Scotland, Pa. (2001) Poster


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A Black Comic Gem - Disturbing and Hilarious
gpadillo5 October 2004
This is some of the most fun I've had watching a movie. I took it as a blind recommendation and it has become one of my favorite comedies in years.

Using Shakespeare's Macbeth as his source, former actor Billy Morrissette makes (I believe) his feature film debut as an actor with this brilliantly dark (I know, I'm oxymoronic) comedy.

Set in the depressed town of Scotland, Pennsylvania circa 1973, Morrissette turns Shakespeare's original story about a power hungry wife pushing her too contemplative husband into a bloody post-regicide reign into a tale of an over ambitious wife pushing her dullard husband into murder to take over a fast food joint. Morrissette had obvious fun playing with the characters names and using them to even propel the story. There is of course our anti-hero/heroine Joe "Mac" and his wife Pat - the McBeth's, both of whom work for Duncan, the owner of (what else) a donut shop. Through shrewd manipulation Pat pushes. There's also Lt. McDuff (Christopher Walken seemingly having more fun than he has in anything I can recall him in); Banquo - becomes Banco, and Shakespeare's witches/weird sisters become an unholy trio of drugged out hippies (deliciously played by Andy Dick, Amy Smart and Tim Levitch.

Acting honors go all the way around but James LeGros and Maura Tierney get special mention as the unholy couple. LeGros captures the perfect 70's dullard, small time dreams, clueless and nearly almost ruining everything. He's a delight to watch. Ms. Tierney - an actress who singlehandedly kept me from ever watching E.R. nearly shocked the life out of me by actually proving to be an amazing actress. If for no other reason (but thank God there are plenty of 'em) the movie would be worth watching for Tierney's most delicious, crazed performance of the film. Her transparent subtlety is almost menacing and her greedy ambition is mouthwateringly contagious - you want her to get away with everything.

I can't recommend this movie enough! Hilarious and disturbing Scotland, Pa. is a joy!
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A delightful, quirky twist on the Shakespeare tragedy!
ListenBucko27 January 2003
The trouble with watching the Sundance Channel is that you can get horribly depressed. So many of the films are dark, forbidding noir that the channel comes with free coupons for Pfizer products. However, I caught Scotland, PA, and I gotta tell ya, I LOVED this flick.

The director asked himself, "What would MacBeth be like if it was set in a fast-food restaurant?" No, really. On paper it sounds like an insane idea, and I tuned in mostly out of curiosity. I was quickly delighted by this turn of fancy, which turns one of the uglier Shakespeare plays into an offbeat comedy. James LeGros plays Joe "Mac" McBeth, a downtrodden assistant manager of a hamburger joint, who can't get ahead because of the owner's vapid sons. His long-suffering wife, played by the wonderful Maura Tierney (E.R.), presses him to plot to get ahead and then rob the owner, Mr. Duncan (get out your Cliff Notes, kids). They wind up killing him by knocking him face-first into the frier, and Mrs. McBeth winds up getting a significant burn on her hand. And so the intrigue begins. Malcolm, the lead idiot son of Duncan, practically gives the stand to the McBeths, and they are a rousing success, living high off the hog (or the cow, in this case) until Christopher Walken appears as Detective McDuff, a vegetarian cop investigating the death of Duncan. Walken does an hysterically funny parody of himself, as if he's the only character in the movie who's in Twin Peaks. The prophetic witches get a makeover that is both weird, funny and strangely appropriate. I won't tell you any more, but trust me, for once I'm being serious when I say that you should tune in Sundance for this movie, or ask your video rental store to get it. The direction, acting, locations and deadly earnest commitment to the lunacy make it an entertaining movie for anyone to watch. Those who know the play will be rolling on the floor. And as much as I like Tom Stoppard and love Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, this movie is far more accessible. I hope we see more work like this from Billy Morrissette, the director.
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Scotland PA is well worth a visit....
Pasafist31 July 2003
There are some that say if Shakespeare lived today he'd be a screenwriter. I don't know if that would be true, but it would be nice to speculate about it. Some proof that this might be possible comes from viewing actor/ first time writer director Billy Morrissette's (Pump up the volume) SCOTLAND, PA, a modern day reworking of MacBeth.

Set in the mid seventies SCOTLAND, PA stars James LeGros (Psycho) as Joe MacBeth a cook at Duncan's café. He the kind of guy with lots of ideas, but absolutely no drive and so people walk all over him. So when his boss Norm Duncan (James Rebhorn, Far From Heaven) uses some of them while promoting his useless son Malcolm, his wife Pat(Maura Tierney, Primary Colors), a beautiful and driven hatch's a plan. She and ‘Mac' are going to kill Duncan (who by the way made his fortune in Donuts (yes it's corny but I found it kind of funny)) and open up MacBeth's the first fast food drive-thru restaurant in Scotland, PA.

SCOTLAND, PA plays fast and loose with it's source material and has some really great ideas jammed packed in it. It's always fun to reinterpret Shakespeare, because his works are timeless. You can set them in the 18th century or a hundred years in the future and the characters are still real and powerful.

Maura Tierney's Lady MacBeth is phenomenal. It is a performance full of subtle nuance; of course she hatches the plan and is able to manipulate MacBeth. But there is also vulnerability about her. I wonder if she were my wife would I not follow? I'd probably do anything she said. She kind of reminds me of my fiancé, in whom I would probably kill for. That's the mark of a great femme fatale. Her performance is engaging and wonderful, and one of the best I've seen in a long time.

It's the other character's that seem understated and dull. No other performance really sticks out until Christopher Walken show's up. He portrays Lieutenant McDuff, the detective sent out to figure out just who killed Duncan. He plays the part with that certain gusto that only Walken could bring to the role. He's plays parts like these so well, he's always walking that thin line between quirky and bored and you can't help but be enchanted by him. He's really amazing.

I also enjoyed Amy Smart (Outside Providence), Andy Dick (Dude, Where's My Car?) and Timothy ‘Speed' Levitch (The Crusie) as the three witches. They offer the comic relief that some points of the movie desperately needed. Sure they were a little corny and maybe a bit to zany for the film, but since the movie has a certain silly tone, it was okay with me.

First time director and writer Billy Morrissette will always hold that special place in my heart at the tough guy in Pump up the Volume. He is defiantly a fun director who has a nice visual sense. I liked how the film may have been set in the 70's and yet also felt like it could have been happening in present day. Many lesser films would have felt like the characters were at a 70's party and not like real people living at the time.

I also liked the look of the press conference as they drove in the convertible. It's was just a beautiful sequence right before the dam breaks. It pretty powerful stuff.

Scotland PA is not a brilliant reworking of the MacBeth story, but it's fun, vibrant, and Tierney and Walken are worth and hour and forty minutes. I only wish the rest of of the cast were up to snuff. All in all I recommend this movie.

SCOTLAND PA is well worth a visit.
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Great film!
redpony91863 July 2003
Lately, I've been forcing everyone I know to watch this film. It may not go down in history, but it is hilariously funny--especially if you don't take it too seriously! People need to chill out a bit about it, and not try to analyze it too deeply. It's a funny 1970's version of Macbeth with fabulous actors and actresses, and while much of its comedy comes from its similarites to the play, much of the comedy stands on its own. It's a great update, and I don't think it should be compared to films like "Shakespeare in Love" because the idea is completely different. It's not too violent of a black comedy, either, though moments like the killing of Duncan are outright hilarious. Take smaller moments, too, like when the children play with the body of Banco as it's being taken away. The acting is excellent--Tierney, Le Gros, Walkin...what else do I have to say? It's a fun film that I think you should see.
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Maura Tierney is a thief...She steals this Movie....
jettbrowne9246 September 2004
Unfortunately, the few other reviewers were expecting Caddyshack or something. This is a Black Comedy, and it is very good. The scenes are quick and engaging. The actors are well suited for their characters. The Duncan brothers could have their own sequel. Christopher Walken is very sly and humorous, shaking his castanetta's while trying to solve a murder. If it was not made aware to you, this is a 1980's version of Macbeth, with Maura Tierney and James LeGros playing the scheming murderous couple, the McBeths. A hamburger restaurant is at the center of the action, with the McBeths being willed the restaurant from their former boss, Mr. Duncan. The cinematography very much captures Pa., as well as the sets.

Two final comments. The soundtrack was one of the best I have heard in years. Bad Company songs make up about half of it, with sprinklings of other ditties included as well. The second and most important is that Maura Tierney steals this film. Every scene she is in, you are transfixed to her. Her actions, her (in some cases) vulgarity and her great acting makes this her showcase. The scene with her and the pharmacist at the end is hysterical as she attempts to remove a burn from her hand which has long since healed. Bravo Maura and Bravo to this little movie that SHOULD have been a bigger success. Shakespeare adaptation not withstanding, you do not need to be familiar with the Bard to enjoy this film.
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Yet Another Spin On the Bard
jhclues23 November 2002
Once again, Shakespeare is afforded a cinematic, contemporary rendering in `Scotland, Pa.,' written for the screen and directed by Billy Morrissette, an updated version of the tragedy, `Macbeth,' which here becomes a black comedy of tragic proportions. Morrissette jumps on the bandwagon that began in 1996 with Baz Luhrmann's `William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet,' which was followed by further spins on the bard's plays, including Julie Taymor's energetic and imaginative `Titus' in ‘99 and Michael Almereyda's dreadful and dreary `Hamlet' in 2000. Morrissette's offering-- which differs from the others in that it does not retain the Shakespearian language and verse-- falls somewhat beneath Luhrmann and Taymor's films, but far above Almereyda's dismal effort, which was a tragedy in ways that transcended the story. Be advised, this one is a `black comedy' in every sense of the definition, and actually comes in on the absolute `darkest' end of the spectrum. There's no getting around it, `Macbeth' is a depressing story to begin with, and this version decidedly captures the spirit of the play that inspired it.

This story begins with a look at businessman Norm Duncan (James Rebhorn), who after selling his successful donut shops (`Duncan' Donuts, anyone?) has established a hamburger stand, which due in no small part to the innovative ideas of employee Joe McBeth (James LeGros) and the support of Joe's wife, Pat McBeth (Maura Tierney)-- also an employee of Duncan's-- has become a successful enterprise, as well as a harbinger of a chain of fairly well-known burger stands that start with `M' and today enjoy the lion's share of the fast-food market. And now Norm has come up with his best idea yet, one that's going to take the simple burger stand into the future and put Duncan's at the top of the heap.

It's a grand scheme alright, and Norm graciously shares his intentions with his best employees, Joe and Pat. But there's a rub; the idea was originally Joe's, and Norm's taking the credit does not sit too well with the McBeth's, who envision a hamburger joint of their own, `McBeth's,' sitting beneath the huge arches formed by the big red `M' of the sign that stands above the entrance to the restaurant. And the whole business goes south very quickly, as `Norm's' idea leads a seething Joe and Pat down a path that must necessarily end in murder and mayhem if their plan is, in fact, acted upon. And is it? For the answer to that, one must look no further than the source material, and keep in mind the term, `tragedy.'

Billy Morrissette's is an interesting and fairly imaginative presentation, but in staying true to the essence of the play it takes you, finally, to a very dark place. And even though he supplies a rather amusing ending infused with shrouded irony, be advised, this one's a downer; and it may seem something of a contradiction in terms, but it's going to make you laugh in spite of yourself. And you'll hate yourself in the morning because of it.

Still, there's no denying that this is a clever, if just short of inspired, piece of filmmaking. The single drawback is the casting of LeGros in the lead role; he does a decent job, even acceptable by most standards, but he lacks the screen presence and charisma to really sell it. The part of Joe called for someone like Thomas Jay Ryan, who was so riveting in Hal Hartley's `Henry Fool' in 1998, a film which coincidentally featured another actor who could've pulled this part off successfully, and who happens to have a small, but pivotal role in this film, Kevin Corrigan.

Corrigan, a terrific character actor and unsung veteran of a number of indy films, in this one plays Anthony `Banco' Banconi, a co-worker and friend of the McBeth's who significantly figures into the tragedy as it ultimately plays out. Corrigan has the talent and just the kind of charismatic screen presence the role of Joe called for, and it's too bad that Morrissette and casting director Avy Kaufman didn't recognize the possibility that was right in front of them.

They did strike gold, however, with the casting of Tierney as Pat McBeth. She has a naturally endearing screen presence and expressive eyes that can speak volumes, which she uses to great effect here. And, as she's demonstrated since becoming an integral member of the cast of TV's `ER,' she plays extremely well to her `dark' side, which is precisely what the role of Pat called for. Needless to say, she does it quite well, turning in an altogether convincing and entirely believable performance.

Another actor who plays so well to his dark side, Christopher Walken, does a solid turn here as Lt. Ernie McDuff, the investigator probing the shady goings-on at Duncan's hamburger stand. In any role, Walken has a subtle, commanding presence, and this is no exception; here, though, he lends something of a light touch to the proceedings that is nevertheless in keeping with the seriousness of the story. Suffice to say, he does black comedy well. And, without question, it is Walken who `makes' the final shot of the film.

The supporting cast includes Tom Guiry (Malcolm Duncan), Andy Dick (The Hippie Jesse), Amy Smart (The Hippie Stacy), Timothy `Speed' Levitch (The Hippie Hector), Geoff Dunsworth (Donald Duncan), John Cariani (doing a hilarious turn as Ed the Cop), Nate Crawford (Robert/Richard) and Timothy Durkin (Frank the Pharmacist). It may not be especially memorable, but `Scotland, Pa.' is just quirky enough to be a worthwhile entry in the Put-A-Spin-On-Shakespeare festival, currently playing on a DVD or video near you.
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wonderful movie, Maura is so good!
MovieGoer004 May 2003
I loved this movie. I think that the acting of Maura Tierney was truely wonderful. Infact, you never caught her 'acting'. She was very into the role and it made the movie wonderful. The rest of the cast did a nice job as well. I would recommend this movie to people who enjoy slightly dark comedy and just want to watch a good movie.
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Absolutely bizarre but effective adaption of the Shakespeare tale.
mhasheider15 May 2002
Absolutely bizarre but effective adaption of the Shakespeare tale "MacBeth" by frist-time writer and director Billy Morrissette. In "Scotland, PA.", a '70s-like working class-like couple, Joe and Pat McBeth (James LeGros and Maura Tierney), who both work at Duncan's, a small-town fast food joint, dream of running their own restaurant and go to great lengths to earn it. However, they get their opportunity by sending their boss, Norm Duncan (James Rebhorn) to an unpleasant demise and quickly give the place a complete make-over. Before the duo think that they're never be caught and tried for their crime, a police lieutenant named McDuff (Christopher Walken), strolls into town to look into the case and find out who is responsible for Duncan's death. There's isn't a lot of funny moments in the movie, nevertheless, it makes you want to giggle with delight. The standouts here are Tierney and LeGros, who are fine in holding their ground throughout the time. As for Walken, who handles his character like Peter Falk did as Columbo or Frances McDormand in "Fargo" very well, gives the viewer another reason to enjoy the movie. This movie may not be well-made as "Shakespeare in Love", but this film also has the emotional edge and that counts as well.
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Duncan Donuts...
tvspace18 February 2002
I really didn't get the "Duncan Donuts" gag until I sat down to write this brief review. It's that kind of movie, I guess: it is smarter than you think, but in ways that aren't necessarily very illuminating to the core of the drama.

This take on Shakespeare's MacBeth is both lightweight and light on its feet. It doesn't take itself very seriously but it takes what it wants from the material and spins it into an unexpected and hard to categorize movie. Think "Dazed and Confused" meets the Bard and you're getting pretty close to the mark, but it's campier than that, not as heartfelt, more smart-alecky. There's a little Twin Peaks bound up in the recipe, as well.

Though the material is not as well-crafted as, say, "Shakespeare in Love", the sloppy, homemade quality almost becomes its central aesthetic. It feels like something you'd dream up on a Friday night sitting around a hookah with your best friends, and by Saturday morning nobody could remember quite what you were talking about.

Even though the film utterly lacks the air of serious drama that one normally expects in a rendition of a Shakespearian tragedy, one can't help but wonder if the slapdash charms of this production might not actually lie closer to what versions Shakespeare himself might have seen produced at the Globe...rowdy, loose, untamed entertainment that races from one side of the stage to the other without pausing to ask what its all about.
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Rock Block
alcapaul1 November 2018
This movie is dope. Probably my all-time favorite movie.
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Shakespeare would be proud--what a hilarious re-make, filled with comic nuance
secondtake1 February 2015
Scotland, PA (2001)

What a terrific farce. And homage to the Shake. And campy fun movie.

Advice? Read a synopsis of MacBeth first—the play, the original Shakespeare drama that this movie is based on. There is no Elizabethan language in this thorough update of Lady MacBeth and crew, but the plot is kind of sort of the same. Only different in all the right ways.

And the acting is great. Playing Lady MacBeth (one of Shakespeare's greatest characters) as Pat McBeth, is Maura Tierney, and she's terrific—the disdain, sass, savvy, and brooding are all perfect pitch. And matching her as the detective now called Lieutenant McDuff is Christopher Walken in his usual dry, subtle mode. The rest of the cast is nearly as good (the one sorry exception is the James Le Gros as Mr. McBeth), and the compact scenes click along with peculiar twists and little odd background pranks all through. You have to watch closely.

The setting—the kingdom—is a drive-up restaurant, a burger joint, called Duncan's. Duncan (Tome Guiry) is the "king" and if you know MacBeth you know he is doomed. The fight for relevance in this little place is comic in itself, even if you don't know Shakespeare. In fact, you need to feel comfortable diving into this funny gem of a movie even if you don't know a thing about the original story. It stands on its own.

A terrific surprise.
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george.schmidt11 February 2002
SCOTLAND, PA (2002) ***1/2 James LeGros, Maura Tierney, Christopher Walken, Kevin Corrigan, James Rebhorn, Thomas Guiry, Geoff Dunsworth, Andy Dick, Amy Smart, Timothy Speed Levitch. Fun, funny and skeweringly clever concoction/re-imagination of Shakespeare's "MacBeth" transplanting the classic play into the titular hamlet locale circa 1975 centering around a fast-food joint with some duplicitous characters (Le Gros and Tierney as Mr. & Mrs. McBeth here) attempting to dethrone its owner (burger king Rebhorn) thru murder until local police Lt. McDuff (wryly dry Walken) investigates the sordid affair. Highly imaginative with a game cast (including Dick, Smart & Levitch as a trio of hippies standing in as the Greek chorus witches here), terrific costumes by David Robinson and FM rock nuggets underscoring the chicanery at hand. A real hoot for purists and non-initiated in the Bard alike. (Dir: Billy Morrissette – trivia note: Ms. Tierney's real-life better half)
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i love, love, love this movie
shar021710 October 2004
I have the DVD of this movie & I think the director, Morissette did an incredible job-- I am pretty sure this was his first movie. I love the soundtrack & think the casting was excellent. This film appeals to anyone that enjoys dark comedies..I recommend watching the movie w/ the director's comments included in the feature--- From that I realized that the director is Maura Tierney's husband... and she truly inspired the "Pat MacBeth" character's role in the story..

Scotland PA IS SUCH AN AWESOME MOVIE... i give this movie ten stars and do not think a single thing should have been done differently.. I could see this movie over & over without getting sick of it.
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I liked it
gabbbbyhayes28 July 2006
I thought it was a very worthwhile effort to retell the Scottish play, in the same sense that west side story told the Romeo and Juliet story. Some things work well across 500 years, among them blind ambition and teen age love. The look of the film is first rate, the set design is amazingly detailed. It was Morrisette's first attempt to direct and (perhaps thanks to the people he selected for the cast) it worked well. There is a lot of social commentary about the modern world in it. It is foul-mounted (Tierney can always come up with the right spin on the F-word) and features a stripper AND a streaker, so watch it alone before springing it on your junior high school English class. I fell in love with Maura Tierney all over again (and she's available! She and Morrisette broke up in March!). Tierney helped out in the writing and editing, by the way. Just a grand effort all around. Fun to watch. A lot of insights in the director's commentary on the DVD.
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Loved it!!!
Jenmuse-219 May 2004
This film is full of quirk, which I love. The one liners alone made the movie all worth it. 'The foul was foul' 'And the fair was fair' I'll admit this film isn't for everyone. But I laughed the whole way through. It was also refreshing to see James LeGros and M. Tierney playing characters so out of type. 'And I don't want one of those baby s**t-a** tubes, I need a vat of it'. Like the classic it was penned to mimic, it delivered a great story of envy, greed, betrayal and karmic redemption. Christopher Walken aside, I was surprised at what a first time filmmaker and what I'd consider a bunch of B-list actors could do. 'Mr. McBeth come take a look at your wife's beautiful cones!' If you like quirk and Bad Company, this movie is for you.
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Macbeth does MacDonalds!
ShrinkSteve7 November 2003
This movie is a combination of comedy, tragedy, and film-noir rolled into one! Outstanding for a first time writer/director. Surprisingly edgy performance by the lead actress (director's spouse) who usually plays gentle and nice. Supporting cast is a blast! I will watch this one again. I especially like the morphing of Shakespeare's story into a 70's lower middle-class America battle for money and power... over a diner! Funny on many levels! Enjoy!
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Amusing Spin on Macbeth, Doesn't Quite Hold Up to The End
jmatrixrenegade17 August 2003
For hundreds of years, Shakespeare has inspired playwrights and others, and he himself based many of his plays on past works and stories. "Scotland, PA" is another, one of many in recent years, often done as teen flicks these days. This is totally logical given the power of the stories, the universality of the themes. Now, you might not have immediately thought the take over of a burger joint in the 1970s would be the most logical parallel to the regicide of Macbeth, but it's handled pretty well here.

The movie is largely loyal to the original, so the co-story credit with William Shakespeare is quite appropriate. The main characters have names patterned after the originals, and the storyline goes basically the same. Maura Tierney (wife of the director) as Pat McBeth is great and seems to have a lot of fun cursing (she is usually in good girl roles). Christopher Walken (Lieutenant McDuff) has another self-parodying role that is a lot of fun. A couple other interesting tidbits ... "I'm not Lisa" is a song in the film (Maura Tierney played Lisa in "NewsRadio") and the streaker at the end of the film is no bit player ... he is a producer of this film and directed various movies and tv, including a movie Maura Tierney was in, and the homage to old time radio, "Remember WENN."

Once the murders begin, the movie (as the director himself notes on the DVD commentary track) gets a bit more serious. It also somewhat loses its way... now, it still is enjoyable, and parts of it are quite imaginative and good on some level, but something is missing. It seems like the movie is just playing out the plot instead of it being fun on its own. Nonetheless, on the whole, it's an enjoyable movie. The DVD commentary is decent too, so check out the DVD.
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Good film
dwyer_L6 April 2003
"Scotland, Pa" is an interesting film that deserves acclamation for several of it's qualities. The plot is intricate and quite interactive, even though it mimics the popular Shakespeare play. In fact, the spin-off is hard to catch if you're not paying attention carefully or haven't read "Macbeth". This is a wonderful quality of the film, as it indicates that the plot is individual and never tedious. The acting is wonderful and the actors are well-researched and are very thorough in their acting methods. Christopher Walken, as always, is excellent. Maura Tierney, additionally, does a great job. The cinematography is quite involving and beautiful. The film is well-edited. All-in-all, "Scotland, Pa" is a wonderful film that should be viewed by all several times. Assuredly, you will not be bored watching it.

  • Lauryn
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excellent, unique interpretation!
rudechack1 March 2003
i am an english teacher in training and i would definitely use this film in my class as supplementary material to macbeth. though there are a number of 'f bombs' the plot is great and is a wonderful twist on the original shakespearean text. it's super funny and witty, too. check it.
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This is for school, dont mind me
hakan-oender14 February 2019
I was mostly confused when I heard of the idea of a reimagination of Macbeth as a cook.

I am opposed to this.

I do enjoy modern reimaginations of old classic movies, yet I don't agree with putting the epic and thrilling story that is Macbeth into something as trivial as a kitchen.

Something that made Macbeth special for me and many others is the incredible weight that is put on Macbeth and the other characters. The trivial nature of a kitchen does not do this justice and degrades this unnerving story of madness and deceit. Furthermore, reimagining epic stories in everyday situations is a trend that I generally do not agree with, since it feels like an easy cashgrab without having to spend much time or effort on the story, which is already there, or the presentation, since a story about a restaurant should be cheap to make.
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A Black Comedy That Gets Blacker
tabuno27 January 2019
17 November 2002. This fun, little movie is a delight with insidious humor coupled along with a laid back scheme to take over a small fast food diner that involves heinous crimes. The movie seemed, like many black comedies, to drip with more serious blackness changing the lighter tones in the beginning to more somber hues towards the end, except the ending is light and breezy. Perhaps, its supposed to be some sort of moral tale and that such darkness must gain strength as the movie moves forward, except such breakout television series such as Buffy, Charmed, Angel belie the necessity of always having to modify consistency for some ulterior mood changes. Why can't movie just keep their charm throughout instead of becoming some associative personality disorder of film?
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Scotland, Pa.
oOoBarracuda5 December 2016
Billy Morrissette directed the 2001 modern day retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth with his Scotland, Pa. Starring James Le Gros, Maura Tierney, and Christopher Walken, the film explored the life of a man with a burger stand lacking all motivation, and his wife who would do anything to be her own boss. Scotland, Pa. is a fun reimagining of the Shakespeare classic showing the lasting impression the bard still has on authors and filmmakers, alike.

Joe 'Mac' McBeth (James Le Gros) married out of his league to the love of his life. His wife, Pat (Maura Tierney) is smarter and more business savvy than her well-meaning yet uninspired husband. Pat has dreams of grandeur that far exceed her small town and the modest burger stand she and her husband operate. When Pat, frustrated with her life's trajectory, finally reaches her breaking point, she convinces her husband to kill the business manager and rob the restaurant. Despite the warnings and fortune telling of trouble on the horizon from some under the influence drifters, Mac goes along with Pat's plan. Initially, the two find some success and all looks to be going according to plan until Lieutenant McDuff (Christopher Walken) begins investigating. Much to his dismay, it looks as though Mac hasn't committed his last murder as his wife begins to pull the strings to save the small fortune amassed since the restaurant became theirs.

I'm quite partial to Shakespeare adaptations, and Scotland, Pa. was a fun re-telling of Macbeth. As a child of the 90's it was fun to see James Rebhorn (R.I.P.) in this film, I remember him as Preston's dad in the Disney hit Blank Check. I'm never too taken by Christopher Walken's acting, but I found this role to be perfect for his naturally paused dictation. All-in-all, Scotland, Pa. is a good enough indie flick and a fun reimagination of a Shakespeare classic, but not one that will stay with an audience once finished.
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Clever and whimsical telling of MacBeth in 1975 Pennsylvania.
TxMike13 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The story of MacBeth is of course one of Shakespeare's classics. The tale of one of the king's generals who is told by three witches that he will become king. So he does, by murdering King Duncan, with the help of his wife, Lady MacBeth.

In this modern re-telling, Norm Duncan (James Rebhorn) is not really a king, but is the burger magnate of Scotland, Pa. His cook and right hand man is Joe McBeth (James LeGros), and the head waitress is Joe's wife, Pat (Maura Tierney). Joe is not approached by three witches, but by the vision of three 'hippies' (Amy Smart, Tim Levitch, and Andy Dick). My favorite character was Lieutenant McDuff (Christopher Walken) who shows up to investigate the crime.

I believe many will not like "Scotland, Pa.". It is a bit whimsical, a very dark comedy, but for me it was very entertaining. If for no other reason than to see how the Shakespeare classic can be adapted to modern settings and values.

SPOILERS. Unhappy with their subordinate roles, Joe and Pat plot to kill Duncan. They aren't very good at this, but after injuring him badly with a frying pan across the head, Duncan stumbles and falls partially into the hot deep fryer, and that is his method of death. Money is missing from the safe so police think it was a robbery, and various locals become suspects. However, when McDuff shows up he begins to suspect the McBeths. McDuff eventually wins the battle of wits. Once again, we see that crime doesn't pay!
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Thoroughly Enjoyable
bondibox25 April 2003
Truly Entertaining. Though I've forgotten most of the Shakespeare original, the cleverness wasn't lost on me. Whoever supplied the props for the set did a perfect job, I WAS IN 1974, and not just reminded of it ala "Dazed and Confused". That alone makes it a gem. There were a few tedious moments, but none of them lasted more than half a minute. I was laughing out loud several times - A totally admirable first outing for Director Morissette. Must agree with reviewer who noticed volume problems with the dialogue on the VHS rental.
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A wonderful film
chrissytine716 April 2003
I usually do not enjoy modern versions of Shakespeare's plays because usually I don't think they work. But this movie was great. It didn't take itself too seriously and wasn't concerned with being exactly like the play. It was true to the story, and if you are familiar with the play it is a fun movie to watch. I think the casting was wonderful, Maura Tierney was an amazing Lady McBeth, and she worked well with James LeGros. Anyone who is a Christopher Walken fan will love him in this movie, he steals every scene he's in, like always. The rest of the cast was great, and Andy Dick actually worked in a Shakespeare adaptation...never thought I'd say that. I liked seeing McBeth in the 70's, but the time period wasn't distracting like it can be in some movies. All in all it's a great film, if you've read the play you'll enjoy it, and even if you haven't you should still enjoy.
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