“Give it a Name!”

Q: What are examples of movies which depict some of the most skillfully concocted banter?

My Answer:
Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead:
Establishes a different, and unique dialogue learned in jail and ingrained in these guys’ personalities. Some examples include:

1. Greeting- Instead of a handshake or “pound” the characters press hands together as they would in a correctional facility facing each other separated by thick, wire-reinforced, sound-proofed glass. When they do it out in the world, there is no glass so when they press hands it’s a gentle gesture, it almost looks like a slow-motion high 5, but without the smack, leaving a much more personalized connection (emphasized in the film by the accompanying deep eye-contact, that clearly has a lot of non-verbal communicating behind the gesture).

2. Farewells= Boat Drinks. The guys say, “boat drinks,” especially when they might not be seeing each other ever again. The thought and message of reassurance is that they need not feel all is lost because in the next life they’ll soon be reunited on a yacht where colorful, fruity drinks will be flowing. Boat Drinks.
3. Give it a Name – validates or co-signs something just said by a different character. Similar to a “you said it,” “damn right,” I hear ya,” etc.
4. Buckwheats- refers to the victim or planned victim of a particularly hideous method of killing someone within this organized crime community. It’s implied that the offense is great to make someone a “buckwheat.” The hitman / killer shoots the victim right up the ass, leaving the poor bastard writhing on the ground in agonizing pain for hours as they slowly “bleed out” or as Christopher Walken’s character threatens Andy Garcia’s character that he’ll make him watch [he, she, them, etc] “drain.”
5. The Man With The Plan – Played by Walken, this label refers to the head of the organized crime community in Denver. Walken is referred to by this label throughout most of the movie.

There are plenty more alternative words, phrases, and affect utilized, but more than anything it’s the inflection when they are delivered. Treat Williams who is great as “Critical Bill” who is like he says, “out of his tits.” Critical Bill works in a funeral home utilizing the corpses as heavy bags to punch. I forgot the term he uses to describe what this process does for him, but that’s also a classic phrase. Critical Bill is accused as being a shit-eater while in jail, “a fecal freak, a dookie taster.” When Steve Buchemmi catches up with Bill to also make him a buckwheat. Pretending to be asleep, Bill jumps up and yells, “I am Godzilla and you are Tokyo” as a battle-cry.

There are plenty more phrases and words along with combinations such as Christopher LLoyds’ character, “Pieces” a reference to missing some of his extremities.

There are some sappy lines that don’t work well such as the romanticism protrayed by Andy Garcia in his monologue to a woman he just met, fell in love with but has to leave and does a monologue about girls who glide and boys that thump. It’s pretty cheezy.

I’d rather hear more of Walken who in a failed hit, is paralyzed from the neck or chest down, state again about his nurse played by Jenny McCarthy looking hot in her nurses’ uniform and hardly speaking. When she leaves the room, Walken states, “Although I cannot feel them, I know I get erections in her presence.

Some of the better dialogue is saved for Walken who describes what he’ll have done to Jimmy’s (Andy Garcia’s) love interest should Jimmy refuse to comply with the Man With the Plan. Critical Bill (Treat Williams’ character with a wacked out hair cut, appropriate to his mental state. When Critical Bill tells Jimmy he’s not going to run from Walken and his hit men, he philosophizes about Walken’s probably inflated aura of power and ruthlessness,
“Jimmy, did you ever consider that The Man With The Plan is just another “head?” WellI, I got a new motto. Fuck the head. Fuck the head!

Some great cameos and other one liners. Don Cheadle as a right hand man to one of Denver’s most notorious drug kingpins. Cheadle’s character is a compete characture and reminds me of Kadeem Hardson’s character as Damon Wayans side kick in “I’m gonna get you Sucka,” but funny none the less.

Perhaps if the plot or character development went deeper than with just a few of main characters, the need to get this dialogue into every scene wouldn’t have come across as forced as it does a couple of times.

However, it is the unique language and action which allows for easy multiple watchings.

It’s a solid movie that had bad timing in terms of release, which I believe may have been right around the time Pulp Fiction was released which never gave “Things to Do…..” the fair acknowledgement it deserved. It’s not a great movie by any stretch but it is entertaining. Give it a Name!!!!

Matthew Dash Written by:

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