I don’t know how I missed Clay Pigeons, a black comedy starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vince Vaughn. It starts off with probably the best scene in the fucking movie that grips your attention immediately. Featuring a blend of bizarre characters, situations, and developments, it’s quite entertaining. However, it’s just too breezy and casual for my taste. I mean, black humor, murder, and some nudity are all fine but I have a feeling that nobody cared about anything in this movie. Characters seem to be completely in service of the sensational story, losing their identity in the process. Maybe it’s just me, so if you had a different experience do leave a comment below.
If I had to compare Clay Pigeons to something that would be one of the Coen Brothers movies. If only the writing was as good as their movies we would be looking at another masterpiece. The cast is simply stellar, led by young Joaquin Phoenix and Vince Vaughn. And speaking of the cast and the writing, the appearance of Janeane Garofalo as Agent Shelby practically saved the movie from becoming too incoherent. She anchored the whole thing and added a much-needed break from a whirlwind of chaos. And yes, I did mutter bastards when she lit that fucking joint. The movie she was watching added insult to injury as I contemplated my lifestyle choices.
Who knew that one unfortunate incident is going to lead to so many deaths in the small town in Montana. Clay certainly didn’t, he was just drinking and chilling like he’s always done when he became a murder suspect. However, that’s not the only problem he has. Sexually insatiable Amanda keeps stalking him and everywhere he goes, trouble seems to follow him. Then, he meets Lester, a friendly cowboy who offers him help and companionship. Will Clay fuck this up too is up to you to find out.
Sometimes, just sometimes, you will hear just one song in a movie that will make it worth watching. Moon Over Montana by Jimmy Wakely is the song that I discovered with the help of Clay Pigeons. I immediately added to my pretty shortlist of favorite country songs. Also, to quote Lester, Vince Vaughn’s character, country music is an acquired taste. Unlike this movie that I’m sure everyone can enjoy.
It will leave you in a positive mood despite the gruesome story and a pretty bodacious body count. And probably wanting to see something with a bit more logical. I recommend Fargo or Blood Simple. Or, if you want something a bit more unfamiliar, check out Shimmer Lake, a much tighter Small Town Crime Movie.
Finally, I just have to comment on the cinematography and the sense of space that director David Dobkin created. You could really feel this small town, leisurely sitting in the peaceful valley surrounded by imposing and yet lushes green mountains. It feels like a great place to vacation but to live, I’m not so sure.
Director: David Dobkin
Writer: Matthew L. Healy
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn, Janeane Garofalo, Gregory Sporleder, Georgina Cates, Scott Wilson, Vince Vieluf
Fun Facts: Though never spoken in the film the name of the town where it’s set is Mercer, Montana according to the script.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118863/