Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead (1995)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In the mode of Quentin Tarantino, this film, directed by Gary Fleder from a script by Scott Rosenberg, concerns itself with hip, smart gangsters. The film is set in Denver, and the title comes from a Warren Zevon song. A retired, good-hearted gangster named Jimmy the Saint (Andy Garcia) runs a company that videotapes dying people giving life advice to their children and grandchildren, to be delivered when they come of age. Jimmy's former crime boss, The Man with the Plan (Christopher Walken), summons him. The Man is wheelchair-bound and doesn't have long to live; he explains that Jimmy owes him a favor and must perform one final job. It involves frightening the boyfriend of the ex-girlfriend of Bernard (Michael Nicolosi), the son of The Man, who has been so shaken by the girl's rejection of him that he has been fondling schoolyard children. Jimmy rounds up his old gang -- including Pieces (Christopher Lloyd), a porno theater projectionist; Franchise (William Forsythe), an ex-biker with a trailer-trash family to support; Critical Bill (Treat Williams), a psychotic, trigger-happy ex-con; and Easy Wind (Bill Nunn), an exterminator. Pieces and Bill pose as cops as part of the needlessly elaborate plan, which misfires badly. The Man, enraged, gives Jimmy 48 hours to leave town, and he orders his comrades wiped out, hiring the notorious hitman Mr. Shhh (Steve Buscemi) to track them down. But Jimmy can't seem to get the others to leave town, and despite The Man's decree, Jimmy is also reluctant to leave, because he's become romantically entangled with Dagney (Gabrielle Anwar). Jack Warden's character serves as a kind of Greek chorus who comments from time to time on the unfolding action.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Sports & Fitness, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Scott Rosenberg
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 29, 1999
Runtime:
Miramax - Official Site

Cast

Andy Garcia
as Jimmy the Saint
Bill Nunn
as Easy Wind
Treat Williams
as Critical Bill Dooley
Jack Warden
as Joe Heff
Steve Buscemi
as Mister Shhh
Fairuza Balk
as Lucinda
Christopher Walken
as The Man with the Pla...
Marshall Bell
as Lt. Atwater
Glenn Plummer
as Baby Sinister
Jenny McCarthy
as Blonde Nurse
Buddy Guy
as Member of House Band
Ray Allison
as Member of House Band
Lynn Applebaum
as Young Woman
Scott Holt
as Member of House Band
Greg Rzab
as Member of House Band
Wiley Harker
as Boris Carlotti
Jacob Berenger
as Alley Hood
Joe Drago
as Maitre d'
Chuck Bacino
as Accordion Player
Don Cheadle
as Rooster
Cheree Jaeb
as Little Girl
Larissa Michieli
as Girl No. 2
Larry Raben
as Young Man
Lynn Appelbaum
as Young Woman
Archie Smith
as Mr. Jergen
Harriet Medin
as Old Woman
Bill Bolender
as Stevie's Dad
Susan Merson
as Woman With Cancer
Bill Erwin
as 70-Year-Old Man
Bill C.W. Long
as "The Bad Beat" Man
Nate Ingram
as Alley Hood
Jacob Bergener
as Alley Hood
Larry Curry Jr.
as Black Youth
Ruthay
as Receptionist
Phil Boardman
as Gym Teacher
William Denis
as Businessman
Danny Romo
as Montirez Brother
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead

Critic Reviews for Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (14)

Yet another debut about urban lowlifes filmed by wanna-be Tarantinos, Denver boasts a distinctive personality and a colorful cast that any police lineup would be proud to call its own.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
ReelViews
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The Tarantino Effect at its worst: Yet another movie about a relentlessly violent gang, reportedly based on a bet the director made with Tarantino!

Full Review… | January 8, 2007
EmanuelLevy.Com

A terrifically off-beat underworld thriller.

January 23, 2006
Fantastica Daily

Uma bobagem divertida.

Full Review… | May 31, 2002
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead

Post Quentin Tarantino and "Reservoir Dogs" there was an influx of stylish and fast-talking crime movies. It became the fad during the 90's and beyond. "True Romance", "Pulp Fiction" and "The Usual Suspects" were another few. Some fell by the way side while others genuinely succeeded and "Things To Do In Denver..." is one of those films that creates a positive, lasting memory. Crime escapades and colourful characters are what this film has in abundance.
In order to fund his small business, Jimmy the Saint (Andy Garcia) is in debt to lone sharks. However, his debt is bought over by an old venomous cohort from the past (Christopher Walken) who drags Jimmy back into a life of crime and orders him to scare off the new boyfriend of the ex-fianc├ęe of the boss's simple-minded son and heir. Jimmy assembles a tight-knit crew to keep the job simple but things don't go to plan, leaving him and his friends with contracts on their heads.
As the lively and spirited Tom Waits song "Jockey Full of Bourbon" is played overhead we are introduced to our suave, confident, wheeler/dealer protagonist 'Jimmy the Saint' and given an almost instant idea of this films stylish intentions. Like Jimmy, this film moves fast and talks fast. However, this isn't strictly down to him. Where this film succeeds is not just in one particular character or it's particularly cool demeanour. Where it succeeds, is in it's plethora of interesting and delicately written supporting roles and a whole hot of quality actors to embody them. A lot of them get limited screen time but it's still a testament to the writing qualities of Scott Rosenberg who manages to give them enough of a backstory to make them stand out and the actors bring the right amount of presence required for us to invest in them. The real standouts from Jimmy's crew are: Christopher Lloyd's leper - nicknamed 'Pieces' on account of his fingers and toes falling off from a circulatory disease and a completely on-edge Treat Williams as 'Critical Bill' - a psychopath, who can't seem to stop harming people. He even uses funeral parlour corpses as punchbags to relieve his tension. There is also excellent support in Christopher Walken's crippled mob leader 'The Man With The Plan', who's so ruthless, he even threatens to have his henchmen pull out his "dead dick" for Jimmy to suck on. He's a lamentable nasty but one that Walken excels at, and all the more, because he acts only from the neck up. On the sidelines - but no less memorable - is Steve Buscemi's clinical hitman 'Mr. Shhh', who's brought in to despatch of Jimmy and his crew. Buscemi gets the least amount of dialogue and screen time but anyone familiar his role in "The Big Lebowski" will know that this is never a problem for him to still make a lasting impression.
At times, there is an elusive nature to the sharply written dialogue and the characters' use of a distinctive vocabulary but it only helps to convey a strong bond and understanding between them. On closer inspection, their patois is explained and the camaraderie and altercations throughout the film are driven by paying as much as attention as it does, to such a vernacular approach.
Fast talking dialogue with fast and colourful characters in the fast and dangerous Denver underbelly. This film has the goods to satisfy fans of the crime genre and manages just the right amount of cool that Quentin Tarantino made his name on. An overlooked and thoroughly entertaining addition to the genus.

Mark Walker

MrMarakai
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

½

Some memorable lines, and a couple of darkly funny moments. Combine this with some solid performances by Garcia, and Walken, and you still have a movie that isn't too bad...but not great. This movie is a prime example of a casting director filling a film with really good actors, to make up for a rather weak script.

itsjustme2004
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

½

Jimmy The Saint is an ex criminal who is dragged back into the life by wheelchair bound Christopher Walken, but when the job goes wrong he and his crew become the target of a contract killer. One of the many, many attempts to jump on the Tarantino band wagon from the mid nineties, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead is one of the better copycats. Andy Garcia is maybe a little too smooth and suave to play a killer, but it has enough quirky characters and offbeat violence to entertain. The cast is excellent, particularly Christopher Lloyd as his leperous sidekick, Steve Buscemi as a nerdy hitman and especially Treat Williams as his psychotic muscle. The main problem is that it tries to keep one foot in the mainstream, with overly slick direction from hack Gary Fleder, a pointless love interest and contrived tacked on upbeat ending. However it certainly does have its moments because of the superior supporting cast, and its worth it for treat Williams alone. "I AM GODZILLA!! YOU ARE JAPAN!!!!"

garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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