The Man Who Wasn’t There

The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

TOBACCO INCIDENTS 315
AVG PER MINUTE 2.86
EDITION USA Entertainment DVD released April 16, 2002
MOVIE SUMMARY A barber blackmails his wife’s lover so he can invest in a dry cleaning business.
TOBACCO IN SHORT The barber is a chainsmoker and the wife’s lover smoke cigars.
POSSIBLE SMOKESCREENS (?) The blowjob & car accident, the strange UFO stuff, Billy Bob getting the electric chair.
TOBACCO INCIDENTS: 315

AVG PER MINUTE: 2.86

First visual frame at 0:31
Last visual frame at 110:15
Total visual running time: 109:44

# TIME ANGLE DESCRIPTION
1 1:55 HH A customer passes in front of a decorative pedistal ashtray inside the barber shop.
It’s nearly invisible the way this ashtray is revealed… The motion of the actor combined with camera movement… These boys are getting so smooth you’ll never notice!
2 2:20 Dolly in The base of the previous ashtray is visible behind some falling hair clippings.
3 2:50 CU First view of Billy Bob Thornton with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
4-6 3:00 ES Wide view inside the barber shop: Billy Bob Thornton sits in a barber chair smoking a cigarette; same ashtray from earlier is visible plus a new silver pedistal ashtray by the front door.
7 3:27 CU Billy Bob Thornton lights up a cigarette with a Zippo lighter then camera pans down to begin the hairstyle montage.
Interesting here that the narration mentions the key to being a barber but the segment begins by Billy Bob lighting a cigarette in closeup before panning down to the actual hairstyle montage.
8 3:42 CU In an exact mirror, the camera pans back up to Billy Bob Thornton smoking a cigarette directly after the hairstyles montage.
9 4:00 Dolly in A glass ashtray is visible next to the telephone as Frances McDormand gets dressed in the bedroom.
10 4:44 CU Close view of Billy Bob Thornton as he lets out a puff of smoke.
11-14 4:47 OTS Frances McDormand plays bingo beside a cigarette case & smoking ashtray, Billy Bob Thornton holds a lit cigarette & a background smoker is also visible.
Basically Doris’s cig & ashtray are invisible here because you don’t yet know she smokes… You never see Doris smoking except to take a single drag from Billy Bob’s cigarette whilst she’s in the bathtub later on.
15-19 4:51 MD Billy Bob Thornton smokes his cigarette with a pack of cigarettes & same ashtray nearby, two background smokers are visible.
20-21 4:57 CU Smoke rises in front of Frances McDormand from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen, a background smoker is also visible.
22-24 5:01 CU “Bingo!” Smoke rises behind Frances McDormand from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen, two background smokers are visible.
25-26 5:17 HH/ES Billy Bob Thornton sits on the couch smoking a cigarette; an ashtray is seen on the coffee table.
27 5:42 MD Billy Bob Thornton sits at the dinner table smoking a cigarette.
There appears to be a collection of different ashtrays in the cabinet behind Doris during the dinner sequence with James Gandolfini.
28 6:16 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton sits at the dinner table smoking a cigarette.
29 6:26 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton sits at the dinner table smoking a cigarette.
30 6:32 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton sits at the dinner table smoking a cigarette.
31 6:38 ES Wide view of dinner table; Billy Bob Thornton is smoking a cigarette.
32 6:47 OTS Billy Bob Thornton smoking a cigarette on the front porch; the smoke glows brightly in the light.
33 7:04 OTS/Dolly out Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton smoking on the front porch.
34 7:26 OTS Smoke rises in front of James Gandolfini from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen.
35 7:38 OTS Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises from his implied cigarette offscreen.
36 7:41 OTS Repeat of James Gandolfini as smoke rises from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen.
37 7:49 OTS Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises from his implied cigarette offscreen.
38 7:54 OTS Repeat of James Gandolfini as smoke rises from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen.
39 8:00 OTS Repeat of James Gandolfini as smoke rises from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen.
40 8:05 OTS Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises from his implied cigarette offscreen.
41 8:07 OTS Repeat of James Gandolfini as smoke rises from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen.
42 8:12 OTS Repeat of James Gandolfini as smoke rises from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette offscreen.
43 8:18 ES Wide view of the front of the house; Billy Bob Thornton lets out a puff of smoke.
44-45 8:35 ES Repeat of wide view inside barber shop: same two ashtrays are visible from before.
46 9:09 MD An ashtray full of butts is visible on a table with the magazines.
47 9:17 MD Repeat of ashtray full of butts on a table with the magazines.
48 12:15 Zoom Billy Bob Thornton stands in the doorway smoking a cigarette.
49 12:18 ES Silhouette view of Billy Bob Thornton standing in the doorway smoking a cigarette while Frances McDormand bathes in the background.
This dramatic silhouette is one of the most iconic shots from the movie.
50 12:51 HH Continued from previous: Billy Bob Thornton moves out of silhouette & appears in a vanity mirror with a cigarette in his mouth. (bonus point!)
51 13:13 CU Closeup of Billy Bob Thornton smoking a cigarette while shaving Frances McDormand’s legs offscreen.
52 13:33 CU Frances McDormand in bathtub dialog: “Gimme a drag.”
53 13:36 CU Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton closeup as he removes the cigarette from his mouth.
54 13:39 CU Frances McDormand takes a long drag from the cigarette and hands it back to Billy Bob Thornton.
55 13:46 CU Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton closeup as he puts the cigarette back in his mouth.
56 13:51 CU Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton closeup as smoke rises from his implied cigarette offscreen.
57 13:54 ES A bright shiny ashtray appears on a table in the hotel hallway behind Billy Bob Thornton.
58 14:00 HH A small glass ashtray is revealed behind Billy Bob Thornton’s head as he steps into Dry Cleaner man’s hotel room.
59 14:08 ES Repeat of Dry Cleaner man’s hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
60 14:18 ES Repeat of Dry Cleaner man’s hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
61 14:31 ES Closer view of Dry Cleaner man’s hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
62 14:40 ES Repeat of closer view of hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
63 15:12 ES Alternate view of hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
64 15:22 ES Repeat of alternate view of hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
65 16:19 ES Repeat of alternate view of hotel room; same small glass ashtray is visible on nightstand.
66 17:05 HH Billy Bob Thornton grabs his cigarette and takes a drag after finishing a young boy’s flattop haircut.
67 17:15 MD Smoke rises in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette held offscreen.
68 17:27 MD Repeat of smoke rising in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette offscreen.
69 17:42 HA Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton smoking behind the same young boy reading a comic book.
70 17:56 HA Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton smoking behind the same young boy reading a comic book.
71-72 18:07 ES The silver pedistal ashtray & ashtray near the magazines are both visible as the boy exits the barber shop.
73 18:10 HA Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton smoking behind the now empty barber chair.
74 18:18 MD Smoke rises in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette held offscreen.
75 18:26 MD Repeat of smoke rising in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette offscreen.
76 18:35 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton smoking behind the barber chair.
77-78 19:04 Dolly in Billy Bob Thornton grabs a cigarette from Frances McDormand’s vanity counter & takes a drag in the mirror.
79 19:16 Dolly in Billy Bob Thornton lights a cigarette at the Nirdlinger’s department store dance.
80 19:43 MD Billy Bob Thornton smokes his cigarette while other Nirdlinger’s guests visit him.
81-83 20:06 HH James Gandolfini removes two cigars from a cigar box, pokes holes in the ends, and hands one to Billy Bob Thornton.
84 20:30 HH Continued from previous: an ashtray is visible between profile of Billy Bob Thornton & James Gandolfini as they light their cigars.
* ??:??   [Fix this gap in time!]
85 21:16 MD Billy Bob Thornton grabs James Gandolfini’s cigar to keep him from burning himself.
86 21:26 OTS Smoke rises in front of James Gandolfini from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigars offscreen.
87-88 21:36 MD Billy Bob Thornton holds a cigar in each hand now.
89 21:46 OTS Smoke rises in front of James Gandolfini from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigars offscreen.
90-91 21:53 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar in each hand; he puts one down in the implied ashtray offscreen.
92 22:15 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton now holding only one cigar.
93 22:24 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
94 22:39 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
95 23:10 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
96 23:18 OTS In the reversal shot toward James Gandolfini, the tip of Billy Bob Thornton’s cigar is visible.
97 23:35 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
98 23:43 OTS Repeat of the reversal toward James Gandolfini, the tip of Billy Bob Thornton’s cigar is visible.
99 23:52 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
100 24:00 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
101 24:10 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a cigar.
102-103 24:22   Repeat of profile of Billy Bob Thornton & James Gandolfini: Billy Bob Thornton holds a cigar & same ashtray is visible in between.
104 24:36 FS Billy Bob Thornton lights & smokes a cigarette as he walks through empty parts of Nirdlinger’s department store.
105 25:13 MD/Dolly Billy Bob Thornton continues to smoke a cigarette as he seeks out a piano melody.
106 26:30 MD Smoke rises in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette offscreen.
107 26:38 MD Repeat of smoke rising in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette offscreen.
108 26:48 MD Repeat of smoke rising in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette offscreen.
109 27:03 MD Repeat of smoke rising in front of Billy Bob Thornton from his implied cigarette offscreen.
110 27:51 ES A man smoking a cigarette stands next to the hotel entrance but is ultimately covered up by James Gandolfini.
111 27:57 MD Billy Bob Thornton holds a lit cigarette as he watches from inside his car.
112 28:02 ES Repeat of smoking man standing near the hotel entrance.
113 28:06 WS First floor hallway: Billy Bob Thornton lifts the top from a cannister ashtray to grab something underneath.
114-115 28:29 Crane Second floor hallway: camera quickly raises one story to reveal similar cannister ashtray & bright shiny ashtray on table.
116 29:21 OTS Billy Bob Thornton pops out a cigarette from his pack and grabs it with his lips.
117 29:29 OTS Billy Bob Thornton is now smoking the cigarette.
118 29:41 MD Billy Bob Thornton sits down holding the lit cigarette.
119 30:02 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
120 30:21 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
121 30:25 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
122 30:36 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
123 30:51 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
124 30:57 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
125 31:55 CU Billy Bob Thornton’s hand & lit cigarette pass through the frame quickly right in front of a young boy’s face.
126 31:57 CU Closeup of Billy Bob Thornton taking a drag from his cigarette.
127 32:06 HH A man with a cigar in his mouth walks behind Billy Bob Thornton.
128 32:15 CU Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton closeup as he smokes a cigarette.
129-130 32:19 ES At least two men can be seen with cigars.
131 32:26 OTS Billy Bob Thornton walks over with a lit cigarette in his hand.
132 33:05 HH Wide view of walking Frances McDormand & Billy Bob Thornton with a cigarette in his hand.
133 33:07 OTS Closer view of talking Frances McDormand & Billy Bob Thornton as he exhales a puff of smoke.
134 34:30 Zoom in Same glass ashtray next to phone as Billy Bob Thornton carries Frances McDormand to bed (seen previously in #9 – getting dressed).
135 35:18 HH Same glass ashtray is seen again as the phone rings & Billy Bob Thornton answers.
136 39:12 HH A large decorative ashtray is seen on James Gandolfini’s desk as he throws Billy Bob Thornton around.
* 38:05 Dolly in What appears to be a leather cigar case that would hold two cigars is visible on James Gandolfini’s desk.
* 38:05 Dolly in What appears to be a cigarette case with a Zippo lighter on top is also visible on James Gandolfini’s desk.
* 39:46 OTS Billy Bob Thornton stabs James Gandolfini in the neck with the small cigar tool (seen previously in #81-83).
137 40:10 Pan Camera pans up to show the same decorative ashtray & cigar case on the messy desk.
138 43:51 HH Billy Bob Thornton with cigarette in hand as he exits the barber shop with the two police detectives.
139-140 43:55 ES Billy Bob Thornton with cigarette in hand & one of the detectives has a cigarette in his mouth outside the barber shop.
141-142 44:02 2S In a closer view, one detective takes a drag & the other pulls out his pack of cigarettes.
143-145 44:10 2S Repeat of two detectives; one smokes & the other offers Billy Bob Thornton a cigarette with dialog: “Cigarette?”
Would the Coen brothers really go to this much trouble to illustrate how stupid this police detective is by offering a cigarette to someone who’s already holding one? Obviously, these are not the world’s brightest detectives, but this really just seems like one more way to flash some cigarettes across the screen — virtually offering one to the audience.
146 44:17 MD Billy Bob Thornton gives a look and raises his hand into frame holding a lit cigarette.
147-148 44:19 2S Repeat of two detectives; one smokes and the other lights his cigarette with a Zippo lighter.
149-150 44:45 2S Repeat of two detectives; both continue smoking their cigarette.
151-152 44:52 2S Repeat of two detectives; both continue smoking their cigarette.
153-154 45:09 2S Repeat of two detectives; both continue smoking their cigarette.
155-156 45:15 2S Repeat of two detectives; both continue smoking their cigarette.
157-158 45:27 2S Repeat of two detectives; both continue smoking their cigarette.
* 46:30 MD A whiskey bottle with a Rosewood brand label is seen on Walter Abundis’ porch table.
159 48:12 MD Billy Bob Thornton licks his lips and pulls an unlit cigarette from the pack with his mouth.
160 48:26 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he exhales a very small puff of smoke.
161 48:42 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he exhales another puff of smoke.
162 48:48 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he exhales another puff of smoke.
163 48:56 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he exhales another puff of smoke.
164-165 49:10 Dolly out Camera pulls back to reveal Billy Bob Thornton’s hand holding a lit cigarette & a pack of cigarettes with Zippo on top.
166 49:17 MD Bust view of Billy Bob Thornton as he smokes his cigarette while waiting in the prison visiting room.
167-168 49:30 MD Wider view of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette while same pack is visible on table.
169-170 49:34 ES Perpendicular view of prison visiting room shows Billy Bob Thornton with cigarette & same pack on table as Frances McDormand arrives.
171-172 49:44 OTS Repeat of wider Billy Bob Thornton with lit cigarette & pack on table, Frances McDormand now sitting in foreground.
173 49:48 OTS Reversal shot toward Frances McDormand shows smoke rising from Billy Bob Thornton’s cigarette held just offscreen.
174-175 49:51 OTS Repeat of wider Billy Bob Thornton with lit cigarette & pack on table.
176 50:00 OTS Repeat of Frances McDormand reversal as Billy Bob Thornton’s cigarette hand slides Frances McDormand her glasses.
177-178 50:03 OTS Repeat of wider Billy Bob Thornton with lit cigarette & pack on table.
179 50:08 OTS Repeat of Frances McDormand reversal with smoke rising from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette.
180-181 50:13 OTS Repeat of wider Billy Bob Thornton with lit cigarette & pack on table.
182 50:15 OTS Repeat of Frances McDormand reversal with smoke rising from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette.
183-184 50:20 OTS Repeat of wider Billy Bob Thornton with lit cigarette & pack on table.
185 50:25 MD Closer view of Frances McDormand with smoke rising from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette.
186 50:27 MD Closer view of Billy Bob Thornton with smoke rising from the implied cigarette.
187 50:30 MD Repeat of Frances McDormand close view with smoke rolling across the screen.
188 50:41 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton close view with smoke rising from his implied cigarette.
189 50:45 OTS Repeat of Frances McDormand wider view with smoke rising from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette.
190 50:52 ES Repeat of perpendicular view of visiting room shows Billy Bob Thornton smoking a cigarette.
191 50:57 MD Repeat of Frances McDormand close view with smoke rolling across the screen.
192 51:03 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton close view as he exhales some smoke.
193 51:09 MD Repeat of Frances McDormand close view with smoke rolling across the screen.
194 51:13 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton close view as smoke rises from his implied cigarette.
195 51:15 MD Repeat of Frances McDormand close view with smoke rolling across the screen.
196-197 51:21 ES Billy Bob Thornton sitting in barber chair with a lit cigarette in hand, same pedistal ashtray is visible in background.
198-199 51:40 ES Billy Bob Thornton attempts to light a cigarette while waiting in the bank lobby, another pedistal ashtray is clearly visible.
200-201 52:10 ES/Pan up Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton with an unlit cigarette and pedistal ashtray is visible as Frank stands up.
202 52:14 ES Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton with an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
203 52:24 ES Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton with an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
204 52:43 HA Alternate view of Billy Bob Thornton with an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
205-209 52:52 WS Wide view of bank lobby show Billy Bob Thornton with cigarette, a pack sitting atop his hat & three matching pedistal ashtrays nearby.
Billy Bob Thornton is literally surrounded by ashtrays in this shot and yet he was unable to light his cigarette before, getting only sparks from his lighter.
210-212 53:09 Zoom in Closer view of Billy Bob Thornton in bank lobby, same pack sitting atop his hat & one pedistal ashtray are clearly visible, Billy Bob Thornton finally lights up.
213 53:34 ES Billy Bob Thornton takes a drag and flicks his cigarette before walking across the street.
214 55:25 CU Closeup of Billy Bob Thornton taking a drag from his cigarette whilst driving.
215 55:40 TS At least one man can be seen smoking in the sidewalk crowd.
* 60:17 HH Freddy Reidenschneider mentions James Gandolfini’s little cigar trimmer tool / murder weapon.
216-218 63:25 Dolly in Inside the hotel lobby Billy Bob Thornton with a cigarette in his mouth & a man in background ashes into a pedistal ashtray.
219 64:47 Crane A large glass ashtray is momentarily visible on the counter behind the guy in the barber chair.
220 65:10 Dolly in Billy Bob Thornton takes a drag from his cigarette in the middle of barbering someone.
221-222 65:58 ES Billy Bob Thornton takes a drag from his cigarette & the same pedistal ashtray is visible in background.
223 66:17 CU Repeat of closeup Billy Bob Thornton taking a drag from his cigarette whilst driving.
224 66:25 CU Alternate closeup of Billy Bob Thornton taking a drag from his cigarette whilst driving.
225 75:24 TS Billy Bob Thornton steps out of a deep shadow and walks toward camera with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
226 75:35 OTS Reversal shows smoke rising over Billy Bob Thornton’s shoulder.
227 75:42 MD Closer view of Billy Bob Thornton smoking a cigarette as he talks to young Scarlett Johansson.
228 76:00 2S Smoke is seen rising from Billy Bob Thornton’s implied cigarette held offscreen.
229 76:05 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton with smoke rising from his implied cigarette.
230 76:10 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he takes a drag from his cigarette.
231 76:21 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he exhales a puff of smoke.
232 76:43 WS Billy Bob Thornton walks away with a lit cigarette in his hand.
233 79:30 ES The pedistal ashtray is visible next to Billy Bob Thornton sitting in the barber shop.
234-235 80:05 Zoom out Billy Bob Thornton with a cigarette in his mouth whilst cutting someone’s hair, his personal ashtray is finally visible.
236 80:37 MD/TS Billy Bob Thornton with a cigarette in his mouth, lights up whilst walking down the street.
237 80:57 MD/TS Billy Bob Thornton with a cigarette in his mouth however the cig is much shorter now as continues walking home.
A girl jumpropes in her front yard in the background of Billy Bob Thornton’s head & cigarette as he arrives home.
238 81:04 HH/Dolly in Two ashtrays are visible on tables as Billy Bob Thornton sits on the couch.
* 81:50 CU The Life magazine article on dry cleaning titled “Next to Godliness” appears here.
239-240 82:30 ES/FS An ashtray & pack of cigarettes is visible next to Billy Bob Thornton on the magazine table.
241-242 82:36 OTS Repeat of ashtray & pack of cigarettes next to Billy Bob Thornton on the magazine table.
243-245 82:53 ES EAST-Three glass ashtrays are spaced out down the smoke-filled bar in this perspective shot.
246 83:07 ES Continued from previous: Billy Bob Thornton pulls a cigarette from the pack and lights up with a Zippo lighter.
247-250 83:42 WS WEST-Reversal looking down the bar; smoke from Billy Bob Thornton’s cigarette, another patron smokes & two glass ashtrays are clearly visible.
251-254 83:45 WS EAST-Repeat of earlier shot looking down the bar; Billy Bob Thornton holds a lit cigarette & same three glass ashtrays are visible.
255-257 84:10 WS WEST-Repeat of reversal; Billy Bob Thornton & bar patron smoke however one of the two glass ashtrays is obscured by Billy Bob Thornton’s coffee mug.
258-260 84:44 WS EAST-Repeat of earlier bar short; Billy Bob Thornton smokes however one of the three glass ashtrays is obscured by the detective’s glass of rye whiskey.
261 85:33 ES Billy Bob Thornton knocks on a numbered door with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
262 86:43 ES/HA Billy Bob Thornton prepares to exit the decroative arched doorway of a building and lights a cigarette before walking down the stairs.
This beautiful scene made of hard shadows & silhouettes marks one of the most iconic shots in the movie & is seen in all the trailers etc.
263 87:57 MD Billy Bob Thornton pulls out a pack of cigarettes and pops up two from the pack’s opening.
264 88:07 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he almost puts a cigarette in his mouth.
265 88:10 FS Sitting on her bed, Scarlett Johansson dialog: “Pop doesn’t like people smoking in here.”
266-267 88:13 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton with a cigarette in his mouth and holding a pack of cigarettes.
268 88:20   Repeat of Scarlett Johansson & additional dialog: “Sometimes I have a cigarette when he’s away… but never when he’s home, he can smell it a mile off.”
269 90:46 ES/MD Billy Bob Thornton sits with a lit cigarette in his hand.
270 90:55 ES/MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton with a lit cigarette in his hand.
271 90:57 MD Alternate view of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises quickly from his implied cigarette offscreen.
272-273 91:05 ES Billy Bob Thornton walks into the room smoking & takes a drag at center screen, then the piano teacher grabs a cigarette.
274-275 91:35 HH Billy Bob Thornton stands holding a lit cigarette, then the piano teacher walks over with his lit cigarette in a holder.
276 91:44 MD Alternate view of Billy Bob Thornton as he stands holding a lit cigarette.
277 91:47 MD Closer view of piano teacher smoking & talking.
278 92:00 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he stands holding a lit cigarette.
279 92:02 MD Repeat of piano teacher smoking & talking.
280 92:05 TS Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he stands holding a lit cigarette.
281-283 92:09 WS Wider view of Billy Bob Thornton & piano teacher smoking cigarettes, a pedistal ashtray is clearly visible.
284 92:12 MD Closer view of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises from his implied cigarette.
285 92:15 MD Closer view of piano teacher as smoke rises from his cigarette.
286 92:23 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
287 92:29 MD Repeat of piano teacher holding a lit cigarette.
288 92:34 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises from his implied cigarette.
289-290 92:36 WS Repeat of wider view; Billy Bob Thornton holds a lit cigarette & piano teacher’s cigarette now rests in the same pedistal ashtray.
291-292 92:40 HH Continued from previous: Another pedistal ashtray sits near the piano & teacher’s cigarette case is also visible.
293 92:48 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he stands holding a lit cigarette.
294 93:14 OTS Closer view of Billy Bob Thornton as smoke rises from his implied cigarette offscreen.
295 93:20 HH The piano teacher returns to the couch next to the same pedistal ashtray.
296 93:33 Dolly in Closer view of piano teacher relaxing with his cigarette in hand.
297 93:45 MD Repeat of piano teacher gesturing with a cigarette in his hand.
298 96:37 MD Billy Bob Thornton sits with a lit cigarette in his hand and checks his watch.
299 96:45 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton as he takes a drag from his cigarette.
300 97:02 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
301 97:26 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
302 97:42 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
303 98:08 MD Repeat of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
304 98:28 FS/LA Alternate view of Billy Bob Thornton holding a lit cigarette.
305-308 98:55 ES/HH Frances McDormand with a spirited drink walks over & sits on the couch; at least four ashtrays are visible.
309-312 99:01 Dolly in Billy Bob Thornton with cigarette in hand walks over & sits on the couch; at least three ashtrays are visible.
313 102:36 Dolly in Billy Bob Thornton sits in his cell smoking a cigarette with his left arm broken.
Almost every shot of Ed holding a cigarette until now used his left hand with wedding band clearly visible, as if Ed was instead married to his cigarettes rather than his real wife.
314 106:04 Dolly in Billy Bob Thornton writes on paper in his prison cell while smoking a cigarette.
315 106:22 MD/LA Closer view of Billy Bob Thornton smoking a cigarette in his prison cell at lights out.

Additional Thoughts…

The Coen brothers’ only venture into black & white, The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) is about an everyman barber Ed Crane (played by actor Billy Bob Thornton) who blackmails his wife’s lover in order to be a silent partner in a Dry Cleaning business. As the Coen brothers have said: “It’s a movie about a barber who wants to be a dry-cleaner.” Good stuff. Kind of like that Fargo (1996) thing where a car dealer wants the ransom money to buy a parking lot. Real deep stuff here.

Either way you slice it, this noir style film set in 1950s America obviously provided the Coen brothers many opportunities to glamorize cigarettes in stunning black & white. And they sure didn’t hesitate to capture the magic… In The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) you will find many beautiful shots of celebrity actors smoking in silhouette, in doorways and casting shadows, cigarette smoke glowing in the moonlight, etc, etc, etc.

In one scene, Billy Bob Thornton’s beautiful cigarette-smoking silhouette hugs a doorframe in contrast to his wife sitting in the background bathtub. The Coens paint a lovely picture of a husband and wife who aren’t really in love, who don’t speak much, but who still manage to share one small thing. Guess what that is… Cigarettes! From the bath tub she cries “Gimmie a drag, hun” and Thornton literally gives her a drag.

Despite not having the highest number of tobacco incidents, The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) actually feels like the Coen brothers’ movie where cigarettes spend the most time onscreen. How is this possible? Since this movie takes place in a sleepy town around 1950, the film’s pacing is kind of like Mayberry. Many shots linger on so long that if Billy Bob is smoking a cigarette in the scene, that cigarette sure gets to spend a helluva time up onscreen… Usually just as much time as Billy Bob hisself.

“I smoked like a fiend throughout the movie; non-filtered Chesterfields.”
-Billy Bob on the DVD commentary for The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

Thankfully Billy Bob’s chainsmoking didn’t compete with his actual job as a barber in the film; if you look he was easily able to smoke cigarettes whilst giving children their classic haircuts.

[ insert still image of Billy Bob smoking over child haircut ]

Billy Bob also mentors a young girl whilst continuing his chainsmoking! One night sitting on her bed, Scarlett Johansson gives kids all the advice they need: “Pop doesn’t like people smoking in here. Sometimes I have a cigarette when he’s away… but never when he’s home, he can smell it a mile off.” After Billy Bob meets Scarlett Johansson in the film, he does his best to help advance her career as a piano player. In one scene, Scarlett Johansson even auditions for a French piano teacher who casually lights up a cigarette with Billy Bobs immediately after young Scarlett’s piano audition.

Later on in The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), a small cigar knife also plays a dramatic role as a murder weapon and ultimately becomes a damning piece of evidence in court. The ransom aspect of this film might be an echo of the Jerry Lundegard thing back in Fargo (1996) where he needed money to buy a parking lot, but this cigar knife thing sounds more like an echo of the Zippo lighter as evidence thing from the Coens’ first feature Blood Simple (1984).

Besides being visually artistic, The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) is actually one of the more spiritual films by the Coens with several moments of deep reflection that really take you out of the rest of the hum-drum life of Ed Crane Billy Bob the Barber… One of the more memorable narrations from Billy Bob: “Maybe Walter found something there in the old county courthouses, hospital file rooms, city archives, property rolls, registries… Something maybe like what I found listening to Birdie play. Some kind of escape. Some kind of peace.”

I absolutely love these moments from the film. The parts where Billy Bobs gives his inspiring narration over a few random moments in The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) are my absolute favorites… But later on after my tobacco epiphany, these moments are ones where I felt the most cheated by the Coen brothers. All of my own hopes and dreams had been inexplicably crushed. I mean, how could someone so talented and so thought-provoking, so very well calculated simply use all of this energy and resource just to make a movie about cigarettes? In these moments, my starry-eyed view of Hollywood had died just a little. How could my biggest heroes in the world have a bigger allegiance to tobacco than they do to the magic of film?

The film’s ominous conclusion shows Thornton deeply contemplating the twists and turns as he pens his life story for a men’s magazine whilst sitting on death row… But alas the scene obviously wouldn’t be complete without Billy Bobs enjoying one last cigarette at “lights out”, the cherry tip and smoke still glowing bright in the darkness. Shortly after this moment, Thornton’s character gets the electric chair.

Narration from the penultimate scene: “Well, it’s like pulling away from the maze. While you’re in the maze, you go through willy nilly, turning where you think you have to turn, banging into the dead ends, one thing after another. But you get some distance on it, and all those twists and turns, why, they’re the shape of your life. It’s hard to explain, but seeing it whole gives you some peace.”

Billy Bob’s only “peace” seems to come from having a cigarette in his hand or in his mouth. The Coen brothers only real agenda in life seems to be depicting tobacco onscreen, not making a film that would truly inspire.