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"THE MINUS MAN"
(1999) (Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofalo) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A serial killer moves into a small town where the residents are unaware of his homicidal ways.
PLOT:
Vann Siegert (OWEN WILSON) is a calm and friendly drifter who's arrived in a small, coastal town. After dispatching a disillusioned, asthmatic junkie, "Casper" (SHERYL CROW), with a poisoned concoction, Vann rents a room from a local couple, Doug (BRIAN COX) and Jane (MERCEDES RUEHL), whose marriage is more than a bit shaky.

Even so, Doug takes an immediate liking to the personable and agreeable newcomer, and even gets him a job at the local post office. There, Vann soon becomes a model employee and draws the amorous attention of a fellow postal worker, Ferrin (JANEANE GAROFALO).

No one knows of Vann's secret, a point he expertly hides from the others, while still answering to his addiction to kill. Yet, when more locals, such as high school football star Gene Panich (ERIC MABLUS), begin disappearing or are found dead, the police begin closing in on the killer who's also taunted by a duo of imaginary cops, Blair (DWIGHT YOAKAM) and Graves (DENNIS HAYSBERT), who plague him as much as the blackouts that often render him unconscious.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast -- including singer Sheryl Crow who has a small part -- it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and a scene of drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • OWEN WILSON plays a mostly pleasant, mild-mannered man who happens to be a serial killer.
  • JANEANE GAROFALO plays a woman who falls for him, who drinks some and uses brief strong profanity.
  • BRIAN COX plays a married man who isn't happy with his life, has a problem of beating himself and also uses strong profanity.
  • MERCEDES RUEHL plays his cautious wife, a woman seemingly broken by a hard and unhappy life.
  • SHERYL CROW plays a junkie who smokes, drinks and cusses before dying.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is extreme with 10 "f" words being used, along with other profanities and few colorful phrases. Violence, while mostly not graphic, also rates as an extreme due to a serial killer killing several people with poison-spiked liquor. Some self-beating also occurs and the killer briefly attacks a woman on a floor.

    While not played as suspenseful as most serial killer films, some moments may be unsettling or tense to some viewers, and the killer obviously has a serious case of bad attitudes. A minor character shoots up with heroin in one scene, while some drinking occurs (above and beyond that of the poisonous amaretto), as does some brief smoking.

    Beyond all of that, a couple's marital problems (involving a character who hits himself), and a brief glimpse of a large painting that shows a nude woman's bare breasts, the rest of the film's categories are relatively void of any major objectionable content. As always, however, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at the more detailed content that we've listed.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Vann orders a beer in a bar and we see that Casper has already had several drinks and wants another (stating she'd like "to get pickled" with the bartender telling her that she already is).
  • Casper asks Vann "Do you want to get high?" and she then has him pull over where we see her proceed to shoot up with heroin. Vann then gives her a flask of amaretto (spiked with poison) that she drinks.
  • Vann states that except for beer he doesn't drink and that he's never taken any "dope."
  • It looks like Doug has a beer in a pizza place.
  • We see Doug covertly throw an empty liquor bottle away.
  • Ferrin asks Vann if he wants to get a beer with her after work (he declines, stating that he doesn't drink).
  • Ferrin drinks liquor straight from the bottle.
  • We see Ferrin running back to Vann's truck having just bought a bottle of liquor.
  • Doug has a beer with his meal.
  • Doug takes several swigs from a bottle of liquor.
  • Ferrin and Vann have wine.
  • We see Vann's boss drinking a shot of liquor.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a needle sticking out of Casper's arm.
  • Doug's face is somewhat bloody in one scene.
  • We briefly see a dead person's hand that's sticking up out of the sand (but beyond being dead, it's not bloody or gory).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Obviously, as a serial killer, Vann has extreme cases of both (although he's otherwise a pleasant and subdued young man). We also learn that someone else has killed another person.
  • Vann also looks through some mail that he's brought home from his mail carrier route.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Once we know that Vann is a serial murderer (quite early in the story), whenever he's alone with anyone, and whenever we see his flask of poison-spiked amaretto, some tension arises.
  • Thus, when we see him with Gene in his truck and the football player asks if he can take a swig from the flask, and later when Vann pours some into a stranger's soda at a diner, some may find such scenes suspenseful.
  • As Ferrin playfully tackles and then wrestles with Vann, he suddenly and ferociously attacks her on the floor, but she manages to free herself and he stops.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Powder-based poison: Used by Owen to kill several people.
  • Handguns: Worn by various police officers.
  • Handgun: Seen in a painting as held by a man to his own head.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get the f*ck out of here," "D*ckwad" and "Bastard."
  • It's possible some impressionable kids could try the poison-spiked flask trick with others.
  • Ferrin has a tattoo on her arm.
  • To sneak out of the house without Doug or Jane knowing, Vann climbs through his 3rd story window and then makes his way to the ground along the outside of the house.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of ominous or suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 10 "f" words, 9 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ckwad"), 3 asses (1 used with "hole"), 1 hell and 1 use each of "Oh my God," "Christ" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a photo/painting of the local "Korn Kween" who's wearing a high-cut bathing suit.
  • Ferrin and Vann briefly make out.
  • We see a large painting in a woman's house of a nude woman (that shows her bare breasts).
  • SMOKING
  • Casper smokes twice, while Doug smokes a pipe several times and carries it unlit at others. Meanwhile, Ferrin smokes once, as does a man at the post office and one of Vann's imaginary cops.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Doug and Jane's marriage is rather shaky, and their daughter has apparently run away or simply isn't talking to them (but is gone, without them knowing where she is).
  • We see Jane getting emotional while watching old Christmas tapes of their daughter when she was just a child.
  • We see a man at his wife's funeral.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Serial killers and what makes them tick.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Vann gives Casper a flask of amaretto that's spiked with poison. She drinks it and quickly dies, but without any theatrics.
  • Gene drinks from Vann's flask and dies from the poison.
  • One of the imaginary cops dogging Vann bangs his own head against a wall. One of them then runs up with a hammer as if to hit Vann, but we then see Vann wake up from having passed out.
  • Doug's face is a little bloody from having beaten himself.
  • One of Vann's imaginary cops drops him to the floor.
  • Vann poisons and kills another man.
  • Jane reads a story in the newspaper about a person being killed by a falling object.
  • Doug starts to hit himself on the head.
  • Some detectives report that they found a woman's body in her car.
  • As Ferrin playfully tackles and then wrestles with Vann, he suddenly and ferociously attacks her on the floor, but she manages to free herself and he stops.



  • Reviewed August 30, 1999 / Posted September 24, 1999

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