Things to Do in Denver when You're Dead
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 8.5 Beans
fter "Pulp Fiction," anything people could grab onto as the next big thing got thrown up on screens. Case in point: "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead," which is a horrible movie in many ways.
First: it's a waste of a potentially intriguing cast. Andy Garcia plays a gangster type called Jimmy the Saint who is out of the business, but is called back to do "an action" for The Man With The Plan (a wheelchair-bound Christopher Walken, playing the Christopher Walken character). Cliche plot aside, we are promised in the opening credits that we will see Steve Buscemi. He is indeed the only reason to see the film, but his part is about five minutes total.
Second: it's a waste of time. "Denver" is too long, and that is that. With a plot as simple as this, the movie should be over in 90 minutes. Not so, as a token love interest (Gabrielle Anwar, who looks about seventeen years old) is tossed in to pad the running time. Oh, and Fairuza Balk plays the Hooker With The Heart of Gold. I'm not kidding.
Third: it doesn't work. On any level. As my friend Brian said about 100 minutes in, "This movie has officially failed to set a tone." Is it a black comedy? The opening sequence would have you think so-- look, that guy's trying to kidnap a little girl! How deliciously sinister! The film does not work as a drama, as the characters just do not engage the viewers. Should we feel sorry for them since their planned crime failed? Well, no, because the whole thing goes awry due to one incredibly stupid mistake on the part of Jimmy the Saint. Plus, they deal with Christopher Walken. They knew what they were getting into.
Fourth: well, too many things to go into. Jack Warden plays this character who I guess is supposed to be the God of Criminals, who kind of narrates the movie (it's really that vague). The Video Wills that try to function in supplying subtext are meant to be touching, but come off as annoying. Finally, the ending looks like it was thrown together in real time: The last thirty seconds appear to have been put together in thirty seconds. That is the only excuse I can think for such shoddy work not only in the end, but during the entire film. A horrible throwaway post-"Pulp Fiction" mess.
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