The Scene, The Coffee, The Culture : The Golden Globes 2016

golden boys and girls

Let the moviegoer not suspend his or her belief that in almost every great film, comes a scene across a table or a cup, of cinematic movement that reveals a character, sets up a story arc, or changes the plot of the movie to such a degree that it in itself makes a picture, great – yes even award season great.

This year, The Golden Globes arrive with many autobiographical tales and book adapted films, delivering to the screens moments of real life and the harsh complexities of that reality.  From the cafe; a white mug of black coffee, near barren coffee tables to Anthora coffee cups themselves, coffee plays a role in some of this years best cinematic moments of will, bravery, vulnerability, including an ear on one of the biggest financial breakdowns in American history. Here are a few films: the scenes, the coffee, the culture.



Carol, The Movie, still



In 1952, Patricia Highsmith wrote a novel, “The Price of Salt.” In 2015, sixty-three years later, director Todd Haynes made “Carol.”  The film starting Cate Blanchett – an actress who  wonderfully plays troubled and complex characters within a social society – as  Carol Aid, whom Therese Belivet  (Rooney Mara), a quirky, camera towing woman still coming of age and of emotions is courted by her feelings and a love she can’t have. The dichotomy of their lives, their morals and their futures plays out throughout the film and in scenes where coffee over it and in the places it inhabits takes center seat as a non-alcoholic buffer.




Room, Still


Based on a novel of the same name, “ROOM” is an entire world of a mother Ma (Brie Larson) and her son Jack,  (Jacob Tremblay) in a literal room where they are held captive by Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) until they escape – Jack first, by a rouse of being dead, upon which he enters the real world.  

After her rescue, the two with the tie of mother and child, must face the world that everyone else is living in and the complex realities of what they’ve been hidden from since she was seventeen and Jacks birth. This scene happens across the living room coffee table where Ma and her mother played by discuss the idea of rest – Will Ma get some? and connection – Will Jack ever be able to? – post being out of the room.


Spotlight, film still

Spotlight, film still

This American drama featuring cinematic heavyweights – Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, and Billy Crudup – is based upon a true story, as many contenders in the best film race.

Following the stories of victims in a child sex abuse case in Boston, uncovered by the “Spotlight” team by the investigative unit at famed newspaper, The Boston Globe.

The film follows The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States and its investigation into the widespread child sex abuse cases in the Boston area. Battling The Boston Catholic Church, the Boston legal system and the power of a story amid the discover of an epic cover up.

This scene shows Mike – Mark Ruffalo – confronting Bobby, Michael Keaton, with the crux of the film in a scene where he fights for the right for the timing to be now, where the spotlight on the lack of morality and justice be brought to the spotlight naming one priest in a stream of up to ninety.

Notice in the background, at the beginning of the scene, a coffee maker and coffee mugs – the latter making many appearances in the newsroom of the Boston Globe fighting for justice not just in word but in print.




The Big Short, film still

The Big Short, film still

A movie, based off of a book of the same name and a true story, where no one paid attention. But, when four different sets of characters begin to see the flaws in the housing market – an eventual bubble due to faulty, unworthy subprime housing loans – what leads to the eventual creation of a credit default swap market, betting against collaterized debt obligation leads to the financial crash of 2007, widely seen in 2008 by Americans.

Director Adam McKay tells all four stories collectively, while maintaining their individual perspective, including the voice of history in the wake of bad loans that broke America, Americans and then spiraled other foreign economies as well. 

Upon first sight of the movies narrator, Jared Vennett played  Ryan Gosling, who up until then, the viewer only hears, is seen at his desk with a coffee clockwise to the left. A bellwether of many moments when coffee makes a desk appearance while discussing business, conducting business and ultimately at the end of the film, Mark Baum, played by Steve Carrel deciding to unload his credit swaps which will earn him 200 million dollars. From grabs of Anthora cups at the office, at self-help meetings to a mug of ones own at the banks, coffee is as much a character in business as business is itself in “The Big Short.”
This still below is from a scene which was monumental for Mark Baum – who aims to right the financial wrongs of the Wall Street world – and his fund crew, as they intercept a wrong number, who tips them off to the future big short.
The Big Short, IMDB

The Big Short, IMDB

Here’s a featurette with Anthora coffee cups – one of the smallest insiders privy to the big short included.


Joy, Still

Joy, Still

Her name is Joy and Jennifer Lawrence plays the real life version of her.. With  joy comes pain and this, Joy; the mother, caregiver, entrepreneur knows all too well. Lawrence, playing a semi-autobiographical tale of divorced woman with two children, who as an adult falls back on her childhood tendency to invent things, pursues the idea of a ‘Miracle Mop’ for a new financial lease on life.

Her ideas are complete with challenges of any entrepreneur, family obligations, funding issues, failed attempts, bad financial advice and extreme personal loss. Despite it all, Joy becomes the embodiment of her name to herself, her children and her family by charting her own path in a multi-generational family story where her imagination eventually turns her patents into a lifelong success aided by selling her products on the Home Shopping Network and QVC in the late 1990’s.

 One of the first scenes of Joy going out into the world as mother and working woman is of her carrying a coffee mug, determined and strong. This is followed by the first time, her father, played byRobert Deniro makes a cameo in his office, which shows vintage coffee tins and betrays the sound of a coffee frinder – this space become the eventual production house of Joy’s invention. Finally, there’s the conversations that happen across the kitchen table with Joy and her lifelong trusted friend, Dascha Polanco as Jackie, expressing her dreams over shared mugs of coffee. Who can’t relate?

This featurette includes Joy carrying that white coffee mug being carried in the snow, Joy’s daughter, Christie, with her mother and maternal grandmother Mimi, played by Diane Ladd, over a play tea set uttering these words, “we’re making an invention and its very serious.” How many of us have dreamed while making make believe. Oh, the joy.





So, does the Danbury prison have coffee for its infamous women inmates? According to a previous real life inmate the viewer can deduce it actually does and thus corroborate that when it appears within the scenes of the Netflix original series that this can actually be considered #facts.

Here’s a note from Piper Kerman, author of “Orange is the New Black: My Year in A Women’s Prison.”

“On Day One I was processed … and then you get put in the general population. I was terrified. Other women began to approach me, and I was really scared,” she says. “But they said ‘do you need toothpaste, do you need shower shoes, do you want a cup of coffee?

Take a look at the Season 3 featurette including the tables. Cue the coffee.