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Clay Pigeons (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  25 September 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 9,337 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 108 user | 49 critic | 26 from

Clay (as in the title) is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the ongoing affair that Clay was having with the man's wife. Feeling guilty, Clay now ... See full summary »



(as Matt Healy)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Dan Mooney
Deputy Barney
Wayne Brennan ...
Gloria Collins (as Nikki Arlyn)
Jeff Olson ...
Monica Moench ...
Bystander at Amanda's
Jesse Bennett ...
Dr. Jaffe
Agent Reynard


Clay (as in the title) is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the ongoing affair that Clay was having with the man's wife. Feeling guilty, Clay now resists the widow when she presses him to continue with their sexual affairs. Clay befriends a troubling serial killer. Written by BOB STEBBINS <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Lester Long never forgets a friend See more »


Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong scenes of sexuality, language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 September 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In Too Deep  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$167,364 (USA) (25 September 1998)


$1,789,892 (USA) (13 November 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



| (one scene)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film never saw a theatrical release in the United Kingdom, instead it went straight to video for UK release. See more »


The patch's on Sheriff Mooney's and his deputy's uniforms read "Mercer County Sheriff's Dept". But when Mooney is driving a sheriff's dept SUV, the decal on the door reads "Davis County Sheriff". See more »


Sheriff Mooney: Promise me something there, will you?
Clay Bidwell: What's that?
Sheriff Mooney: Promise you'll stop finding dead people.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits Lester Long says "You gotta good sense of humor, I like that" and does his bizarre laugh. See more »


References The X-Files (1993) See more »


Clay Pigeons (The Ballad Of Lester Long)
Written by Mike Garrigan
Performed by Collapsis
Courtesy of Cherry Entertainment Group/Universal Records
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the year's most entertaining and original movies. *** out of ****
24 February 1999 | by (Mason, Michigan) – See all my reviews

"Clay Pigeons" is a black comedy centering on a young man named Clay Birdwell, who works as a Montana gas station attendant. He is having an affair with his best friend's wife, Amanda. His best friend, Earl, knows about this, however. Thus he kills himself one day, and cleverly frames Clay for the murder. Clay, feeling both afraid and awkward, covers this incident up by making the death look like a suicide. The police fall for it and Clay puts this mess behind him. This film, both written and directed by newcomer David Dobkin, is the most original movie I have seen in a long while. Think about it, we haven't had a movie this clever and blackly comic since "Fargo," possible one of the best movies I have ever scene. The characters are so unique, while they don't generate much sympathy from the audience; they still are extremely fun to watch.

The performances are another great element in the movie. Vince Vaughn portrays Lester Long like he did in the recent "Psycho" remake. His style, giggle, attitude, and presence are all priceless. Joaquin Phoenix takes us though a funny joyride as he gets into more and more trouble as Clay. Let's not forget Georgina Cates, as the slutty wife of Earl. She plays cocky character who everyone loves to hate. The only character I could find is Janeane Garofalo's, who was surly inspired by Frances MacDormand from "Fargo."

The film's soundtrack is of the best there is, with songs that not only further the character's motives, but are also catchy and even describe some of the movie's plot at times. I have owned the soundtrack even before I saw the movie, which is quite unusual. But once I heard the theme song to "Clay Pigeons": "The Ballad of Lester Long," I had to get it.

I do think that this movie could have been better, however. If it had left a few more elements to the imagination, like the guilt or innocence of Clay Birdwell, and the explicit murder and sex scenes, maybe the viewer would be l bit more involved into the story. A little less plot and a little fewer characters would have also been nice.

But those are but minor complaints. I was looking forward to seeing this movie for a long time, and I was not that disappointed. "Clay Pigeons" is one of the years most entertaining and original films.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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