After hearing that his wife sleeps with Clay, Earl kills himself, making it look like Clay shot him. The widow doesn't like it when Clay starts sees another woman instead. Bodies start piling up.

Director:

David Dobkin

Writer:

Matthew L. Healy (as Matt Healy)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... Clay
Gregory Sporleder ... Earl
Georgina Cates ... Amanda
Scott Wilson ... Sheriff Mooney
Vince Vieluf ... Deputy Barney
Wayne Brennan Wayne Brennan ... Minister
Joseph D. Reitman ... Glen
Vince Vaughn ... Lester
Nicole Arlyn ... Gloria (as Nikki Arlyn)
Jeff Olson Jeff Olson ... Mark
Monica Moench Monica Moench ... Kimberly
Kevin Rahm ... Bystander at Amanda's
Jesse Bennett Jesse Bennett ... Dr. Jaffe
Phil Morris ... Agent Reynard
Janeane Garofalo ... Agent Shelby
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Storyline

Clay is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the on-going 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 <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some killers are strange, some are deranged, and some are just plain psycho. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Janeane Garofalo said in an interview that her biggest reason for taking the role of Agent Dale Shelby was her feeling that the film needed a strong leading female character to "take the edge off" the occasional violence against women on-screen. See more »

Goofs

When Clay is being interrogated for the first time, and he is asked if he was just friends with Amanda, he sits with nothing in his hands or mouth. When he answers "no" a second later, he has a cigarette in his mouth and matches in his hand. See more »

Quotes

Dale Shelby: Barney? Could you not poke the body with a stick, please?
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 »

Alternate Versions

Dutch video version oddly has all expletives erased or edited. Shot of naked corpse floating in water has been censored. See more »

Connections

Features Lassie (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Foolish Heart
Written by Evan York and Paul Malo
Performed by The Mavericks
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Dark Humor Drives Engrossing Story
11 September 2000 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

In a small town out west, a target practice outing with a friend kicks off a chain of bizarre events that lead a man to involvement with murder and an unsolicited alliance with a person of, shall we say, `questionable' character in `Clay Pigeons,' directed by David Dobkin. Joaquin Phoenix is Clay Birdwell, a regular guy whose lack of judgment and discretion catches up with him unexpectedly in this dark, maddening tale of morality and fate that is sometimes morose and disturbing, at other times darkly humorous, as it deftly examines the trappings of the tangled webs we humans weave. Clay has become mired in a moral dilemma from which there seems to be no escape, when he meets and is befriended by Lester Long (Vince Vaughn), a trucker passing through town one night. At a local bar, Lester observes that Clay doesn't exactly have a way with women; it gets Lester's attention, which leads to a game of pool and, later on, a casual fishing trip that, like the target practice outing, proves to be a life-altering experience for Clay. Phoenix is perfectly cast as Clay, ably conveying the effects of the dark quagmire into which he is cast by circumstances he is unable to control. His performance enables you to feel him sinking ever deeper as the story moves along, and to empathize with him and experience what he is going through. You realize that he understands his situation, and it becomes a matter of waiting to see if he will make the right decisions, regardless of the inevitable consequences. It creates a tension that makes you want to yell at the screen to tell him what to do. Vaughn is excellent as well as the cowboy trucker with the winning smile, robust laugh and a closet full of dark secrets. There's a menace behind the good-natured facade he puts on that becomes more pronounced as the events unfold. Pretty early on you know what this guy is all about, but somehow it only enhances the anxiety of the whole situation as it becomes a cat-and mouse game (with some unexpected twists) between Clay and Lester. Another notable performance comes from the charismatic Janeane Garofalo, who is surprisingly effective and credible as F.B.I. agent Dale Shelby, who comes to town when things take a turn and begin to heat up. It's a credit to her talent and versatility that she can pull this character off so well. The supporting cast includes Georgina Cates (Amanda), Scott Wilson (Sheriff Mooney), Vince Vieluf (Deputy Barney), and Monica Moench (Kimberly). There are moments in this movie that absolutely make you want to tear your hair out, a credit to the way Dobkin put this project together and delivered it. `Clay Pigeons' is a nail-biter that will keep you going right up to the end (which is terrific); Clay and Lester are characters you're going to remember, and just to make sure there's a brief, inspired reminder at the end of the credits (so stay with it all the way). Relatively overlooked during it's original release, this film should gain new life on video, and deservedly so; this is one you'll be glad you took a look at. I rate this one 9/10.


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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In Too Deep See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$167,364, 27 September 1998

Gross USA:

$1,794,086

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,794,086
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color | Black and White (flashback sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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