Popcorn Picks: Seven Psychopaths (And a Recipe for S’mores Popcorn)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Sam Rockwell

Director: Martin McDonagh

Genre: Comedy/Action

Rated: R

Choice Quote: Farrell: “Friends don’t make friends die.”

Walken: “Psychopath friends do.”

What’s it about?: The story of seven psychopaths living in Los Angeles and how their daily lives intersect as a result of the dog-napping of a mob boss’ beloved shih tzu.

Is it any good?: In some ways, Seven Psychopaths plays out like Quentin Tarantino-lite – a comedy-action featuring an eclectic cast of characters, crafted dialogue and lots of bullets flying.

The ensemble cast is the key to the film. Walken, a 60-something dog-napper, proves the highlight – both hilarious and heartbreaking (his character’s wife is in the hospital for cancer treatment), delivering his best lines in such a way that he sounds like someone impersonating Christopher Walken.

Harrelson, whose missing dog serves as the catalyst for many of the film’s bloody shootouts (more on those below), is such a great talent he makes a mob boss in a comedy seem terrifying. Meanwhile, Tom Waits shows he doesn’t need his guitar to deliver a memorable performance, hitting the right notes as a lovelorn serial killer-killer. Rockwell, Walken’s unbalanced partner in crime, shines as a friend who walks that fine line between manageable lunacy and all out insanity.

However, Colin Farrell, as the central character – a screenwriter writing a script called Seven Psychopaths who gets pulled into the all-too-real fray between true psychopaths – he’s just not the right fit. His acting chops are better suited for roles like the Total Recall remake, where he can employ his charm, knock off a few cool one-liners, beat up some bad guys and call it a day.

Special mention goes to Linda Bright Clay for her short but touching turn as Walken’s ill wife.

Though the film induces a few eye rolls, McDonagh did a fine job on the script. As noted above, there are some Tarantino-esque elements to the film, such as in the writing style, the types of characters, etc., but it’s not a copy of the celebrated director’s work. That said, violence, blood, and foul language abound, so be warned. Yes, it’s a comedy. That doesn’t mean that heads don’t roll.

Can I bring my kinds and grandkids to see it?: It’s rated R for a reason. It’s a clever film, but it has more than its share of blood and cursing.

See it in theatres or rent it?: If you’re into this type of film, see it in theatres. If violence and foul language make you squeamish, you may as well skip it.

Overall Popcorn Rating: 3 kernels out of 5.

Seven Psychopaths opens Friday, October 12th

BONUS: For those in search of literal “popcorn picks,” our recipe of choice this time around is “Gimme S’more (S’mores Mix)” chocolate and marshmallow popcorn, courtesy of the website Popcorn Popper. Click here for the recipe.

– Mike Crisolago