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A Simple Plan [VHS]

4.0 out of 5 stars 638 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Brent Briscoe, Jack Walsh
  • Directors: Sam Raimi
  • Writers: Scott B. Smith
  • Producers: Adam Schroeder, Gary Levinsohn, James Jacks, Mark Gordon, Michael Polaire
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Paramount
  • VHS Release Date: February 1, 2000
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (638 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305417806
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,391 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Brent Briscoe, Jack Walsh, Chelcie Ross, Becky Ann Baker, Gary Cole, Bob Davis.

Running Time: 121 minutes

Rated R for violence and language.

This is a diabolical tale about the wages of greed. Although it is played straight without intentional humor, the irony is so delicious at times that you might find yourself laughing. Jacob Mitchell (Billy Bob Thornton) is the one who begins to feel evil, and rightly so as the bodies begin to pile up. His presumably smarter brother Hank (Bill Paxton) feels mostly fear as he struggles to cover up one mishap after another. Their problems begin when they and Jacob's buddy Lou Chambers (Brent Briscoe) stumble onto a downed airplane in the woods covered with snow in which they find one dead person being feasted on by crows and a duffle bag full of hundred dollar bills. Lou, who might represent the common man, says, let's keep it. Hank, who could be rational man, says, whoa, this money belongs to somebody and besides we could get into trouble. We better turn it in. And Jacob, who is the natural man, sides with his buddy Lou. After all they're country poor and this is probably drug money that nobody is going to miss. And anyway, what can go wrong?

Well, as Ben Franklin observed a long time ago, `Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.' As they wait for spring to come and the plane to be discovered before they risk spending the money, the `simple plan' begins to unravel with horrific consequences. Thornton and Briscoe play country boys to perfection, and Paxton does a great job as a small town golden boy seriously compromised. Bridget Fonda plays Hank's pregnant wife, who turns out to be the brains (as it were) of the group.
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Format: DVD
Proving that thrillers needn't exhaust audiences with bloated special effects and heavy doses of machine gun-fire, "A Simple Plan" joyously recalls the days when suspensers were more about suspense than pyrotechnics. Setting the story in the cold wintry woodlands of Minnesota, Scott B. Smith's screenplay dabbles in such engrossing elements as greed, consequence, and desperation, piling on plot twist after plot twist until the intensity almost becomes unbearable.
Bill Paxton plays Hank Mitchell, a working-class man who works at a local feed store to support he and his pregnant wife, Sarah, played by Bridget Fonda. He has a brother, Jacob, who is played by Billy Bob Thornton; Jacob, along with his pal Lou Chambers (Brent Briscoe), are the town's resident drunks. One snowy day, after a visit to their father's grave, Hank and Jacob, with Lou along for the ride, have an accident that sends Jacob's dog running into the woods. While looking for the dog, they come across a downed charter plane, its pilot dead, with a gym bag of four million dollar in tow.
The three waste no time tearing into the bag of "lost treasure," despite Hank's reservations about keeping the money. But Jacob and Lou have other plans, those which do not include alerting the proper authorities as to their recent find. After a heated argument, they agree that they will wait to split the money until they feel certain that no one will come looking for it. Just for safekeeping, Hank takes charge of the money, which soon takes charge of his good-hearted nature.
As the plot thickens, things begin to work into a frenzy. Sarah, now overcome with the idea of a wealthy life, urges Hank to keep a close watch on Lou, as well as Jacob, who becomes increasingly unstable as things reach new heights of desperation.
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Format: DVD
This is a brilliantly acted and directed look at the effects of greed on seemingly normal people. Bill Paxon and Bridget Fonda portray a happily married couple with a child on the way...Billy Bob portrays Paxon's brother, as (what seems to be) a dim-witted, worthless bum....and Brent Briscoe portrays Billy Bob's best friend, another unemployed bum, who is actually flattered to be called "The Town Drunk".

SPOILER ALERT: The three men discover a huge sum of money ($4.4 million) and talk themselves out of turning it in to the authorities, preferring instead to follow a "simple plan": hide it for a year, until "the heat is off" and then split it up and leave town. After all it is probably "dirty money" from some drug deal, and no one will be the worse for it....right? Unfortunately, the magnitude of this windfall is so great that it joins forces with the inherent weaknesses of human nature to completely undermine this "simple plan" and wreak havoc upon our "seemingly normal" characters, their neighbors, and associates.

The film is often compared to the Coen Brothers' "Fargo", partially due to the stark, expansive, snowy setting, but I feel that it also compares quite favorably to their first, classic 1984 film "Blood Simple", in which another "simple plan" leads to an ungodly tangle of murder and mayhem. Watch both, and you decide.

There are several violent plot twists, but to me the most impressive twists were of the psychological kind, and thus perhaps too subtle for those interested only in "blood and guts". Billy Bob turns in a magnificent performance as he gradually reveals himself to be not the dim-witted bum we thought, but a kind, sensitive, intelligent, and ultimately compelling individual.
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