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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 5/27/99

Clay Pigeons
1998 (1999) Scott Free Productions (Polygram)

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Clay Pigeons Film Ratings: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B, A, B-

Specs and Features

104 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch), Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, talent bios, film-themed menu screens, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Close Captioned

Yee-haw! Ain't nothing like a good ol' tale, 'bout a bunch of good ol' boys. With this here flick, we gets the sordid, but darkly comedic tale of Clay, a guy who even from the first scene can't do right by nobody. Having witnessed the suicide of his best buddy, who just found out that Clay has been bumping nasty with his pretty-young-thing wife, Clay finds that he has to hide the body, because it's been set up to look like murder. Uh-oh. Well, no matter - everything turns out okay for young Clay... at first. Into Clay's life ambles a varmit by the name of Lester Long. Lester is a charming cowpoke who just happens to be a real lady-killer. And I mean that - he's a real killer of ladies. Will Clay get sucked into Lester's world, or will he do right? Will the FBI catch Lester, or think Clay is the killer? And what does Clay Pigeons producer Ridley Scott's Alien have to do with anything? All these question will be answered by the end of this truly funny film.

Vince Vaughn plays the same character over and over again in films - he doesn't seem to have much range, just charm and attitude. That may usually be a criticism - but here it serves the film just fine. Vaughn is really great in this flick. His usually abilities infuse Lester with a snake's charisma, and a killer smile. Joaquin Phoenix plays Clay, and he's perfect. Clay doesn't know what to think half the time, and Phoenix just has that confused look on his face -- it's great. Janeane Garofalo and Georgina Cates help round out the cast. Garofalo plays the FBI agent hot on the trail of Lester, and she's also good in this role. She's sarcastic, funny and witty - everything fans of hers love. And Georgina Cates is perfect as the femme fatale, that wraps every man around her finger. I can't wait to see more of her. She practically steals the film.

Polygram's DVD represents the film nicely. It's dual-layered, allowing you to choose either full frame or widescreen right up front. The transfer is clean and the colors are pretty good. There's a little bit of compression noise, but it's mostly unnoticeable. There are two English tracks on board (2.0 and 5.1) and both sound crisp and full. The only extras are the trailer, and cast and crew bios, which aren't much. Still, it's an effort.

Black comedies are sometimes the best comedies, and Clay Pigeons is a fine example of all the things a good black comedy should have -- great dialogue, wonderful characters, and one hell of a great twist ending. I'm slow, so I didn't get the ending right away. See how much smarter you are than me -- check out this DVD to see if you catch it faster than I did.

Todd Doogan
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