You Can Count On Me (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I guess what you really need to know is that virtually every reviewer loved this movie, and IMDb voters score it among the best of all time. In other words, a lot of people really like it.

The support is not split along demographic lines. It receives good scores from both genders, across all age groups.

I'll tell you the truth, I watched the film first, and thought this to myself:

"Yeah, that wasn't bad. Cute little story, if a trifle static. I wonder what it is supposed to be. If it's a comedy, I wonder why I never laughed once. I guess my sense of humor isn't mainstream enough. If it's a drama, I wonder why I didn't get hooked in by the plot, or get involved with the characters. I guess it's a character-based slice of life story, but, jeez, the kid's biological father was a cartoon character, unbelievable in every respect, and his appearance was kind of an unrealistic cataclysmic event designed to force the film forward. That seemed out of character with the natural pace of the rest of the film. Of course, some of the other characters were rich, so that dad didn't totally spoil it. Hmmm, I know Linney was nominated for Best Actress, but she was very repetitive in her mannerisms, using stuttering whenever she was in a situation that was difficult for her. I guess that's what the role called for. Jeez, she was pretty good, but weren't there five better performances than that last year?"

And then I went to IMDb and read the comments, and my jaw dropped. What can you say?

I didn't think it was a bad movie, by any means, but it didn't seem to be either a great movie or my kind of movie. I would call it a modestly appealing portrayal of the lives of people who are mostly pretty real, but not especially interesting. 

A brother and sister, who lost their parents in a tragic car accident when they were small children, are reunited as thirty-somethings, and try to get along, although they are diametric opposites. 

We don't really know anything about what happened between the accident and the reunion. There are a few oblique references, but no details.

How were these kids raised? By the Comanches, like in those old John Wayne movies? We don't know. Oh, well, we just know they turned out very different.

But what did the accident have to do with it? Why did the filmmaker show us that exactly? Would the movie have been any different without it? Couldn't the brother and sister have the same problems without having lost their parents? I didn't see how the rest of the script related significantly to the dead parents.



DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features

As the film progresses, the irresponsible, cynical brother bonds quite well with his sister's son, and tries to take the youngster out of the sheltered existence that he's been pigeonholed into by the protective sister.

It's obvious that I just don't "get it", and that whatever this film provides to people is not something that I'm looking for in a movie, and is not even something that I can recognize. Not only that, but when I read the IMDb comments, I felt like I had clicked on the wrong movie! So ignore me, and be aware that everyone seems to love it. It provides a special experience to many people.

On the other hand, the film grossed only $9 million domestically despite the fact that so many people loved it. Something of a mystery, I guess. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 4/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 86.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 92% positive overall, 89% from the top critics.

  • it was nominated for two Oscars: best actress and best original screenplay

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 8.3, among the all-time top 250. Apollo users nearly agree (76/100)
  • With their dollars ... it took in $9 million domestic 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+.

Return to the Movie House home page