Scotland, PA (review)
Call it Macbeth with Cheese. First-time writer/director Billy Morrissette transports Shakespeare’s Macbeth to 1970s small-town Pennsylvania, with cheeky self-awareness of how silly such a metamorphosis is, and the result is inspired. The Bard’s tale of backstabbing, betrayal, and murder now occurs over a soft-serve cone at the counter of a burger joint, where spineless, sweet-but-dumb Joe “Mac” McBeth (James LeGros: Psycho) keeps getting passed over for a promotion to manager, while his wife, waitress Pat (Maura Tierney: Oxygen), watches her husband continually fail to assert himself. The boss is Norm Duncan (James Rebhorn: Meet the Parents); Mac’s best pal is Anthony “Banko” Banconi (Kevin Corrigan) — if you paid attention in English class, you know what happens next. Snarkily smart and bitingly funny, Morrissette turns the petty rivalries and anomie of perpetual underachievers into something approaching the epic, if hilariously so, and swathes it all in bad clothes and Bad Company — truly, no other 70s band so perfectly matches the mood of Macbeth. And then, the coup de grace: Christopher Walken (The Opportunists) as police lieutenant Ernie McDuff, his deadpan presence the icing on the cake… or the sprinkles on the cone. The Bard as black comedy — Willie would have loved it.