by Lisa Peryman February 14, 2017
The continuing stew over a study last year that found millennials were having less sex than previous generations did at the same age, may leave some feeling ever more pressure this Valentine's Day. Now seems like a good time to suggest a coffee date instead.
It's no secret that millennials are driving up the global demand for coffee. In fact, studies show millennials — born between the early 1980s and 2000 — are drinking more coffee than anyone else.
More coffee, less sex. But don't blame the coffee. Coffee is a sexy-time mood enhancer [so they say]. The point is: the real romance here, for the folks romance is generally marketed to, is coffee.
So what could be more romantic for a coffee-loving millennial on February 14 than getting together with good ol' joe for that most classic of Valentine's Day activities: a movie? Maybe step it up a notch with a movie or television show that includes memorable moments or plots that pivot on a coffee theme. This is especially perfect as it doesn't involve going anywhere and joe will love it.
If you and joe are looking for something fun, frothy and fantastical on the big night, look no further than the 2001 smash hit, Amélie. An eccentric rush of cinematic whimsy, Amélie is an impish café waitress with a sad past who embarks on a mission to turn frowns upside down after the death of Princess Diana — news that shocks our heroine and sets in motion a magical discovery (well, a discovery that she makes magical). Joe will want a long pause on the café scene where Amélie helps a co-worker get her groove back with the help of a scalding cup of coffee. Bonus feature: Set in a Disneyfied version of Paris — the ultimate coffee Valentine fantasy.
For fans of the TV series Gilmore Girls, the show's mile-a-minute dialogue is responsible for its enduring popularity, fueled in no small part by its uber-caffeinated leads (Lorelai Gilmore is estimated to have drunk around 11 cups of coffee over two days in the pilot episode alone). The good news is that a revival of the early-2000's dramedy is currently available on Netflix, the bad news: if you're a fan, you know this and have seen it four times already.
Predating Gilmore Girls by almost a decade is another television cult favourite due to make a comeback this spring: Twin Peaks. Noteworthy for many reasons, Twin Peaks is of particular interest here thanks to the series' protagonist Dale Cooper [captured enthusing below], an idiosyncratic FBI special agent who appreciates a good cup of coffee with exceptional relish. Set in the small Washington state town of the series' title, Twin Peaks is a supernatural soap opera peopled by bizarre locals and demonic entities; part of the fun of watching is trying to figure out what trippy thing will happen next. It may well leave you wondering: is this entire story a cautionary tale about the effects of too much coffee? It will come as no surprise to fans that the show's iconic director, David Lynch, is not only something of a coffee nut, he even has his own signature blend. As Lynch rightly surmises: "Coffee is part of the art life. I don’t know quite how it works, but it makes you feel really good and it serves the creative process." The Twin Peaks revival airs this May on Showtime. Check CraveTV or iTunes to get up to speed on seasons one and two.
For one of moviedom's more memorable moments, stoner superhero adventure, The Green Hornet (with Seth Rogen and Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou), serves up a futuristic fantasy of coffee cool that the industry itself has yet to recover from. Fleeting but affecting, the scene below continues in the collective coffee imaginary as the ultimate in gadgetry, and Chou the ultimate barista boss (in addition to creating super-fast lattes, he commutes to work on a custom Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle). Chou's steampunk espresso machine appears for mere minutes but it really is everything.
Bagdad Café is the story of Jasmin, a German tourist, who splits from her husband in the Mojave Desert and, with nowhere else to go, makes her way to a remote truck-stop café and motel where, like Amélie, she turns funk into friendship and extended family. Some things of note: there is no coffee at the truck-stop when Jasmin gets there (believe it or not, this film is a comedy). Not to worry though, Jasmin also brings with her a thermos containing a seemingly endless supply of it. Bagdad Café — a wildly popular release at the time that became a television series starring Whoopi Goldberg — is definitely an oddball entry (part of its charm) and may not have dated well (owing to its use of stereotypes, albeit deliberately in order to subvert them). What may strike a chord of recognition for some, and a lasting takeaway for newcomers, is the film's yearning theme song, "Calling You", by Jevetta Steele. Consider adding this gem to your coffee playlist. Watch for free on YouTube here.
Another coffee-themed throwback that often makes these lists is You've Got Mail (Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in their romantic comedy heyday, directed by the legendary Nora Ephron). Mail pits independent bookseller (Ryan) against superstore heir (Hanks) and the novel complication, for 1998, of email and mistaken identity. Tech trend tracker CNET calls You've Got Mail an early glimpse of the online dating landscape we now find ourselves in: catfishing, gaslighting, trolling and all that good stuff. The film also features lots of coffee stops at Starbucks, which, again, in 1998 was still something of a thing. But for what should be a surefire Valentine's Day pick, Mail generates some heated responses, both from online forums and media. In 2017, the premise that an independent operator could soften to a shark trying to bankrupt her, who, worse, insults her coffee choices, is less a rom-com and more, as one Reddit user called it, "a pre-9/11 Libertarian fantasy." Buzzfeed reimagined the entire movie in a 2016 context and concluded bookseller Ryan in today's world would more likely lose her business to upped rents than a superstore (since overtaken by Amazon); meanwhile, the Starbucks setting and characters' conversations about coffee would have inflated over time to form 50 percent of the movie's action. In fact, this love story is practically inconceivable now as Ryan would have Googled Hanks at the offset and got cracking on a social media campaign to save her store. Available from iTunes and in bits and pieces on YouTube. The opening credits are a treat.
For a more relevant coffee Valentine, dive into The Devil Wears Prada — a beloved 2006 comedy generally considered that rarest of things, an improvement on the novel it was based on, almost entirely due to standout performances by Meryl Streep as a fierce fashion editor and Emily Blunt as her bitchy senior assistant, with Anne Hathaway playing the fresh blood role. Millennials stressed out by job and money woes will warm to Hathaway's trials and tribulations as an office Cinderella over-qualified for her current circumstances, who turns offense into opportunity. Where's the coffee, you might ask? Naturally, Hathaway is expected to fetch it, over and over again, until, predictably, she gets it right. Available on your laptop library because, come on, it's The Devil Wears Prada (you may even own the DVD).Should you find yourself out of movies and out of coffee, our store at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor is open until 10 p.m. We have Valentine's Day gift packs wrapped and ready for inspiration to go and free chocolate hearts for customers.
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Photography by Lisa Peryman and Richard C. Owens
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