Christopher Walken, Scotland, PA

Scotland, PA


If the notion of setting ”Macbeth” in the Bad Company-and-worse-haircut ’70s sounds like a joke, that’s just what is is — but in Scotland, PA., Billy Morrissette’s midnight-toker transposition of Shakespeare, it’s a joke at once flaky and resonant, lightweight and bizarrely original. Macbeth and his infamous scheming Lady here become the McBeths (James LeGros and Maura Tierney), a randy, long-haired pair of greasy-spoon employees who favor getting it on in the supply closet. That is, until they get the idea to dunk the owner of Duncan’s diner into the deep-fat fryolator, all so that they can turn his establishment into a drive-thru fast-food joint.

Funny? Yes, but in its slapdash way, it sounds nuttier than it plays, especially when Christopher Walken shows up as the Columbo-like vegetarian ”Lieut. McDuff.” Morrissette piles on the period trappings (Yahtzee, Mark Spitz), and the equivalents he finds for everything from the witches — they’re stoners led by Timothy ”Speed” Levitch — to Banquo’s ghost become a running game for the audience. It all adds up to a vision of ’70s sleaze as little more than the hippie re- awakening of ambition.

Scotland, PA
  • Movie
  • 97 minutes