A Coffee in Berlin is a grainy black-and-white movie with a city in its name that opens with a boy and a girl being awkward over smooth jazz. If the previous sentence is insufficient to dissuade you from watching A Coffee in Berlin, I’m not sure if another 650 words will help, yet it is my sworn duty as a member of the Film Critic League of America to do my best. We’re kind of like the Justice League of America, except our only power is incisive sometimes-snark insight and our success rate is way, way lower. Let’s just say that if even Green Arrow were a member of the Film Critic League of America, Michael Bay’s career would have been over with Pearl Harbor at the latest.
A Coffee in Berlin is boring. Really, really boring. It is a film in which a young German mediocrity with no personality is buffeted by socioeconomic forces and odd personalities that wouldn’t buffer anyone with a spine stronger than a toothpick. Imagine Curb Your Enthusiasm, except instead of Larry David there’s a small bowl of day-old Jell-O. Or imagine something you like, and spend 83 minutes daydreaming about it while clipping your toenails or something. You could even imagine something you don’t like. Imagine nothing at all.
A Coffee in Berlin is about a cypher named Niko for whom nothing can go right, mostly because he doesn’t attempt to do anything to make anything go right and seems wholly uninvested in whether anything goes right in his life. Imagine a character in an NES game whose A-button move is ‘mild sarcasm’ and whose B-button move is ‘awkward silence’ and then you have to keep playing and you have no goals and can’t gain any levels and all the NPCs just give long text speeches you can’t skip and you can’t die and can’t turn the game off. I’m encouraging you to use your imagination a lot because literally any quantity of imagination is superior to anything that happens in A Coffee in Berlin.
While I was unlucky enough to have to watch this movie, I was lucky enough to have a streaming link so I could watch it at home. It’s nice to watch a movie with your wife and basset hound for company. At the twenty-minute mark, my wife asked if she could be temporarily excused to call her parents back. She never returned. Ten minutes later, the hound left to go watch her call her parents. He never came back, either.
There is a girl in this movie, and of course our protagonist is such a boring bag of useless he can’t even fail to sleep with her interestingly. Louie, now there’s a show about a guy who can fail to sleep with women in riveting fashion. You can watch Louie on Netflix. A month of Netflix will cost you less than just one ticket to A Coffee in Berlin. You can make your own popcorn, or even bake a cake. You can watch it rise in the oven for an hour. Trust me, it would be more interesting than A Coffee in Berlin.
Occasionally as a film critic you get to watch something really great. That’s awesome. More often, you have to watch something bad. But you know what? At least that’s fun. Writing about why a bad movie is bad is actually kind of great. Try it some time, that’s what the internet is for. But boring is the pits. You can’t write “A Coffee in Berlin is boring” a hundred times and submit it to your editor. Trust me, I was tempted.
Did you know that you can go swimming right after you eat? That whole thing about waiting an hour is a myth. I learned that thanks to Vox.com, they wrote a whole article about it. Swimming is fun. DC has many lovely public pools, and they’re open until 8PM on weekdays so you can totally take a quick dip after dinner. They’re free for residents. Such a nice amenity. Swimming – just one of many, many fun and useful things you can do that is not seeing this movie.