Before striking gold by teaming with Vince Vaughn in last year’s Wedding Crashers, director David Dobkin tabbed him for his debut Clay Pigeons. The movie had some buzz behind it upon its release in 1998, however I never got around to checking it out. A few months ago, while listening to my podcast of choice, the movie review show Cinecast (recently renamed as Filmspotting), Pigeons was brought back into my consciousness. It is a well-made effort—dark subject matter mixed with pitch black humor. This is vintage Vaughn who really lights up the screen with his infectious smile; even the high-pitched hyena laugh stays in tact as he must not have been asked to tone it down as it seems his more recent films have required. Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who seems to not be able to catch a break. How many times must one character take care of dead bodies that he hasn’t even killed? Everyone has something to hold over him so that he must cover up the chaos happening in the town. Pigeons is shot well and nicely paced. It’s a shame Dobkin seems to have forgone the edge this film contains for more general fare like Crashers and the forthcoming Vaughn vehicle Joe Claus. He shows some nice flare and hopefully will continue making entertaining movies.
Clay Pigeons 6/10 | ★ ★ ½