A Simple Plan ★★★★½

Sometimes it seems to come too easy for Billy Bob Thornton, playing characters that are malevolent, smarmy, or slow. I haven’t seen Sling Blade, so I don’t know how the mental challenges of A Simple Plan’s Jacob Mitchell compare to that character. But Thornton imbues Jacob with playfulness, melancholy, hope, fear, and a naivety that is either endearing or troubling, depending on the situation.  

The ironic title of A Simple Plan quickly comes into focus when the brothers find a bag with 4.4 million dollars in it. Unsurprisingly, the characters have conflicting ideas on what should be done, and they face moral conundrums at every turn. When bad things happen, Jacob is the one who feels it the most. His mind wanders, and not everyone wants to follow him where it goes.

Thornton has a beautiful monologue revealing the small pleasures Jacob wants to experience, and how much he needs to be reassured by his brother Hank (Bill Paxton). There’s no spoilers. 




JM: YOU KNOW, MAYBE I CAN GET A FAMILY OF MY OWN NOW. I MEAN, WITH THE MONEY AND ALL.

HM: WHY? 

JM: DON'T YOU THINK SOMEBODY WOULD MARRY ME IF I'M RICH?

HM: YOU DON'T NEED MONEY FOR THAT.

JM: HANK. HEY, COME ON.

HM: WHAT ABOUT...WHAT WAS HER NAME? CARRIE RICHARDS? SHE LIKED YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE BROKE-DICK.

JM: OH, HER. YEAH. THAT WAS A WHOLE DIFFERENT DEAL. THAT WAS... HER--HER FRIENDS, THEY PITCHED IN 100 BUCKS ALTOGETHER AND BETTED HER THAT SHE WOULDN'T GO STEADY WITH ME FOR A MONTH.

HM: JESUS, JACOB. I... I THOUGHT YOU GUYS HAD A THING.

JM: I DON'T KNOW. IT... IT WEREN'T THAT BAD. I MEAN, ACTUALLY, IT WAS KIND OF COOL. WE USED TO WALK AROUND TOGETHER A LOT, YOU KNOW. TAKE WALKS, YOU KNOW? AND, UH, WE TALKED ABOUT ALL KINDA COOL STUFF. I HELD HANDS WITH HER ONE TIME. WE WERE WALKING AROUND, BUT MY HAND SWEATED SO MUCH SHE KINDA HAD TO LET IT GO. I WAS NERVOUS, I GUESS. BUT IT WAS COOL.WHEN THE MONTH WAS OVER, SHE, UH... YOU KNOW, KINDA WOULD SAY HI TO ME SOMETIMES IN THE HALLWAY WHEN I'D SEE HER. SHE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT. THAT WAS COOL OF HER. GOD, HANK, YOU KNOW, I'VE NEVER--I'VE NEVER EVEN KISSED A GIRL BEFORE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IF BEING RICH WILL CHANGE THAT, I'M ALL FOR IT. I DON'T CARE. I JUST WANNA FEEL IT, YOU KNOW? I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT PEOPLE DO, YOU KNOW? I DON'T CARE IF IT'S 'CAUSE OF THE MONEY...
HANK?
I'M GONNA BE HAPPY NOW, RIGHT?


2021 First Time Watches Ranked 

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