects” (1995)

Nothing punctuates a moment of surprise in a movie quite like a coffee cup shattering on the floor — except, of course, a coffee cup shattering on the floor three times in a row. Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) gets his milky java all over his office when he finally puts the pieces together at the end of “The Usual Suspects,” and it’s one of the great “a-ha!” moments in all of film. You really have to feel bad for whoever had to clean it up.

9. Kato’s coffee machine, “The Green Hornet” (2011)

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) learned a great deal from his late dad’s mechanic Kato (Jay Chou) in “The Green Hornet.” One of these magical unveilings involved a nearly Willy Wonka-sized hand-built coffee maker, which Kato used to dispense espresso. Most impressive of all, however, was his ability to quickly and confidently execute a fancy, wavy milk-pour. What other superhero sidekick can double as a barista with that level of talent?

8. Tommy asks for his coffee to go, “Goodfellas” (1990)

Stacks (Samuel L. Jackson) doesn’t see it coming when Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) shows up to put a bullet in the back of his head–partially because Tommy keeps an air of normalcy going by asking Frankie (Frank Sivero) to make a pot of coffee. In a classic Pesci moment after the hit, Tommy tells Frankie to make the coffee to go and then berates him for not understanding that the request was a joke.

7. When Hamilton met Meg, “Best in Show” (2000)

In a tale that could have been directly inspired by Tom Hanks’ “You’ve Got Mail” monologue, Hamilton (Michael Hitchcock) and Meg Swan (Parker Posey) relate how they met through their Starbucks habits. Thankfully for the both of them, Hamilton mustered up the courage to cross the street from one Starbucks to another and break the ice. Meanwhile, his grande espresso habit probably makes him the most caffeinated character on this whole list.

6. Love by the toilet, “Amélie” (2001)

In an effort to bring two awkward, would-be lovers together, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) takes the innovative approach of spilling hot coffee on Georgette (Isabelle Nanty) and tricking her into barging into the restroom while Joseph (Dominique Pinon) is cleaning himself up. The momentary scalding turns out to be well worth the pain in the end, as Amélie vents some loud steam to cover up the sounds of Georgette’s moment of pleasure.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.