Thursday, April 23, 2015

Only now does it occur to me... THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD

Only now does it occur to me... that even in a movie where he's in a wheelchair,

Note the wig.

Christopher Walken manages to shoehorn in... a dance sequence!

Granted, it's via a short-lived flashback, but boy oh boy does the man love to dance.

In all, THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD is sort of a mediocre "Guys Doing a Job" crime movie, injected with 90s indie quirkiness and a slightly out-of-place existential tone.  Clearly, the Weinsteins were trying to capture some Tarantino-ish lightning in a bottle once again, but it doesn't quite take.   However, the Guys Doing the Job are a terrific ensemble, as Andy Garcia assembles a team that includes trailer trash William Forsythe, sporting rainbow-colored tattoos and looking like his character from STONE COLD:

Christopher Lloyd as a crabby porno theater projectionist who's always complaining about how he just "lost a toe!":

Treat Williams as a psychotic ex-boxer and current funeral home employee who trains using corpses as punching bags:

and Bill Nunn, shot from low angles like his character Radio Raheem from DO THE RIGHT THING:

Bill Nunn in Denver...

...and Bed-Stuy.

Plus, we got Fairuza Balk as a streetwalker

doing that same sassy/punk/smartass thing she does in almost every 90s movie, but that's why we love her.

And closing it out over here is Steve Buscemi as "Mister Shhh," the master hitman––
who feels more like a character from a Rodriguez film instead of this one, but I s'pose that's fine, too. 

In all, a 90s curiosity that's far from essential viewing––but it does function as a tremendous repository of bizarre and brilliant acting choices.


J.D. Lafrance said...

Yeah, I would agree with your assessment. The film has its heart in the right place but feels like Tarantino leftovers. Still, that ensemble cast is worth the price of admission. I'm sure Treat Williams hoped that his role would lead to a Travolta-like career renaissance...

Sean Gill said...

Oh, man, I would've welcomed a Treat Williams career renaissance, or at least more movies like DEAD HEAT!

gweeps said...

Love Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. It's definitely an underrated crime grimefest.

Also, can't forget the great acting of Jack Warden and Gabrielle Anwar. What a cast! Directed by the same guy who did Imposter, Kiss the Girls, Don't Say a Word and Runaway Jury.

Sean Gill said...


Ah, yes, I neglected to mention Jack Warden, who's great in everything from 12 ANGRY MEN to this. All I really know Gabrielle Anwar from is IF LOOKS COULD KILL and Abel Ferrara's BODY SNATCHERS, but I have been told to check out BURN NOTICE.

gweeps said...

Anwar is also famous for her tango with Pacino in Scent of a Woman.

Sean Gill said...


That's right! It's been ages since I've seen that.

Daniel said...

The fact that leper guy is called "Pieces" is pretty hilarious.