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"EIGHT HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG"
(1997) (Joe Pesci, Andy Comeau) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Heavy Mild Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild None Mild Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A mafia courier must find his duffel bag, which contains eight severed heads, that's accidentally been taken by a student who's meeting his girlfriends' parents for the first time.
PLOT:
Tommy (JOE PESCI) is a courier for the mafia who's given a duffel bag of eight severed heads to deliver to his boss. A mix up at the airport causes the bag to fall into the hands of Charlie (ANDY COMEAU), a pre-med student who's traveling to San Diego to meet Dick (GEORGE HAMILTON) and Annette Bennett (DYAN CANNON), his girlfriend Laurie Bennett's (KRISTY SWANSON) parents. Unable to immediately find Charlie, Tommy first tortures and then takes his roommates, Ernie (DAVID SPADE) and Steve (TODD LOUISO) with him as they try to track down Charlie and the Bennetts as they vacation in Mexico. After Charlie finds the heads, he must deal not only with the reactions of Laurie and her parents, but with Tommy and the other mafia men who show up for the heads.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of any of the cast, they might. In addition, those who think that the morbid plot sounds funny might want to as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Being a farce, none of the characters are meant to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, there are no good role models in this film. In particular, Joe Pesci's character is the antithesis of good and everyone else is annoying or has other bad traits.
CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


OUR TAKE: 1 out of 10
This film must have looked "high concept" on paper. Some studio exec said, "Let's get that guy from "Goodfellas," you know the one -- the short guy with the mean temper. And let's put him in a film where he's the same kind of guy -- but he's also funny. And then let's throw in some missing cutoff heads in a duffel bag -- and bing, bang, boom, we've got ourselves a sure-fire hit. It's too bad that whoever "green-lighted" this film didn't end up in the duffel bag themselves. This is an awful excuse for a film with its morbid plot, poor execution and equal amounts of horrible writing and acting. Pesci tries to do an amusing take on his trademark "tough guy" character that he's used in many Martin Scorsese films (Goodfellas, etc...), but it just doesn't work. Unlike in the later "Lethal Weapon" sequels and in "My Cousin Vinny," where Pesci changed his character enough that he created funny characters, here he's just turned that same violent persona down a notch on the intensity level. Instead of beating someone with a bat, just threatens to kill them, or hits people with rolled up wet towels or pinches them on the ears. Hey, that's funny stuff -- if you're in grade school. But on the big screen (and soon to appear on the small screen), it comes off as callous, inept film making. Faring worse is Dyan Cannon who overplays her trademark neurotic character, but this time goes way over the top (crawling and lunging over the floor and bed to get to her pills in one scene) and her constant screaming, yelling and overacting quickly become tedious and annoying. And any film that features David Spade is certain to be bad. We've never liked any of the characters he's played -- smug, self-assured arrogant losers -- and he does the same for this production. Beyond the characters, the plot is particularly inept and in no way does it ever approach being funny. Are we really supposed to laugh when a head spins around in a dryer that a blind housekeeper sits in front of it, preventing Charlie from retrieving the head? Or how about when Tommy and Ernie repeatedly argue over the names of the former owners of the heads in a scene that feels like it will never end? There are many other unforgiveable scenes such as when Charlie conveniently forgets that several heads are in the carry on luggage that he's given Laurie's father (who the police end up arresting). Sure it's not supposed to be taken seriously, but "goofy" comedies have their own rules that must be followed successfully be funny, and this one breaks all of them. If you're going to do a take on a very morbid subject, then you have to carefully set up all of the humor. This production doesn't and comes across as a sloppy, hastily assembled film that isn't remotely funny. We give it a 1 out of 10.
OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
While this film is intended to be a comedy, some viewers may be put off by its approach toward a very serious subject -- murder. The eight severed heads are often seen and similarly their presence is meant to invoke humor. Whether that succeeds is up to your own viewpoint. Sensitive viewers and young children, however, shouldn't see this film as they'll likely be upset by the decapitated heads although the gore factor -- beyond the obvious -- isn't that high (just a little dried blood on the "stumps"). Most of the violence occurs off-screen, but Pesci's character is mean and violent many times. Profanity is extreme with more than ten "f" and "s" words each, but most other categories are rather sparse in objectionable content. You may find this okay for older teens who understand the farce quality of this production, but that decision rests with you and we suggest that you read through the scene listings before making that determination.

ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • After a long drive to Mexico, Annette mentions that she could use a margarita, but Dick reminds her of her former drinking problem. Later she downs many pills with hotel liquor, she secretly drinks in another scene, and then steals little bottles of liquor from Charlie's room.
  • Charlie, Laurie and Dick drink margaritas.
  • After Ernie notices a woman eavesdropping on Tommy's conversation about "heads," he tells her that they're talking about "pot heads" and "marijuana users anonymous."
  • A car rental manager has a beer in his hand.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • The decapitated heads are often seen throughout the movie. While they only have dried blood on the "stumps" and are intended to be grotesquely funny, many will find them graphically objectionable and younger children will be frightened by them. In one scene, Tommy lines up all of the heads on a shelf.
  • Just the legs of the eight murder victims are seen as they lay on a table and they're a little bit bloody.
  • More decapitated heads are seen in cryogenic (frozen) containers.
  • We hear, but don't see, Steve cutting off a head with a medical power saw. Later, dried blood is seen on his shirt.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Tommy and the people he works for have both as they don't mind killing and decapitating people.
  • Tommy slips a gun into a woman's pocket just as she walks through an airport's metal detector. The guards grab her, allowing Tommy to slip through unnoticed.
  • A mafia guy uses binoculars to get a close-up view of a woman's cleavage, but we don't see what he sees.
  • Tommy takes Charlie's airline pillow and blanket from him and makes him move his carry on luggage to another overhead bin.
  • Tommy threatens a woman who wants to use his pay phone, "Interrupt me one more time and you'll swallow this phone." When he's done, he yanks the handset from the phone and hands it to her.
  • Several Mexican "locals" accost Charlie and Laurie and she punches and kicks at them as they pick her up. When the police arrive, the locals steal Charlie and Laurie's truck.
  • Knowing that he's missing several of the heads, Tommy wants "replacement" ones and forces Steve to saw off several for him (heard but not seen).
  • Tired of her nonstop complaining, Tommy throws Laurie's grandmother from their van and she falls down a steep cliff. Annette then repeatedly thanks Tommy for "getting rid" of her mother-in-law.
  • The movie presents rather stereotypical representations of lower income Mexicans (dirty, poorly dressed) who harass and rob the Americans.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The decapitated heads are often seen throughout the movie. While they only have dried blood on the "stumps" and are intended to be grotesquely funny, many will find them graphically objectionable and younger children will be frightened by them.
  • Tommy has a dream where the heads start singing at him and then their headless bodies crash through the walls and attack him. While it's played for laughs for adults, younger children will be scared by this.
  • At the end, Steve runs around the airport with one of the heads, chasing and scaring those he encounters.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to threaten or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Tommy's trunk is filled with handguns.
  • Tommy slips a gun into a woman's pocket just as she walks through an airport's metal detector. The guards grab her, thus allowing Tommy to slip through unnoticed.
  • Tommy often holds his handgun on Steve and Ernie.
  • Charlie holds a gun on Tommy and two other mafia men and Laurie then takes their guns.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Die scumbags," "Screw you," "Loser," "Dip," "Smart ass," "Jerking me around," "Screw up," "Shut up," "Piss," "Dillywacker" (penis), "Screwed," "Cajones" (testicles), "Screwball," and "Douche bags."
  • Tommy slips a gun into a woman's pocket just as she walks through an airport's metal detector. The guards grab her, thus allowing Tommy to slip through unnoticed.
  • Annette downs many pills (presumably sedatives) with liquor after discovering the heads in Charlie's duffel bag.
  • Tommy destroys a public phone in one scene and in another yanks the receiver from the phone.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a minor amount of suspenseful music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 12 "f" words (and 1 use of "freakin" and 1 "bopping" used sexually), 15 "s" words, 2 slang terms for male genitals ("pr*ck" and "dillywhacker"), 18 hells, 8 "ass" words (5 used with "hole"), 3 damns, 2 craps, 2 S.O.B.'s, and 13 uses of "Oh my God," 8 uses of "Jesus," 4 uses of "God damn," 3 uses each of "For God's sakes" and "Jesus Christ," and 1 use each of "My God," "Good God," "God," and "For Christ's sakes" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Tommy looks through a copy of "PlayPen" magazine (a pornographic publication), but we don't see any of the material.
  • Laurie's grandmother hears someone at the door and asks her, "Is that the guy you're bopping (having sex with)?"
  • SMOKING
  • A Mexican "local" smokes a cigar.
  • Dick's mother smokes cigarettes in every scene she's in.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • That this is just a movie and that in reality, murder isn't funny.
  • VIOLENCE
  • At the very beginning someone says, "Die scumbags" which is then followed by the sound of gunshots. We then see eight bodies lying on a table (seen only from the thighs down) and their legs are bloody. We also see Tommy with a bag that contains the freshly cut off heads of those eight people.
  • Tommy slams a pay phone receiver onto the phone until is shatters.
  • Tommy threatens a woman who wants to use his pay phone, "Interrupt me one more time and you'll swallow this phone." When he's done, he yanks the handset from the phone and hands it to her.
  • Annette lunges over a dinner table and attacks Charlie after she's found the heads.
  • Tommy "tortures" Steve and Ernie. He wraps up a wet towel and repeatedly hits them with it (while they're bound with socks in their mouths), he hangs them upside down, and bangs stethoscopes together that are placed in their ears. He later tells them that eventually he's going to have to kill them.
  • Laurie slaps Charlie to help him regain his composure.
  • Tommy fires his gun into the ceiling to scare Ernie.
  • Tommy pinches Steve's ear to further emphasize his serious intent while talking with Charlie on the phone.
  • Several Mexican "locals" accost Charlie and Laurie and she punches and kicks at them as they pick her up. The police arrive, the locals steal Charlie and Laurie's truck, and the officer fires his gun at them.
  • Angry about not getting "his" heads, Tommy walks down the dorm hallway, breaking the glass in several pictures and then takes one and smashes it to bits.
  • Tommy slaps Steve on the back of the head and later does the same to Ernie.
  • Laurie hits her mother on the back of the head with a vase to prevent her from calling the police.
  • Tired of her nonstop complaining, Tommy throws Laurie's grandmother from their van and she falls down a steep cliff.
  • A Mexican "local" threatens to cut off Charlie's testicles and after losing a bet to do so, punches Charlie in the stomach.
  • Tommy shoots his gun to stop Charlie from running in the desert, and later shoots it at a coyote that has grabbed one of the heads.
  • In a later scene, the coyote is roasted over a spit, implying that someone killed it.
  • Charlie holds a gun on Tommy and two other mafia men, and Laurie then takes their guns and they take a hotel employee hostage.
  • At the airport a mafia member holds his gun on Charlie who then gets away and punches the guy in the stomach.



  • Reviewed April 16, 1997

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