Friday, July 6, 2012

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead

I only heard of this movie because it stole its name from the Warren Zevon song. All I knew about it was the title.

So I wasn’t expecting much when the credits started to roll. Andy Garcia. William Forsythe. Christopher Lloyd. Treat Williams. Jack Warden. Steve Buscemi. Bill Cobbs. Oh. “And Christopher Walken.” (Don Cheadle also has a cameo not noted in the opening.)

Now they have my attention.

This is a solid movie about what happens when you mix with the wrong people and things go tits up. (In this case literally, when Garcia’s crew accidentally kills the girl they’re supposed to be bringing back to the crime boss’s son.) I’ve always liked Andy Garcia, and I appreciate his skill as an actor more all the time. (For a role you’d never expect to see him in, check out Confidence.) Here he pulls off subtlety most actors wouldn’t have the nerve to attempt, especially in a touching scene with Lloyd. This is also the first time I’d seen Lloyd in a straight dramatic role, and he is convincing as the senior member of Garcia’s crew.

The story moves along, the dialog sizzles, and the performances are spot on. The movie lost its ass, according to IMDB. (Budget of $7 million; American gross of about $500,000, though it did better in the UK.) It’s a shame. This is a good example of what can be done on a fairly limited budget, working with professional actors for whom the job is worth more than the check or the media coverage.

Will your life be forever diminished if you don’t see Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead? No. If you like solid, gritty crime stories with solid performances, sharp dialog, a little tongue-in-cheek humor, and bits of pathos that never become maudlin, it’s a well spent couple of hours.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember being disappointed at the reviews when it came out. Have to give it a try.

Paul D Brazill said...

I liked it very much. I like 'death videos' idea. Boat drink!

Dana King said...

It had a lot of nice little touches. Boat drinks and how they shook hands. This is not a timeless classic, but it's a nice little movie that deserved better attention.