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The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: You Can Count On Me

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“You Can Count On Me”
2000
Rated R

“You Can Count On Me” shared its title with the damnable-earworm theme of “My Two Dads,” and its warm-fuzzy DVD art didn’t help further distinguish it from saxophone-added ’80s-sitcom pap.

Those looking beyond that would find, in Kenneth Lonergan’s 2000 film, a compelling, sometimes comic story about compulsively contradictory siblings.

Sammy (Laura Linney) is a single mom to young Rudy (Rory Culkin) and an officer at a Catskills-area bank where things are shaken up by new boss Brian (Matthew Broderick, hitting nice notes of disappointment with his corporate banishment).

Sammy handles disruption poorly, having exhausted such reserves as a child when her parents died in a car crash. Atop workplace drama, Sammy’s estranged brother, Terry (Mark Ruffalo), arrives to plea for cash. At Terry’s welcome-back lunch, Lonergan widens the onscreen gulf as conversation turns corrosive.

Deciding to stick around for a bit, Terry embraces his black-sheep burden as a cautionary tale for Rudy — oddly endorsing responsibility while casually shirking it himself. (To see an early Ruffalo’s young-Brando swagger and scrappiness, look no further.)

In that regard, Terry leads by example better than Sammy — her needling as much an attempted absolution of her own misdeeds, which escalate.

The score of Bach’s unaccompanied-cello suites befits siblings accustomed to life alone — their passages of mourning and joy given life by characters with the right proportions of antagonism and affection.

Unresolved yet complete, “Count” is about replacing fear with truth as the operant bond between uncle and nephew, mother and son, brother and sister.

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5 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: You Can Count On Me”

  1. tmiss317 says:

    i remember this movie; it was great! :-)

  2. This movie actually sucks. I would rate it a solid two stars, I am amazed that it got such good reviews because it is OK at best. Question 1)How the heck did Terry suddenly get a job? 2)Why would the employer allow Rudy to play on the site. 3)Who in the hell changes their computer moniter to pink? 4)Why is the soundtrack so disjointed. It goes from old time country to cello suites with almost no regard as to why. 5)Why did the story skip a normal introduction between Terry and Rudy, it was a terrible segue. 6)This movie pretty much just sucks.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Sounds good, I should see it. :)

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Rogers, The Film Yap. The Film Yap said: No, my computer palette's pretty conservative. http://bit.ly/e2zeuq #bestfilmsofthedecade #heroesofthezeroes [...]

  5. Helen says:

    I liked the realistic depiction of an adult brother-sister relationship in You Can Count on Me. Movies that focus on adult siblings are almost always concerned with either brother-brother or sister-sister relationships (and usually in a genre context: crime drama for brothers, melodrama for sisters).