Five people's lives that are curiously intertwined happen to all be at a diner at the same time. An old man (Hall) gives advice to a young man (Baltz) about his cheating wife and best friend. A newlywed couple argues over the wife loosing money in Vegas playing craps. And a hit man buys some coffee and cigarettes and greets the man in his trunk. Written by Chadd
A major portion of "Cigarettes and Coffee" was later adapted, expanded and basically re-made into p.t. Anderson's first feature film, "Hard Eight". The most interesting part of "Cigarettes" was later used as the first scene for "Hard Eight"--in both Phillip Baker Hall's character interrogates a young drifter in a roadside diner and explains a few things about life and the art of conversation to him. In "Hard Eight" the two then go on to have a father-son type relationship in a fairly straightforward narrative (the most straightforward of any of p.t.'s later films). Here in the seminal "Cigarettes and Coffee", however, Baker Hall's conversation with the young man is only one of three happening simultaneously in the diner. P.T. cuts between the three, and we soon learn that the lives of the three seemingly-unrelated sets of characters do actually intersect in unexpectd ways. In this way, the short film is much more like the director's recent Altman-inspired "Magnolia" than it it either "Hard Eight" or "Boogie Nights." "Cigarettes and Coffee" has played on The Sundance Channel (or was it The Independent Film Channel?) quite frequently.
...The film he made was Cigarettes & Coffee (1993), a short film
made for $20,000 connecting multiple story lines with a twenty-dollar bill
. The film was screened at the 1993 Sundance Festival
Shorts Program and he decided to expand the film into a feature length film and was subsequently invited to the 1994 Sundance filmmakers' lab