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Clay Pigeons
cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughan, Janeane Garofalo, Georgina Cates, and Scott Wilson

director: David Dobkin

104 minutes (15) 1998 Momentum VHS rental
Also available to rent on DVD

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Mike Philbin
So, I don't get it, "What does it mean, clay pigeons?" My viewing partner turns to me as if from a deep slumber, her eyes moving slowly. There's a curl of smoke coming from her gawping mouth. She says nothing, just smiles. Her eyebrows flicker and she gets up from the couch. I can hear her in the kitchen, making tea. And I wonder... is this what Clay Pigeons is supposed to be about. I try to visualise the scene, when the movie was sold to Scott Free Productions. I could see Ridley and Tony nodding knowingly, like they knew we would be making cups of tea halfway through this but what the hell, 'we made Alien, didn't we?'
   This is all the viewing public deserves, yeah - an unfunny black comedy? The almost token serial killer. Unfortunate lover. Dramatic bitch of a girlfriend. The premise must have sounded too great. Indeed, there is only ever an odd aura given off by this friendly biopic of psychotic control under deep surveillance. Phoenix is dull, he is not even there as a character - he is more of a shadowy figure than the serial killer he could never be. Garofalo is miscast as the FBI agent, not seeming to know whether to pout or frown. The cheery Vaughn dominates the entire production. Then the movie ends and I turn to my viewing partner and I see that she is sipping a mug of hot tea. On her head is a ten-gallon hat. I burst out laughing as the end credits roll.
   So, I don't get it, "What does it mean, Clay Pigeons?"
   She sips her mug of tea, her face fixed in a mischievous smile. Words on her lips. Outside, a taxi turns up and disgorges four or five noisy revellers who start to pound on the walls with dub beats. I await her glassy-eyed revelation. "Drink your tea," she says. One day I may learn from her wisdom...
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