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8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

Starring Joe Pesci and Andy Comeau,
Kristy Swanson and Todd Louiso;
With George Hamilton, Dyan Cannon and David Spade
Written and Directed by Tom Schulman

IN SHORT: As far as movies go, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag is a very funny title.

I mean, think about it. If you found 8 heads in your duffel bag, and you know they weren't there when you packed the bag, what would you do about it? Think about that while I sketch the scene.

We start with a made man named Tommy (Joe Pesci in a role he could play in his sleep) who has one last job to do before retirement. He has to deliver proof of a mob rubout -- the 8 heads mentioned in the title -- which he cleverly sneaks past the x-ray machines at Newark airport. Next stop San Diego, and pay day.

Problem is the plane is booked solid. Last man on is carrying "human organs" so the oversized duffel carrying the title characters is sent below. Tommy gets off the plane and grabs the duffel. Problem is, the duffel belongs to Charlie (Andy Comeau) who is off to meet his girlfriend Laurie (Kristy Swanson) and her parents (George Hamilton and Dyan Cannon). No one checks baggage tags; actually no one gave Tommy a tag to begin with, and Charlie and company head off to Mexico. Tommy has to find the bag, and the only clue points to Charlie's frat brother Khadaffi (David Spade). It's a Spade joke. Go with it or call him Ernie.

OK, what would you do with the heads? After you finish screaming at the top of your lungs in shock? Well, you'd toss 'em into a wall. Stomp 'em and kick 'em with your shoe. Stuff them into a wicker laundry basket. Dump 'em in a trash dumpster. Bury 'em in the desert. Let a coyote chomp on 'em (that is, before you chomp on the coyote).

Folks the gags been done to death (oops) in two Weekend at Bernie's movies. Writer/Director Tom Schulman won an Oscar(r) for his Dead Poet's Society script. He's also responsible for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. His first time out as a director shows he has the technical skills, but there's enough lacking in the script that I found myself distracted by trying to figure out how tab A got plugged into slot B.

Cranky saw 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag in a private screening room, 'cuz he knew he'd be on vacation by the time it hit the screens. Half the audience in the room walked out, and these are folks that didn't pay to get in. Half of the half that remained were laughing heartily. Cranky chuckled, but that's about it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, he would have paid...


But the situations that generate the laughs go from strange to weird to bizarre to whatever comes next in that chain of analogies. I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

Click to purchase 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag vhs lbx dvd
Click to buy films by Joe Pesci
Click to buy films starring David Spade
Click to buy films starring George Hamilton

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