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  • I love the comments that I'm seeing on this board. I totally agree with most of the people here that 1st to Die was horrible. While it stayed pretty faithful to the book, it was still inexplicably horrible. I can't believe it was 3 hours long! I was so mad at the performances, I couldn't even watch half of it.

    The book is spectacular like all of Patterson's novels but, like others have said... filmmakers have yet to make a decent adaptation of one of them... Mr Patterson, are you actually watching these movies? Aren't you mad at what hollywood is reducing them to? This movie was basically a sweeps ratings boost. You can't have it come out that fast and not think that. Sir, please ask these screenwriters... is it that hard to do this right???
  • To me there's really only one thing a filmmaker/writer should never ever do. They can use all sorts of little cheats and suspend the laws of physics for stylistic effect as much as they want, but when they use those same cheats to resolve the main mystery of the plot, then that's just too stupid. To avoid giving too much detail I'll use a hypothetical example: Suppose you're watching a suspense film and the heroine is up against the wall with killers all around her. They're armed, she isn't. She has no help and no way out, and the situation has been tensely evolving to this point for two hours. Then she just magically turns invisible and flies away with no explanation for how, when, or why she suddenly developed the ability to fly and turn invisible. The end. Good film? No. A terrible cheat. And 1st To Die is just that way. The plot's mystery is resolved by a sudden revelation that someone can do something that's impossible. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

    Any idiot can write a good mystery if you don't have to explain how it worked within the laws of physics. Imagine the old "locked room mystery" where the victim has been killed in a room that has been locked from the inside, so how did the killer do it? If the answer is that the killer suddenly developed the ability to pass through brick walls without disturbing them, then it's not a very good mystery, is it?
  • ...he has to be a better writer than this movie portrayed.

    The actors and actresses were excellent. Especially noteworthy, as has already been mentioned, were Tracy Pollen and Robert Patrick. the time I got to the end of this movie, I was totally confused. Who did what/why/when/how?? I got what the final motive was supposed to be, but that was about all.

    And could someone explain to me the meaning of the Russian roulette scene?

    I guess I need to get one of Patterson's books to read before I sit through another Patterson adaptation. Usually seeing a good made-for-TV movie makes me want to go buy the writer's work for enjoyment. In this case, I feel the need to go read this book so I can understand what I just spent the last 2+ hours watching. I'm not so much intrigued as annoyed.

    Five stars out of ten for casting. Nothing for storyline. What I got most from this movie was a frustrating headache...
  • mariesoleil8624 February 2003
    I read the book 1st to Die a few months ago and I really enjoyed it. When I heard a movie was being made about the book I wasn't quite sure what to think, usually movies are totally different from the book. I have to admit 1st to Die was pretty much like the book. Of course there were a few changes made but basically the movie tends to stick closely to the book. The movie was good. If you're a Patterson fan I recommend it and even if you're not. It's a good thriller.
  • As with most made-for-TV movies, the acting was uninspired and the characterizations were pathetically contrived. However, the meat and bones of the plot was actually quite good. It was obvious that there would be a plot twist but I was still surprised by the direction it took, and the fact that there was not one, but two plot twists.

    Tracy Pollan had one or two good moments. Mostly, she was just mediocre. Gil Bellows was about as adequate as he was in Ally McBeal and The Agency. I'd give the two main stars a C+ at worst, a B- at best. Sean Young had a very small part. The strongest actor in the cast was Robert Patrick. He was quite effective at seeming to be both mysterious and ominous. He has matured well since his days on The X-Files. His raspy voice and piercing/squinty eyes reminded me of Michael Madsen who is a fabulous heavy.

    In summary, this is an OK movie to watch for folks who like 'who done it' murder mysteries. I would imagine that the book is probably much better though since the only real stand-out was the actual plot. I'd give the movie ** (out of 4), or on the IMdB system I'd give it a 6. It's better than average, but not by much.
  • As a James Patterson fan, I was really interested in seeing how this film was adapted from the book. I also wanted to see Angie Everhart. I they knew she was in Bucket of Blood early in her career, it would have helped them solve the murders.

    I liked all of the leads - Tracey Pollan as Inspector Boxer, Carly Pope as the reporter, Megan Gallagher as Jil, and, especially Pam Grier as Dr. Washburn.

    Robert Patrick (The Marine, Flags of Our Fathers, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) was especially good as the suspected killer.

    Fans of the new Women's Murder Club on TV will want to check this out.
  • I have to say this to everybody who gave it a bad review. What are you guys thinking!!? This is a great movie. It should have been in theaters. I guess this just isn't your guys type of movie. Anybody with half a brain should be able to see that it is a great movie. No matter what people think.
  • Having not read the novel, I can't tell how faithful this film is. The story is typical mystery material: killer targets newlyweds; woman investigator falls in love with her partner and is diagnosed with a fatal disease. Yes, it sounds like a soap opera and that's exactly how it plays. The first 2/3 are dull, save for the murders and the last 1/3 makes a partial comeback as it picks up speed toward its twisty conclusion.

    Acting is strictly sub par, though it's hard to blame the actors alone: the screenplay is atrocious. During the last 1/3 you stop noticing because the film actually becomes interesting, but that's only the last 1/3. Director Russell Mulcahy is very much in his element, but there's only so much he can do with a TV budget and the network censors on his back. He's pretty much limited to quick cutting and distorted lenses, though he managed to squeeze in a couple "under the floor" shots during the murders in the club restroom. Unfortunately, as this is made for TV, the cool compositional details he uses so well with a wider image are nowhere to be found. Note to producers: give this man a reasonable budget and an anamorphic lens when you hire him.

    Summing it up: this film is bad by cinema standards and mediocre by TV standards(watch CSI, instead). If you're in the mood for a film like this, I've some excellent suggestions: pick up a copy of Dario Argento's "Deep Red"(my highest recommendation; superb film), "Opera", or even "Tenebre". They're stronger in every category.
  • I continue to be impressed with the quality of some of the many TV movies made and this was one of the best. The action was fast, the acting was excellent and, the best of all, the script was great. People who liked the theater movies based on James Patterson novels ("Kiss the Girls" and "Along Came the Spider") would be very pleased with "First to Die." A TV movie can be longer than a theater movie and, therefore, can do a better job of transferring the novel to the screen.
  • Wow! I just saw this movie on TV last night and it was amazing! I haven't read the book yet although I plan to. When I saw along came a spider, after first reading the book, I was extremely disapointed. So I've decided to read the book after the movie. Anyway, why wasn't this movie put into theatres? It has so much potential. If you ever get a chance to see this movie, watch it, its great.
  • An okay thriller. Not great. Not good, really, just okay. Based on the cheesily provocative novel by James Patterson, this three-hour movie event brought to you by the peacock network is about a women's coffee-klatsch trying to bust a serial killer who preys on newlyweds. This klatsch includes a very competent Tracy Pollan (L & O; SVU), the great Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), perky and pretty Carly Pope (Orange County) and veteran TV HITG Megan Gallagher (Hill Street Blues, Larry Sanders, and everything in between). Their chief suspect is a highly desirable undesirable named Nicholas Jenks (Robert Patrick of X-Files). Some of the good things about this movie: Carly Pope's imitation of a skank, Mitch Pileggi (X-Files) showing off his leg (Grazie!), Eddie, the flower delivery boy, the saucy vintner ("His restaurants are terrible!"), the Cleveland wedding spectacle, Pam Grier and, yes, Robert Patrick. I wish the movie could have just been Robert Patrick and Pam Grier. Here's an idea for a series: he's a crook in L.A. who's been flipped by the Feds, she's a no-nonsense Fibbie assigned to be his handler as he skulks the underbelly of the City of Angels, snitching... Ah, where was I? Right. The bad things about this movie: the romance between Gil Bellows (The Agency) and Pollan, the "You go, girl!" attitude of the Murder Club, Pileggi's mustache, Patrick's earring, the plot, the ending, the cheesy CSI effects and Gil Bellows. O, Gil! You were so fine in Love and a 45 and now DEK's gone and crushed your finesse under his well-manicured thumb. Damn you, DEK! Damn you to hell! Ahem. Michael O'Hara (Murder in the Heartland) does a fair job adapting a poor novel into something somewhat entertaining and wisely changes the ending. It's not the ending I would have wanted but it was a hell of a lot better than Patterson's original idea. Russell Mulcahy, meanwhile, is wise to return to his beloved genre of Scots & SciFi (The Highlander: The Source) after this so-so effort. Not even Sean Young's violent death or Angie Everhart's breasts could save this movie from mediocrity. Now, about that series...
  • First To Die 2003

    I'll admit my mistake first: I didn't realize this was a made for TV movie. I was "thrown off" by the "R" certification. The plot is strong, but the movie is about 40 minutes too long. The direction and continuity were excellent. For the most part the cast was exceptional and did a good job with their characters. The down side of the movie is that it definitely falls into the "chick flick" genre. Although there are some violent scenes, none of the violence should call for an "R" rating. There is no nudity or gratuitous sex scenes. Actually, there are no sex scenes. Ona Grauer (who is absolutely beautiful), Kristina Copeland, Sonya Salomaa, and Glynis Davies were all guests on the SG-1 series, but this movie did nothing to advance their careers since they were all used as low level supporting actresses. Robert Patrick was fantastic, as he usually is and Mitch Pileggi made me think of a modern day Lee Marvin. The very talented Megan Gallagher who I came to respect as an actor during the Millennium series, was given nothing challenging to show her range of abilities. The greatest disappointment with regard to the cast was Tracy Pollan. Aside from being a below average actress and not particularly attractive, her voice is absolutely annoying. I found myself muting the TV during her dialogue. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys the Lifetime TV type of programs. I would not recommend paying any money to see this movie however. Considering I found nothing that would cause censorship, this is a movie that is worthy for only watching on TV, since nothing will be cut out. As a TV movie I would rate this as a 5 out 10. As a feature film with an "R" certification and such as strong cast, I rate it as a 2 out of ten.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What a complete load of garbage. A lousy plot, lame screen-play and the most uninspired acting I've seen in a long time (and I've seen these actors in movies where they were good).

    We kept saying "this has to be the worst movie we've seen in years". Eventually we checked how much time was left (because it was late and we were tired) and we realized this idiotic exercise in dumb-down had another hour to go.

    The most rewarding thing we did was skip the last hour and catch the "surprise" ending.

    Usually I can find some redeeming quality in a movie but in this case, no – nothing.

    Lead characters had zero chemistry and that cheesy blood disease sub-plot was just too contrived to do anything but irritate the viewer. The nosey reporter manages to become a key player but why? Because she's a woman? Shallow boring characters. The woman's murder club came across like a meeting of eight graders who read too much Nancy Drew. It was horrible.

    Stupid and sophomoric plot. James Patterson must be farming out his books or he has totally lost his creative gift or he simply does care if his work is garbage.

    Junk - don't waste your time.

    How anyone could give this a positive review is mind boggling.
  • If you are a James Patterson fan you will probably not have a problem with the film; if you are more film and visual oriented, too many scenes will remind you of Hitchcock, and also "Basic Instinct"(even the soundtrack is exactly the same, and the initial camera angles over the San Francisco coast are TOO similar).

    Nicholas Jenks is possibly the narcissistic killer. Angie Everhart is surprisingly good as his wife.

    Tracy Pollan is not bad, trying a bit too hard; Megan Gallagher and Pam Grier are good, respectively, as the D.A. and County Medical Examiner. Carly Pope as a cub reporter is way over the top. Okay, they needed a younger cast member who could relate to the victims, but she is given way too much screen time. Also I seriously doubt that when there is a brutal homicide, a curious person can enter the hotel room, pretending to deliver flowers.

    Overall a little too contrived for audiences expecting more in this genre. 6/10
  • italianxchica2219 December 2004
    I just saw this movie last night! It was very well organized and mysterious to me. Lindsay Boxer (Tracy Pollan) did an excellent job into staying with her work and pushing herself and others to the conclusion while dealing with her illness. Robert Patrick (Nicholas Jenks) I thought he was just making up stories and framing himself. He did a great job of convincing Lindsay that he had NOTHING to do with the murders. After they about the woman, I thought of Joanna (Sean Wade) then she was gone, and then knew it was Chessy (Angie Everhart ), who else would it be. I knew that it was one of them. So i don't want to spoil for the people who haven't seen it yet and are reading this when they could be watching it! But watch it, read the book.. it's good!
  • One might actually enjoy '1ST TO DIE' as it probably makes good background chatter during a bout of house-cleaning or roof-repair.

    Only half of the principal characters are well-played. Gil Bellows, Megan Gallagher and Mitch Pileggi deserve some applause for their efforts. However, the rest of the cast play their characters either over-the-top or with the enthusiasm of a grape. The scenes with Tracy Polan (shrill) and Carly Pope (tedious) are so awful as to be beyond any credibility - the worn-out dialog can only be blamed for so much. 'The Women's Murder Club' scenes are so poorly conceived, that the entire idea falls flat early on. And what can one say about Pam Grier?

    The film is a full 160 minutes long, the last twenty encompassing every tiresome twist one has come to expect. A wonderful example of truly awful writing.
  • akaronson-15 March 2003
    Another wonderful Patterson book made into an incredibly awful movie. If the big budget movies don't work then why make a low budget made for t.v. movie that's 10 times worse! I am desperate for a good movie that will do ONE of his books justice!
  • That's right, you heard me. I am a huge fan of James Patterson. I own 10 of his books, and I have read the entire series about Lindsey Boxer. In my opinion, the screenwriter should be shot.

    What right did any film maker have to slaughter a terrific work of fiction and make it into a mockery of the mystery genre? If I ever thought that Harry Potter was butchered, then Michael O'Hara has proved me wrong.

    I can only pray that the next screenwriter who tackles this fabulous book will do it a great deal more justice. To Michael O'Hara and Russell Mulcahy: don't quit your day job.
  • Enjoyed this TV film from beginning to end and the plot kept me wondering just how this story was suppose to come to a conclusion! Tracy Pollan,(Lindsay Boxer),"A Stranger Among Us",'92, gave an outstanding depiction of a detective who was bound and determined to find out what was happening to all the Brides and Grooms. Gil Bellows,(Chris Raleigh),"EMR",'04 was another cop who had a hard time trying to understand Lindsay and her way of thinking about her job and life. Robert Patrick,(Nicholas Jenks),"Supercross",'04 gave an outstanding performance and was able to make everyone grow to HATE HIM. It was horrible to see all these young couples happy on their honeymoons and having to face such TERROR! Great entertaining FILM!
  • Okay, so I thought this movie would be interesting despite that it was made for TV. But, my God I have not seen a worse movie! The fact that it was entirely predictable throughout the entire thing made it much worse. I thought I was going to watch a movie that had plot twisters. Wrong again.

    Another thing was the horrible acting! Now, I am a huge fan of Robert Patrick because of his work in the Terminator and the X-Files. But his performance greatly disappointed me. Along with another X-Files mate of his, Mitch Pileggi, who didn't do much better. Tracy Pollan definitely can pull of the not so ditzy but nevertheless dumb blonde.

    I was glad when the disgustingly abrupt ending came, the final words being from one of the "girls".

    "It must have been terrible." Yeah, it was terrible. Let me give you some advice. Don't waste 3 hours on this movie. It's not worth it.
  • James Patterson's bestselling novel 1st to Die is brilliantly displayed on the screen with Russell Mulcahy's made for TV film. As an avid James Patterson fan, I was unexpectedly very much impressed by this film, especially bearing in mind that it is a TV film.

    Patterson's pages fly by in a lengthy two and a half hours, and the length is a feat that I greatly admire, because it leaves less room for mistakes. The longer the film, the closer it can be kept to the text, and, with a few meager exceptions, this film is very close to James Patterson's novel.

    Inspector Lindsay Boxer (Tracy Pollan) finds herself in the middle of a grisly murder. Two newlyweds are found brutally murdered in their hotel room with both of their wedding rings missing. However, as Lindsay predicts beforehand, the killer is at large, and he's not done killing. As more newlyweds are found murdered, Lindsay's adrenaline shoots sky high, and she finds herself seeking assistance from her friends, medical examiner Claire Washburn (Pam Grier), D.A. Jill Barnhart (Megan Gallagher), and her newly obtained companion, reporter Cindy Thomas (Carly Pope). Together, they form The Womens Murder Club with the intent of examining evidence in a different way in order to solve cases.

    As the case starts revealing more evidence, Lindsay and her partner, Chris Ralleigh (Gil Bellows), find that their list of suspects is narrowed down to only one, but is he really their killer? Is there more evidence than meets the eye? Unfortunately, Lindsay is not only struggling to hunt down a madman, she is also fighting for her life. After being diagnosed with a very severe and potentially fatal blood disease, she fears that in near time, her closest friends will no longer have her in their lives, as her condition, even with treatment, seems to worsen. But will she be the first to die? With the exception of the ending of the story being slightly different, this film sticks pretty close to Patterson's novel. I was also surprised by how graphic the film is, again considering that it was made for television. Don't make the unwise decision to turn this film down just because of a negative review. If you enjoyed Patterson's novel, then you will enjoy this film.

    Also recommended to you is Womens Murder Club, coming to ABC on Friday October 12. The series will revive Inspector Lindsay Boxer and the other members of the Womens Murder Club in a television series based on Patterson's book series.

  • I felt it was a great story line from James Patterson as usual. I found it very funny that in one see we find Tracy Pollan's "Inspector Lindsay Boxer" reading a book called "Beach House" out by the lake. This is James Patterson's new & up-coming book due out in May of 2006. Interesting how in 2003 it was in this movie. I liked how Patterson seems to keep your attention in his books and I do hope to see many more of his books put to film. One of my favorite books by him is "Roses are Red" and I have learned it will also become a Big Screen movie with a good chance of Morgan Freeman playing the excellent role of Det. Alex Cross. It has a very good plot to it and is well worth putting into a movie.
  • The word "1st" in the title has more ominous meaning for the viewers of this film than for its crime victims. At least they don't have to stick around and watch this interminable film reach its own demise.

    1st should refer to: 1st draft of a script; 1st takes used in each performance in the final film; 1st edit in post production; etcetera, etcetera.

    The movie is not cast too badly, it's just that everything about the film come off as worse than third rate, from the goofy script, to the wooden performances. And while suffering through this cobbled together film, by the 2 hour mark you want to be put out of your misery. At 160 minutes long it is readily apparent that it should have been edited to under 2 hours.

    Going into details concerning the lame script and acting serves little purposes. Even in the equally awful, Lake Placid, at least the performances Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda constructed out of an extremely weak script, were nuanced enough to make you laugh at the movie. In 1st to Die, one ends up grieving only for the time lost in waiting to see what happens after the opening scene of the preparation of the female lead's suicide.

    The editing is so bad one is never introduced to one of the main characters, who I think (were never quite told) is a D.A. She just appears in one scene in the middle of a conversation. Obviously the scene where she is introduced to the viewer was dropped on the editor's floor. And no one realized that a character appearing out of nowhere was an unusual film ploy.

    In a word, don't waste your time with this one. My wife and I wish we didn't. But at least we created our own diversions by commenting in various places in the film like it was Mystery Science Theater. "Meanwhile, in Cleveland . . . ." !!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is supposed to be taking place in and around Seattle. The, why is Porteau Cove P-R-O-V-I-N-C-I-A-L Park shown? Provincial parks are in CANADA, and not the United States. The Inspector uses a Palm Pilot complete with stylus to 'read' that someone has hacked into the computer of the bridal shop. I did not know that this was possible using a database storage device. A woman appears in the movie without any introduction and is never introduced. We learn half-way into the movie that this woman works in the District Attorney's office. Then, in the correctional center a guard actually PRECEDES Jenks through a door and keeps his back to the offender!! This would NEVER happen in a real correctional setting. The director really messed on this one -- this doesn't happen in real life. The acting is adequate. The Plot is good. The Cinematography is good. However, the many errors found in the continuity lead to a 3 out of 10 vote.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    I had read the book "1st to die" and wanted to see if the movie followed the book so I watched it. For the most part it did. There were some MINOR differences(location of the last violent scene for instance) but not many and for the most part the movie stayed true to the book more so then most movies.

    This may have been a mistake-although the movie was perfectly cast-with Pollen and Bellows especially-I was not that impressed with the book. Or let me take that back. I started off very impressed, gradually became more disillusioned and by the end was left completely unsatisfied and felt almost gypped. No difference with The movie. Here is why.

    There is no "payoff" in the book, or the movie. Rarely have I read a who done it thriller that has created such a letdown with it's final resolution and I had hoped the movie would vary a little.

    The whole-(he did it, NO she did it, NO they BOTH did it)-was not interesting, not fascinating and more confusing, annoying and depressing then anything else. Add to that, that the love of Lindsay's life dies at the end(after HER disease cleares and she cries at his grave).. and then cut to where she's contemplating suicide....then all of a sudden she's in a fight for her life with the REAL villain who was cleared after being arrested.. but it turns out he and the wife were in it together....HELLO!!! This whole thing has now become "GENERAL HOSPITAL" instead of a good old fashioned thriller. I felt cheated and ripped off by the book and watching the movie(I must admit it held my attention nicely -the acting was very good for a TV movie)was hoping it wouldn't follow the book which it wound up doing.

    I still think the movie is watchable and for some reason does not leave as bad a taste in your mouth as the book(or maybe it's just that I knew what would happen)But I have to say the way this story unraveled was not well done at all.
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