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Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)

December. 01,1995
| Drama Crime

Five different criminals face imminent death after botching a job quite badly.


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Wow, this is a REALLY bad movie!


Perfect cast and a good story


Absolutely brilliant


Watching it is like watching the spectacle of a class clown at their best: you laugh at their jokes, instigate their defiance, and "ooooh" when they get in trouble.

skeptic skeptical

Don't ask me why, but I watched this movie twice. Maybe because it was set in Denver, where I grew up. The setting of this story seemed to be a very different place from the city of Denver familiar to me. Or perhaps I watched this production a second time simply to verify that this was not a great film. Fait accompli.There was some good acting in this production, no doubt, but the characters were almost all caricatures. And then there's the story itself. The Andy Garcia character has managed to extricate himself from the world of the mob and "go civilian". But then his old boss has him chased down to do one final "action"—not a "work", but an "action". He is supposed to not kill but frighten away the lover of the boss's son's former girlfriend so that the son (who has become a pederast--what?) can be reunited with the love of his life. Who does the Andy Garcia character call on to help him carry out the "action"? A team of misfit losers, all of whom have done time in prison and are therefore of questionable competence. Predictably, the incompetent team members prove incompetent here as well, and end up killing not only the guy whom they are supposed to scare, but also his girlfriend. The boss, who is a paralyzed, ghoulish Christopher Walken character, decides to "buckwheat" the lot of them, which we are told means make them suffer before they die. However, he gives the Andy Garcia character the opportunity just to leave town, which he ends up not doing because he's too busy trying to save all of the others.There is so much detail to this densely embellished story, but none of it really adds up to anything. I feel as though the screenwriter was trying to jam all of his interesting ideas into a single script. Sometimes less is more, and this story could have benefited from the removal of some of the colorful but ultimately irrelevant "script- stuff", for lack of a better expression. Did the son of the boss really have to be a pederast? Did the Vietnam Vet really have to use corpses as his punching bag? It was all too much. Like eating a dozen donuts and a bag of potato chips and a submarine sandwich and a candy bar, and maybe washing it all down with a couple of beers.Steve Buscemi makes a short appearance (maybe that's why I gave this a second chance?), and there is a sort of happy ending when the druggy- prostitute pregnant survivor of the story moves to Florida to raise her child and become a masseuse. Honestly, I don't even know what is worth reporting here. It would take way too many words! So let me just end by avowing that I definitely will not give this high-calorie, low nutrient production a third try.


Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead is an excellent and very underrated Gangster Film/Crime Drama that is filled with great direction,an amazing cast,a terrific script and a wonderful soundtrack and is a one of the most Underrated Gangster Movies and Crime Dramas of all time.Set in Denver,Colorado,Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead tells the story of an ex-Gangster named Jimmy 'The Saint' Tosnia(Andy Garcia)who has gone straight and is running a legitimate business and things are going well for Jimmy until his former Boss local crime lord called The Man With The Plan(Christopher Walken)hires Jimmy to do a job for him which makes Jimmy call up his old crew. But when the job goes wrong Jimmy is allowed to live but the rest of his crew are going to be killed and Jimmy has to save his crew before it's too late.Released in 1995,Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead is an amazing and underrated Gangster Film Crime Drama that unfortunately came out a year after Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece Pulp Fiction and was a big failure at the Box Office and many critics dismissed the film and wrote it off Denver as a Pulp Fiction knockoff and a pale imitation of Quentin Tarantino's films. Thankfully,since it's 1995 release Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead has earned respect and a Cult Following over the years and is seen as the great Gangster film and Crime Drama that it is. TTDIDWYD is a great film that gives viewers a look at the city of Denver,Colorado that we have never seen before in movies or television because when you think of the city of Denver you think snow,trees,mountains and the Winter cold,but,with TTDIDWYD viewers are shown a gritty part of Denver,Colorado that wrapped in the world of Gangsters and Film Noir attitudes where the characters are tough and dark and a world where crime and death is in the air and is a world where the characters follow the laws of the streets and violence is the only way to survive. This movie is a Gangster Film and Film Noir that has some of the familiar trademarks of the two genres such as Gangsters,criminals and shows a dark underworld that is cynical and brutal but this film gives us a Gangster movie and Film Noir in a much different style and language that is creative as well as harsh and surreal pulling viewers into a world that's all it's own. This is a film that is also filled with cool and sharp style and great substance and is a film that grabs you by the throat and never lets you go until the very end and you are glued to the screen wanting to know what happens next and the plot and story moves along at a great pace with unexpected surprises. What I also love about the film is that despite being a Gangster movie and Crime Drama there is a lot of heart and depth with some of the main characters where you feel like Jimmy and some of the other characters wanted to do more with their life. Jimmy The Saint is a great character because even though he wears suits and is cool he wants to lead a straight life away from the Crime world and looking love and trying to find his own morality in the dangerous world he lives and works in and the way Jimmy works with his crew and the way he is outside of his criminal life truly makes Jimmy a very complex character. The screenplay by Scott Rosenberg is amazing and well-written,with Rosenberg giving the main characters great dialog that is original and fresh,gritty and riveting and at the same time darkly funny and offbeat. The great screenplay is one of the things that makes this film wonderful. The violence in the film is brutal,dark and shocking because you never know where or when the violence is going to happen and the violence fits with the tone of the film. The ending of the film is amazing because while the ending is tragic and sad the ending will leave you with an optimistic feeling and will put a smile on viewers faces. A great conclusion.The cast does great jobs in their roles. Andy Garcia is excellent Jimmy 'The Saint' Tosnia,with Garcia bringing,coolness,intensity and depth to the role. Christopher Lloyd,(Pieces),,William Forsythe(Franchise),Bill Nunn(Easy Wind)and Treat Williams(Critical Bill)all do great jobs as Jimmy's old crew. Christopher Walken is amazing as The Man With The Plan,Jimmy's old boss. Steve Buscemi is riveting and memorable as Mr. Shush,a deadly hit-man. Jack Warden is great as Joe Heff,a guy who's telling the film's story. Gabrielle Anwar is fantastic and sexy as Dagney,Jimmy's love interest. Fairuza Balk is wonderful and memorable as Lucinda,a local prostitute. Bill Cobbs(Malt),Marshall Bell(Lt. Atwater),Michael Nicolosi(Bernard)and Glenn Plummer(Baby Sinister)give good performances as well. Also,lookout for appearances by Don Cheadle(Rooster),Jenny McCarthy(Blonde Nurse)and Tiny Lister Jr.(House)The direction by Gary Fleder is brilliant and stylish,with Fleder always moving the camera and bringing a dark and gritty visual style to the film. Great direction,Fleder.The score by Michael Corvertino is great,dark and mysterious and matches the film's Noirish tone. Wonderful score,Convertino. The film also has a fantastic soundtrack with songs by Warren Zevon(Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead),Johnny Cash(Folsom Prison Blues),Ice-T(Mind Over Matter),Blues Traveler(Get Out Of Denver),Tom Waits(Jockey Full Of Bourbon),Louis Armstong(Makin' Whoopee),Bing Crosby(AC-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive),Dean Martin(You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You),Cachao(Lluvia,Viento Y Cana,Rain,Wind And Reed,A Gozer Con Mi Combo,To Rejoice With My Combo),The Neville Brothers with Buddy Guy(Born Under A Bad Sign)and more. Fantastic soundtrack.In final word,if you love Gangster Films,Film Noir,Crime Dramas or films in general,I highly suggest you see Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead,an excellent and very Underrated Gangster film,Film Noir and Crime Drama that you can watch again and again. Highly Recommended. 10/10.


This film could have been so much better. The storyline is good and offered the potential for the making of an excellent film, but ultimately it disappointed, which was a real shame.I'll give you my opinion on what really let this film down. There were two things: Andy Garcia - he's an average actor at best and here, he really spoilt the essence of the main character. He didn't have enough depth, conviction or raw energy needed for such a dark mob character. He put too much emphasis on typically ridiculous Hollywood style over-acting, and not enough to reflect what the character was about. Shame on the casting director for picking him. Someone more in the mould of Harvey Keitel or Gary Oldman would have been perfect.His relationship with the main lady - unlike other mob films where there is genuine development of a love interest, this film had a haphazard and an unconvincing romance story. In other films, like Carlito's way, Casino, Goodfellas, there was so much more on offer and the love interests became an integral part of the mobsters lives. Here, it was a dreary and irritating sideshow.There are very good parts of the film. Chrisopher Walken, who I am a big fan of, was excellent. His role as the crippled mob boss was perfectly cast and he played it superbly. He was suitably detached, unflinching, dark and menacing.Steve Buscemi, who I am also a fan of, was also excellent. He was also cast perfectly as the quiet, quirky yet violent hit man.Overall, the story line was good, Walken and Buscemi and some of the supporting actors were excellent, but the main character and the over-emphasis on style ultimately let this film down.Worth a watch, but I struggle to tell you much about it. For me, that's enough of a sign.

Richard Burin

This is a spotty but extremely memorable thriller, one of a slew of offbeat American crime pics made in the mid-90s. Andy Garcia (the punchy trainee cop from The Untouchables) is an ex-con with a new venture: filming terminally ill people so they can speak to friends and family from beyond the grave. In debt to bankroller Christopher Walken, he plans a heist, enlisting the help of several other actors who've escaped from the 1980s, among them Treat Williams – brilliant in Lumet's Prince of the City – Christopher Lloyd (Doc from Back to the Future) and William Forsythe (Once Upon a Time in America). Garcia spars romantically with Gabrielle Anwar, while keeping an eye out for troubled Fairuza, and trying to stay one step ahead of Steve Buscemi's slick hit-man, Mr Shhh (so called because he "don't say much").This stylish, intriguing picture has too many lulls and inconsistencies to trouble anyone's top films list, but Balk is absolutely arresting in her supporting part, and there's a melancholy, nostalgic undercurrent reinforced by Garcia's backward-looking catchphrase: "Back in the day".