The film follows a few characters through one day in New York City. Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) and his buddy Casper (Justin Pierce) skateboard, do a little petty thievery, drink malt liquor, hustle drugs, beat up a black man, throw some dice, and if a virgin or two happen to cross their path, Telly is only too happy to perform a little "virgin surgery." On their trail is Jennie (Chloe Sevigny), a prior virginal conquest of Telly's, who discovers she is HIV-positive that morning and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
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Is it Vince Vaughn's Penny, a distrusting telemarketer with questionable morals? Or is it Ed Harris's Kelly Grant, a kingpin of telephone sales who recruits Penny to help him sell $2.5 million worth of investment shares in a gold mine? Or something else altogether? Penny takes this "prime gig," mainly because it gets him closer to Kelly's girlfriend (Julia Ormand), which, combined with his inability to sell anything on the floor, starts to land him in hotter and hotter water. Is any of this legit? Who's conning who? The Prime Gig takes its sweet time in getting to the answer, but it's definitely a worthwhile trip to take.
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The plot is so simple as to defy description: A lot of New York cops live across the water in Jersey, and it turns out they are all beholden to the mob. It's up to fat, half-deaf Sheriff Freddy (Sly) to expose this atrocity!!! Would that there were more to say, Cop Land builds its "mystery" by simply not telling you what's going on. Only after an hour or so do you piece together the whole mob angle, and then the audience realizes, "Hey, there's nothing happening here!" Note to Mangold: Watch L.A. Confidential a few times if you want to see how clever plot structure goes, not to mention throwing in a little wit here and there.
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Just you're typical gangster/melodrama/black comedy/romance flick, Things To Do... is a stylish story about a few days in the life of Jimmy the Saint (Andy Garcia). Jimmy plays a mobster-gone-good whose attempt at legitimacy is a business known as "Afterlife Advice," where terminally ill clients can videotape future advice for their loved ones.
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Citizen Ruth is the story of Ruth Stoops (Laura Dern), a "huffer" (paint/glue/other hazardous vapor sniffer) who finds herself the unlikely center of a modern morality play. Ruth, pregnant for the fifth time and up on drug charges once again, is given a choice by an unsympathetic judge: go to jail for criminally endangering her fetus, or have an abortion and face a lighter sentence. Immediately, ires are raised and banners are crafted from both sides of the abortion issue -- with Ruth Stoops, the lowest of the low, right in the middle.
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Something like The Big Chill meets Generation X, Beautiful Girls is one of those ensemble character movies that really defies description in terms of plot points. The ostensible main character is Willie (Timothy Hutton), who is ambivalent about girlfriend Tracy (Annabeth Gish) so heads back home to Knight's Ridge, Massachusetts to sort things out during his 10-year high school reunion. Here, he hooks up with old pals Tommy (Matt Dillon) and Paul (Michael Rapaport), each of whom is also flailing helplessly in his own romantic mess.
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