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4.0 out of 5 stars
Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead [DVD] [1996]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This 1996 movie directed by Gary Fleder and written by Scott Rosenberg who also wrote Beautiful Girls and Con Air after this superb crime thriller that is often dismissed as a Quentin Tarantino knock-off it has a lot more to offer than that, the excellent Andy Garcia plays the retired Gangster "Jimmy the saint" who is talked into taking one more job.

Christopher Walken still manages to command the scene with intimidation and menace from the confides of a wheelchair as the crime boss who's line "they can die quickly they can die slowly but they must die" was the tag-line to sell the movie when it came out, look out for Steve Buscemi as the relentless hit-man sent to take care of business, the whole cast has a ball with the cleverly written and witty script, at nearly two hours running the time just melts way the film is so enjoyable and "Boat Drinks" to all.

The DVD has a five minute featurette which has short interviews and comments from the key people involved, the transfer is a little grainy during the internal shots and the 5.1 Surround sound could do with an up-date
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2009
Treat Williams is out to lunch and awesome in a career defining role. Other more well known characters (Walken, Garcia etc ) take a step back on this one. The plot revolves around bad men doing bad things to each other. Bossman Garcia gathers a group of misfits togther against his better judgement to do a job for bigger bossman - outlandish wheel chair bound Walken. TW steals the movie for me with his portrail of an unbalanced gunman pushed beyond reason and as the plot develops reasoning. Tight plot twists and antagonistic characters gives the movie edge, pace and suspence to the end. Underated classic sez I.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
or something like that...This film has great dialogue, great soundtrack, cast and a bittersweet plot. Andy Garcia is NOT miscast! I am always amazed more people haven't heard of this film, perhaps something to do with its uncatchy title? Very glad it's on DVD!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2004
Things to do in Denver when you're Dead is one of those movies one struggles to describe. Is it a thriller? Is it a black comedy? Or is it a drama?
Things to do in Denver is many things and that is why it has become one of my favourite movies. Here we have a movie that fits perfectly in with the mid 90s wake of gangster thrillers that was revived by Quentin Tarantino, yet Things to do in Denver moves away from the standard gangster movies for a number of reasons.
First is the underlying messages and metaphors. The grim shady underworld where death is hanging like the sword of damocles, and the philanthropic afterlife advice centre owned by Andy Garcia. Sounds grim? To some maybe, but to others there is a message of hope.
Then there is the razor sharp witt. Characters with memorable names (not least of which is The Man With The Plan) and the razor sharp witt. The dialogue alone will have you reminiscing for weeks.
Then comes the unforgettable atmosphere. This is much more dark and moody than perhaps any crime film I have ever seen. The score, locations and cinematography quite comfortably put the icing on the cake.
Lastly, perhaps the first thing most would judge a movie upon, the performances. Andy Garcia delivers a stellar performance as the leading man, portraying a character who is so honest, polite and noble one has difficulty believing that he is even close to this shady underworld. However, Christopher Walken easily steals the show with his paralysed, yet smooth talking Man With The Plan, who simply radiates with sinister witt.
Perhaps the only criticism of Things to do in Denver is the lack of a cinematic trailer, although the production featurette nicely compensates this with a nice package of interviews that places the special features category into one nice digestable feature.
Overall Things to do in Denver is a finely assembled and original piece of film making with many great ingredients, yet it is far more than the sum of its parts. Things to do in Denver stays in your mind because of its razor sharp witt, unforgettable atmosphere, and its surprisingly touching qualities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead is directed by Gary Fleder and written by Scott Rosenberg. It stars Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, William Forsythe, Bill Nunn, Treat Williams, Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken. Music is by Michael Convertino and cinematography by Elliot Davis.

Jimmy the Saint (Garcia) is a ex-gangster who finds one of his debts has been bought up by his ex boss, The Man With the Plan (Walken). The Man wants Jimmy to assemble a crew to put the frighteners on a guy who stole the girlfriend of his son, Bernard (Michael Nicolosi), who has been so traumatised by the break up he has taken to "bothering" young girls. Calling on four of his old comrades in crime, Jimmy feels it's a simple job that will finally clear him of his gangster debt whilst earning his hard up pals some cash. However, in fighting threatens to destabilise the group and when the "job" invariably goes wrong they all have to deal with the vengeful aftermath of The Man With the Plan.

You wanna throw those pathetic yuks some scratch, I applaud your sensitivity

One of a number of films that surfed in on the wave created by Pulp Fiction, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead is a nifty and potent picture at times, with sharp dialogue, moments of brutalising and a fire-cracker of a neo-noir finale. Yet it's hurt considerably by the ridiculousness of the set up. Film hinges on a "shake down" arrangement that just comes off as a weak excuse for a film, in fact it's bad writing. There are a myriad of ways to set up a heist gone wrong and then have the crims be on the run for their lives, this set up is just pathetic. Buscemi's hit man is poorly conceived, with some glaring confliction in the characterisation, while the Anwar (beautiful and leaving a good impression) love interest angle could have had much more made of it if the makers had had the courage of their convictions.

Give it a name.

Still, if you can allow the annoyance of the crappy set up to subside, then there's strong noir themes to indulge in here. A one time bad boy struggling to escape his past and characters stuck in a bleak destiny influenced rut they can't get out of. There's a pervading sense of depression hanging over the film, which in a twisted way makes for good film, while the character dynamics are strong because the characters are very memorable. Helps, too, that they have awesome names like Jimmy the Saint, Critical Bill, Franchise and Mister Shhh! Acting is very good, with Garcia earning his quality pathos stripes, Williams doing psycho with ease, Forsythe a mighty machismo presence, Lloyd resigned and pitiless and Walken turning in another in his long line of bitter scary bastards.

Worthy of interest to neo-noir fans for sure, but frustration sits in the narrative to stop it being an essential viewing. 6.5/10
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
That this film isn't more widely known and regarded is a crime that only "The man with the plan" would be able to pull off.
It has a great story, with more emotional depth than any of Tarantino's superficially similar movies, and great characters bolstered by excellent performances by an impressive cast.Oh, and also cool catch phrases.
Less a mob film than a film about mobsters it has a human edge that makes you care more than any of the slew of films of this type that were released in the wake of "Res Dogs".
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2012
Born on the back of a number of resivoir dogs inspired movies that cropped up in the early to late nineties. This is another quirky mix of gangsters guns and sharply written speach from a mixed cast of both old and new actors (at the time).

Andy Garcia leads a group of mixed (but not bad) gang members, that undertake a simple task for the (always brilliant) Christopher Walken, to shake up a low life, that ends in predictable carnage.

Needless to say after a botched attempt at the job, they are now marked men. Garcia attempts to get them out of a bad situation, but big old bad Mr Walken has other plans, leading to some deaths.

A Entertaining, quirky film with a good soundtrack, though not great in all it's attempts to be like a Res' dogs or a Goodfellas, it does run at a reasonable quick pace, has some story and script surprises, and features a fine cast, as well as a few twists, with a very strange, but apt ending, this is a good slice of 90's film making, that will perhaps become a classic of that era.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2008
a lesser known but almost perfect gangster (kind of) film that deserves wider audience and aknowlegement.. a film of small budget but with a big heart. Andy Garcia, perfectly cast, (one of the most under rated actors of recent times in my opinion), providing his usual edge and a Christopher Walken stealing the show with a fearsome perfomance, proving that deerhunter, many yrs ago was not a one off..
Perfect acting all around, many interesting characters, sharp witty dialogue, cool catchphrases and niknames, suspense and true emotion give unexpected depth to this little story mixing romance, friendship, revenge and honour..
And ok , the basis of it that a mature tough crew of mafia have beens are given such a simple task and manage to f.k it up, might be somewhat faltered, but the story develops so well that u totally forget about it.. a little diamond of a film that can be watched and enjoyed equally from both men and women (and how often can u say that for a gangster movie!).
"boat drinks" guys....
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
'Things To Do' is Big 'Small' Film, if you see what I mean. It boasts a tremendous cast, with Christopher Walken excellent as the wheelchair-bound hoodlum boss. It also contains some great catchphrases: "Give It A Name'. 'Boat Drinks', etc, an makes the best of some weaker actors, such as Treat Williams, who is excellent as the psycho case who derails Garcia and co's gravy train. Also brilliant is the underrated Fairuza Balk, who plays a drug-addled young hooker, trying to straighten out her life. The film also has some great set-pieces, only marred by the 'love interest' involving Garcia, which to me interrupts the flow of what is a hugely entertaining, and even poignant film. Well worth a look - or two.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2000
This movie is not the average gangster movie that you expect. It is the story about our life, friendship and the cruel world that we are living in. How true are those after life advices. The dialogue is clever and carefully planned. There are also some romantic scenes when Jimmy the Saint (played by Andy Garcia) met his new girlfriend. Andy Garica is excellent and he delivered a great performance in this movie.
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