6.1/10
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73 user 55 critic

Best Laid Plans (1999)

A seemingly simple plan to steal money goes increasingly awry.

Director:

Mike Barker

Writer:

Ted Griffin

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alessandro Nivola ... Nick
Reese Witherspoon ... Lissa
Josh Brolin ... Bryce
Gene Wolande ... Lawyer
Jonathan McMurtry Jonathan McMurtry ... Vet
Terrance Sweeney ... Priest (as Father Terrance Sweeney)
Rebecca Klingler ... Diner Waitress
Rocky Carroll ... Bad Ass Dude
Kate Hendrickson ... Bar Waitress
Owen Bush Owen Bush ... Vagrant
Jesse Woodrow ... Roach Coach Clerk
Jamie Marsh Jamie Marsh ... Barry
Michael McCleery ... Recycling Owner
Terrence Howard ... Jimmy (as Terrence Dashon Howard)
Sean Nepita Sean Nepita ... Freddie
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Storyline

Bryce (Josh Brolin) is a successful man who returns to his tiny hometown for a visit. While there, he runs into his old friend Nick (Alessandro Nivola). The two decide to go out for the night. When they enter a bar, Bryce encounters Kathy (Reese Witherspoon), a blonde temptress whom he eventually takes home for the night. When he awakens, Kathy informs him that she is underage and threatens to tell the police that Bryce has committed statutory rape. Bryce panics and decides to tie her up and hide her away in the basement. He then makes a call to Nick. Unbeknownst to Bryce, Kathy is actually Nick's girlfriend Lissa. The two had schemed to use Bryce's money to pay off a $15,000 debt they owe small-time hood Jimmy (Terrence Howard). Written by lament

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Ever feel like the world is conspiring against you... You don't have to tell me where you've been... Everyone sucks, but us... keeping a relationship alive can be murder. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 1999 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El engaño See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,872, 12 September 1999

Gross USA:

$27,816

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,816
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[Nick is reaching for the stolen note, which Lissa has hidden in her private parts]
Lissa: You could at least kiss me when you do that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD contains some deleted scenes:
  • Alternate Opening Titles featuring a vagrant named Cal, riding a bicycle decorated with recycling goods.
  • At the pool Nick and Bryce discuss what to do with Lissa.
  • Cal collects some tins.
  • Nick and Lissa sell the belongings of Nicks's deceased father.
  • An extended version of the scene where Nick and Lissa plan to leave Tropico. Here Lissa tells Nick that she wants to get out at all cost.
  • A longer version of the scene on the roof of the hotel which fleshes out Lissa's devotion to Nick.
  • An extended version of the scene where Nick and Lissa plan the robbery.
  • Nick kills some time, buys some cigarettes and inadvertently starts the bush fire.
  • An alternate ending which is not as clearly positive as in the final film, but is instead "hopeful".
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Everwood: Best Laid Plans (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Susanna
Written by Graham Preskett and Mauricio Venegas
Courtesy of Associated Production Music/KPM Library
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User Reviews

Finally a worthy tribute to the film noir scene. Bravo!
21 May 1999 | by Porter-5See all my reviews

Long live Mike Barker! This fairly fresh feature director has pulled off one of those rare tributes to the film noir scene, which once coloured the movie scene in the past. There have been worthy efforts, but this one seems to have it all right. The movie starts as most movies from Mike Barker start. Circumstances found as in the traditions of working class realism found in the films of Ken Loach and the novels of Alan Silitoe, colour the first couple of scenes. The story starts with a scene in which is explained that Bryce (Josh Brolin) has 'accidentally' raped a minor. He calls his old university buddy friend Nick (Nivola) to help him out. At this moment the story rewinds to 4 months earlier and we can peak in the history to see how this problem started. Nick has just lost his father, found out he doesn't get any money, and works at a recycling plant. He than engages in some criminal activities, which turns horribly sour and he ends up owing 15,000 dollars to a local criminal. Now, that's all you need to know about the storyline, there are so many plots and twists that even the most critical movie fan would be impressed by the surprises that are being thrown at you. The last time I experienced such a feast, was during the Usual Suspects, and that is quite a compliment.

Reese Witherspoon (Lissa, nick's girlfriend and the 'raped' minor) pulls off one of her more impressing acting roles since 'Freeway' Although a bit more constraint than her role in Freeway, her presence definitely enriches the movie. Allessandro Nivola (Nick) will await a big future. His nonchalance acting and worried looks, will make him the perfect actor for sub-blockbusters. Finally one of his bigger roles after movies such as Inventing the Abbotts and Face/Off. Josh Brolin is less appealing, but even he is not bad enough to ruin this movie.

Mike Barker continues his strong line of work, after The James Gang in '97. And in a sort of way, this movie resembles his previous to some aspect. In both movies poor families take center stage, and in both movies they are resulting in criminal activities because of the financial trouble they are in. Barker is definitely one of the most artistic directors around (up there with Scorsese), but one wonders if he doesn't overdue it a bit sometimes. Even these minor negative things can't make me change my mind that this is a great movie, cinematic wise, with a well written script, that the characters are well thought out and acted, and that Barker has proven himself once more that he is a major talent. Bravo!


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