Picking up the PiecesPicking Up the Pieces (2000)IMDB Entry

Directed by Alphonse Arau
Starring Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, David Schwimmer, Kiefer Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Fran Drescher, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Cheech Marin.

Get a look at that cast.  And yet, the film got next to no release, despite being one of the funniest films in the past few years.

Allen plays a butcher from Texas (called "Tex'), one of the many bits of inspired casting in the film:  Arau probably got so many big names into the film because they were going to be something quite different than their usual roles and personalities 

Tex murders his wife (Stone) and chops her into bits.  One piece -- a hand with one finger extended goes astray.  And starts performing miracles. 

The story is filled with wicked humor and bizarre incidents. Tex tries to retrieve the hand, but it's become a sensation, bringing money and tourists into the small town in New Mexico where Tex dropped it.  The mayor loves the money, the church investigates, and Kiefer Sutherland begins snooping around, trying to find out what happened to Stone.

Why isn't the film better known?  Beats me.  The only reason I knew about it was that I saw it in my video store.  I'm a Woody Allen fan, and I'd never heard of it.  It had distribution problems, and a few bad reviews killed it, but I don't think I ever laughed harder in a long time.  (If you see it, pay special attention who plays the various priests and nuns.)

4/6/06

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