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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 20.29%
Average: 13.04%
Pretty Bad: 2.17%
Total Crap: 0.72%

10 reviews, 78 user ratings

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Simple Plan, A
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by Ryan Arthur

"You work for the American don't steal it."
5 stars

Worthy of the attention its received.

A Simple Plan is based on the (superior) novel of the same name, written by Scott B. Smith, who also penned the screenplay. I read the book long before I ever knew it was being made into a feature.

The Hitchcockian elements are pretty familiar. Ordinary folks thrown into an extraordinary situation, as a couple of Joe Averages stumble across a cool (literally) $4.5 million in cash. Average Joes decide to keep the loot, and keep quiet unless someone comes looking for it. Eventually they split it up and go their separate ways. Which is all fine and dandy, at least at the beginning.

Hank (Bil Paxton) is the smart one. He's a little unsure at first, but then decides to go along. The money will help his family out, as he and his wife (Bridget Fonda) are due to have a baby in the coming weeks. His brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) is the slow one. He's unsightly, with long, straggly hair, coke-bottle glasses and yellow teeth. He's a simple guy, not exactly stupid, but far from being the sharpest tack in the drawer. His friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) is the comic relief. Fat, loud, obnoxious and greedy. They all seem incapable of the bad things that eventually start to happen, both to them and caused by them.

That's all the plot you'll get. There's too many twists and mounting surprises that follow.

I enjoyed the film a great deal. Sam Raimi does a fine job in moving into more mainstream features, and the film is beautifully shot (Raimi got advice on shooting and lighting in snow - where eseentially the entire film takes place - from his friends the Coen brothers, so it certainly evokes Fargo).

The principle actors all have defining moments. Thornton and Fonda both have big scenes - big speeches - that make them enjoyable to watch. In the case of Fonda, it saves the role for her, because for the rest of the film she seems a bit miscast. In the case of Thornton, it makes his entire performance just that much more watchable. Paxton does fine throughout the film, although there's a scene early on that sticks with me as a Paxton moment - an oddly over the top exchange with a bit player on the street. Paxton always seems to have one scene in every role he plays where he just acts so insincere.

On the whole, very well done.

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originally posted: 03/03/99 03:36:14
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User Comments

4/03/20 Ed Riddick Great acting & screenplay. Perfect cast. 5 stars
5/13/16 j la mere engrossing.a whirlpool of tension leading ordinary people into a dark abyss. 4 stars
8/25/13 Steve A solid, engrossing, emotional film---and a bit exhausting! 4 stars
7/28/13 Katherine Until looking at this review I was on the edge of my seat LOVED IT anyway. 4 stars
5/27/13 c slow and over ratted. left feeling disappointed 2 stars
12/02/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
10/02/07 Double M A Character study that is deep, powerful (if very depressing) with GREAT cast and directing 5 stars
5/07/07 Tracey Chambers a movie I can watch over and over, great acting, great story 5 stars
11/08/05 suzanne taut and tragic; packed with great performances 5 stars
10/10/05 Julia was pretty good 4 stars
8/30/05 Nick Kraemer Great movie. Filmed in my HOMETOWN!!! 4 stars
3/26/05 Lia such an amazing movie 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold A "simple" movie, but perfectly done. Doesn't get much better than this. 5 stars
2/07/05 Jeff Anderson A tightly scripted, perfectly directed & acted film about responsibility in a bad situation 5 stars
9/05/04 DM Gripping and heartbreaking 5 stars
7/17/04 Harry J Unbelievable drama level......Hitchcock of my faves. 5 stars
6/03/04 the bride The rating says it all... Just awesome 5 stars
12/03/03 Agent Sands Really tight script and great acting. The wife getting shot is actually hilariously staged. 4 stars
7/26/03 Kyle How the fuck was this predictable? 5 stars
7/23/03 JJ So predictable, so boring 1 stars
5/15/03 George Jung One of the best movies of the 90s. Proves Raimi's talent as a director. 5 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Takes a horrifying novel and dilutes it with contrivance and convenience. 2 stars
3/19/03 Sandy Robinson One of the best-acted, but, saddest movies of all time. 5 stars
11/15/02 Stevo Thornton and Briscoe are superb, but can't save a generally badly plotted, boring movie. 2 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean A nice thriller to watch right after you've wasted your time with THE PANIC ROOM. 4 stars
10/29/01 Gary Strong performances (esp. Paxton & Fonda), supreme direction & beautiful cinematography. 5 stars
9/05/01 Jake Too slow, tedious, and overlong. Good story clumsily unravels 3 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Sam Raimi's best film next to the Evil Dead series. A beautifully directed thriller. 5 stars
7/05/01 Matthew Bartley Great thriller 5 stars
5/02/01 R.W. Welch Watchable, but it's hard to work up much empathy for these guys. 4 stars
3/01/01 John Trent Didnīt expect anything good,what a a surprise! 5 stars
10/21/00 joh completly brilliant 5 stars
9/02/00 jetcat main character relentlessly annoying, thornton didn't play his role well enough 3 stars
5/30/00 natasha beautifully done -- morose and intense 4 stars
5/23/00 lucas jackson outstanding and original,dam good!!!!! 5 stars
3/06/00 Richard Wright A very depressing but ultimately worthwhile film with unsuspecting twists and great acting. 5 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman treasure of the sierra madre meets fargo 5 stars
1/18/00 Josh One of the best movies I have ever seen, should have won best picture and director 5 stars
1/10/00 Will Leaves you chilled and depressed. Not all movies have to be cheery fuckfests. 5 stars
11/24/99 Murray Castles Great acting and directing. Aint Thornton great. Read the book. 5 stars
10/05/99 rob A heartwrenching,devastating masterpiece. 5 stars
9/25/99 KK This is one depressing movie, but definitely worth watching. 4 stars
9/07/99 seldom scene the best a movie has to offer 5 stars
8/15/99 Elizaveta This film shattered me as few others ever have..absolutely brilliant! 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Characters are fleshed out to the bone, making this great, but ending made little sense. 4 stars
6/09/99 PurityJustBegs A harrowing, audacious film that devistates and provokes..flawless storytelling.. 5 stars
4/27/99 JonnyAngel Great film, great film making. 5 stars
4/27/99 Lucas jackson it is an outstanding,spectacular movie full of twists and turns with some great humor 5 stars
4/05/99 Cool Thing Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think it was all that good. Bordered on boring. 3 stars
4/03/99 Lily Devastating! Raimi can do wotever he desires. 5 stars
3/11/99 nototis One lapse in logic you could drive a truck through, but first-rate in spite of it. 4 stars
3/11/99 haden lawyer Raimi is a god among cretins 5 stars
3/11/99 Negative Creep Thornton Steals the show. 4 stars
3/09/99 Katie Brilliant film, Billy Bob deserves the Oscar and so does the screenplay. 5 stars
3/04/99 The Graduate Very well crafted characters, esp. Thornton (hello, Oscar!). 5 stars
2/18/99 pd fine performances all around.tension filled morality piece. 4 stars
2/15/99 Kooky Sal Raimi's directorship was a downside. It was unsuitable. Over-rated. 3 stars
2/14/99 Jack Deth great adaptation of the book. thornton gets 5 stars for his performance 5 stars
2/10/99 jaybo Paxton's best work since Weird Science 5 stars
2/05/99 mark h Some startling scenes-unexpected-shocking-movie craftsmanship 5 stars
2/01/99 Tom Ripley Great novel becomes a great movie. One for the top ten list. 5 stars
1/30/99 davebo cliche plot but done better than ever before, all the snow reminds me of fargo :) 5 stars
1/29/99 Scott Stipe I loved the book, movie was great, SAM RAIMI 5 stars
1/26/99 Jim Fay Thornton terrific as usual. A great job by Paxton. I didn't expect that from him at all. 5 stars
1/24/99 James E. Laczkowski Best Film I've Seen In Many A Moon 5 stars
1/24/99 Hannah Hopkins-Maupin Thornton is unbelievable. 5 stars
1/03/99 Negative Creep Great film, paxton is a highly underrated actor, Thornton is excellent 4 stars
1/03/99 Leon Russell Amusing, a rich girl like Bridget preaching about the evils of money. 3 stars
12/31/98 grunter despite Thornton's performance, overrated and utterly predictable; Fonda's dialogue shines 3 stars
12/28/98 Dan Rowe great acting, love the scenery, crows against snow. 5 stars
12/14/98 Binky Paxton's best film yet. Why is this not in wide release? 5 stars
12/10/98 Greg Robinson You Suck cock 5 stars
12/10/98 dana Excellent performances, writing, & direction! Paxton's best since One False Move. 5 stars
12/04/98 Garfield Awesome beyond belief!!!! 5 stars
12/01/98 Kirgo Not as good as Fargo, like people are saying, but very, very, well done, never-the-less. 5 stars
8/27/98 Mister Whoopee Will be a big Oscar contender this year. Billy Bob and Paxton shine. Music by Elfman. 5 stars
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  04-Dec-1998 (R)


  04-Feb-1999 (MA)

Directed by
  Sam Raimi

Written by
  Scott B. Smith

  Bill Paxton
  Billy Bob Thornton
  Bridget Fonda
  Brent Briscoe
  Jack Walsh
  Gary Cole

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