Jimmy (Andy Garcia) is an ex-mob member gone straight. He records messages for the terminally ill to be passed on to the next generation, because apparently that was somehow profitable in the mid-90s…
But it is another man with an incurable illness of his own that muddles things. The Man with the Plan (Christopher Walken) runs the operation that Jimmy was once a part of, and he requires Jimmy to help with one last job, helping scare some sense into The Man etc’s twisted adult son.
Jimmy, while reluctant, knows he has little choice. He puts together a crew, all of whom know it’s ‘one last job’ and set to messing things up.
For a smart and smooth operator Jimmy wastes no time in fucking everything up. First of all his ‘plan’ is to be pretend cops giving a stern warning, second he allows a guy called ‘Critical Bill’ to be one of the front men, while he watches on from afar as things go so inevitably awry, with the end game being The Man with the Plan putting a price on their heads and a hitman played by Steve Buscemi on their tails.
If you put your faith in a guy named Critical Bill, a guy who practises sparring with corpses, your plan is destined to fail.
The recurring theme is just how nice Jimmy is, and how irrelevant that fact is in ensuring the safety of him and his men. While he wanders about trying to keep the porn screener, the corpse puncher and the vulgar biker – yep, that kind of film – safe from harm, Jimmy finds his actions repeatedly leading to their detriment, much to his chagrin.
Things to do in Denver when you’re Dead came in that first wave of Tarantino wannabes, but it is sadly broken. It badly judges what ‘edgy’ is, with a depressing anti-gay agenda and frequent casual racism. Every pleasant surprise is offset by a couple dud moments. For example how cool is it that Jimmy decides to impregnate a young junkie hooker to carry on his legacy? Cool right…?
Reservoir Dogs. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The Usual Suspects. Films with ensemble casts with elaborate and catchy dialogue set in the world of crime. Films that inspired films like this. Films like this that otherwise would not exist – and the world would go on with no positive nor negative impact.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. TtdiDwyD might be the favourite film for those who so badly want to have ‘discovered’ a film that isn’t Pulp Fiction or such. To the rest of us it’s a quickly forgotten misstep in the annals of poorly planned indie film.