Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Clay Pigeons (USA, 1998)

(Trailer.) David Dobkins directorial debut might not be a masterpiece, but it does manage to get good laughs out of many a situation that probably shouldn't be funny. Likewise, it is miles better and indefinitely more subversive than any of the films he has made since then, namely Shanghai Knights (2003/trailer), Wedding Crashers (2005/trailer) and Fred Claus (2007/trailer). In Clay Pigeons, he still displays some of the black and infantile humour that is also found in his only script credit to date, 1995's entertainingly sick, cheesy and seriously odd horror comedy Ice Cream Man (1995/trailer). Indeed, although Clay Pigeons is decidedly cheeseless, it is a seriously odd, sun-baked redneckville black comedy – something you might expect someone like J.S. Cardone to make, if he only had a sense of humour.
Like the similarly entertaining but flawed Heathers (1989/trailer), Clay Pigeons is one of those films that appeal to a certain kind of humor—one that most people don't usually have, but that should seriously appeal to any regular reader of A Wasted Life. As should the film’s soundtrack, which is one of the all time most fabulous cornpone soundtracks since the documentary The Atomic Café (1982/the whole film). OK, Clay Pigeons does feature some serious laps in narrative logic for the sake of advancing the story (such as the "big clue" of torn-off cigarette filters being introduced and then forgotten until needed later and the fact that the FBI never even bother physically going to Lester Long's supposed workplace) or effect (most noticeably being the movie's rather disappointing last scene), but then, what film doesn't? (What comedy – or drama, for that matter – have you seen lately that had logic?)
Clay Pigeons tells the sad tale of Clay Bidwell (Joaquin Phoenix, supposed vegetarian, ex-big name and current rap artist), a resident of Mercer, Montana, one of those little places which you miss if you blink. Having made the mistake of bonking his best bud's psychopathic bitch wife Amanda (Georgina Cates) once too often, his buddy Earl (Gregory Sporleder) offs himself in such a way that it looks as if Clay did it, so Clay arranges to make the suicide look like an accident. Amanda, a mega-bitch in heat, sees no reason to stop bonking, but Clay does, so she ends up stalking him and offing the hot-looking local waitress he next shares his waterbed with. Body two gets disposed of and then Lester Long (Vince Vaughn), a man with a ten-gallon hat and a laugh that should set off warning bells in everybody's head, enters the picture. Soon Amanda lies sliced and diced and Clay's life gets really complicated, cause as FBI agent Shelby (Janeane Garofalo) says at one point: "You're dating one victim, you're having an affair with another and you find the body of the third. Kind of a coincidence, wouldn't you say?" Life ain't going well for Clay, but then, Lester Long never forgets a friend….

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...