Ken Tucker
February 02, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Steve Buscemi, William Forsythe, Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, Gabrielle Anwar, Christopher Walken
director
Gary Fleder
author
Scott Rosenberg
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D+

Things to do in Denver when You’re Dead‘s greatest achievement is that there isn’t a single convincing scene in it. Andy Garcia stars as well-dressed con man Jimmy the Saint; he works with a bunch of violent creeps, notably Critical Bill, who likes to work out using corpses as punching bags. Treat Williams is Bill, doing the sort of over-the-top sicko he must think will revive his career. Masterminding the movie’s crime is Christopher Walken in a wheelchair, overacting even more than in Nick of Time. The only good performance is given by Fairuza Balk as a beaten-up prostitute. Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg and director Gary Fleder have created a gaudy, phony, talky thriller — the uncomplicated plot is spelled out in chatter-bug narration by Jack Warden. We’re supposed to be drawn in by all the rococo palaver. Walken has a cryptic term for punishing someone in the most violent, painful way possible: ”Buckwheats!” He yells it, as if issuing a command. ”Buckwheats!” When Garcia romances Gabrielle Anwar, his come-on line is that she ”glides,” and ”girls who glide need men who make them thump.” Malarkey! Malarkey!

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