Synopsis: In the mid-1990s, two inmates bury the burned bodies of two lifers at Mississippi's infamous Parchman Farm; a third old-timer relates their story. They'd served 65 years for a murder they didn't commit, framed by a local sheriff while buying moonshine whiskey for a Manhattan club owner to whom they owed money. In flashbacks we see this odd couple thrown together (Ray is a fast-talking con man, and Claude is a serious man about to start work as a bank teller), the loss of Ray's watch (sterling silver, from his daddy), the murder and trial, the hardships of Parchman, and the love-hate relationship of Claude and Ray as they spend 65 years bickering and looking for a way to escape.
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Actors: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatundé, Nick Cassavetes
Production: Universal Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations.
 
IMDB:
6.7
Metacritic:
63
Rotten Tomatoes:
50%
R
Year:
1999
108 min
Website
779 Views

FADE IN:

EXT. PRISON CEMETERY -- DAY

A handful of people are gathered in an open field under a

fierce Mississippi sun. A couple of young inmates, JAKE and

LEON, lean on their shovels. They are waiting to bury two

identical CASKETS with inmate numbers stenciled on the

pinewood lids.

A GUARD rests the butt of his rifle on the ground and takes

a long, healthy pull from his canteen. He offers it to the

PRISON CHAPLAIN, who is much obliged. SUPERINTENDENT BILL

BURKE, a 40-year-old black man, glances at his watch and

loosens his tie. Sure is hot.

MARY HUMPHRIES, an elderly white woman in a nurse's uniform,

stands behind WILLIE LONG, an ancient inmate sleeping

peacefully in a wheelchair. She readjusts an umbrella to

shield the old black man from the blistering sun.

Burke dabs his forehead with a handkerchief. He gives the

nod to the chaplain, who steps forward and cracks his bible.

The men remove their hats.

CHAPLAIN:

In accordance with the regulations

of the State of Mississippi, we gather

here today to lay to rest the remains

of inmates R. Gibson, number 4316,

and C. Banks, number 4317. Ashes to

ashes, dust to dust. May God have

mercy on their souls.

BURKE:

Go ahead, fellas.

The young inmates plunge their shovels into the dirt. One by

one, the mourners head back toward a prison van parked on a

nearby dirt road.

NURSE HUMPHRIES:

I'll come back for you in a little

while, Willie...

She leaves Willie alone with Jake and Leon. He rolls his

chair up to the edge of the graves and gazes at the pinewood

caskets.

JAKE:

These two guys friends of yours, old

man?

WILLIE:

We spent some time together.

LEON:

Why do I get the feeling when you

say some time, you mean some time.

WILLIE:

I was already here a good many years

when they came in in 1932.

LEON:

1932? That's like, that's like...

WILLIE:

Sixty-five years ago. They always

said the farm couldn't hold 'em

forever. Looks like you're finally

free, boys.

Willie pulls a bottle of moonshine from his jacket and takes

a swig in their honor.

JAKE:

Hey, the dude's holdin'.

LEON:

Come on, old-timer, hook the brothers

up.

Willie passes the bottle to Leon, who takes a swig and winces

from the unexpected kick.

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Matthew Stone

Matthew Stone is a London-based artist. He is part of South-London art collective !WOWOW!. Stone lives and works in London. He graduated from Camberwell College of Arts, London in 2004. Matthew Stone stages performances, photographs and films. more…

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