You Can Count on Me (2000)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-May-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-A Look Inside
Audio Commentary-Kenneth Lonergan (Director)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 106:19
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kenneth Lonergan

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Laura Linney
Mark Ruffalo
Matthew Broderick
Jon Tenney
Rory Culkin
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Lesley Barber

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Winner of the Best Picture gong at the Sundance Film Festival, You Can Count On Me is not like most of the dramas that come out of Hollywood. First-time director (though accomplished screenwriter) Kenneth Lonergan has crafted a film that is both charming and thoughtful. It features strong performances from the lead actors, and a story that slowly grows on you.

In her Academy Award nominated role, Laura Linney stars as Sammy Prescott, a single mum raising her eight year old son Rudy (Rory Culkin) in a small town in New York state. Sammy and her brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) were dealt a cruel hand in their childhood when both their parents were killed in a car crash. Since then, the siblings have found their lives turning out quite differently. Sammy has stayed in her parents' house, raised her son and remained in a steady job. Her life is calm and ordered. Terry, meanwhile, is a drifter. Moving around to many towns, his directionless life has led him to prison, and most recently into a relationship with a young girl who has just discovered she is pregnant. When Terry decides to head home to visit Sammy and hopefully borrow some money from her, Sammy is thrilled that her brother is finally heading home to be with her for what may be an extended period. But when she finds out it is only a passing visit and that he is there because he is broke, their already strained relationship becomes even more so. Terry does end up sticking around for a while, doing his best to keep out of trouble, and forming a bond with Rudy. Sammy, meanwhile, is having her comfortable and ordered life altered. In addition to having Terry home, her new boss, Brian (Mathew Broderick) not allowing her time off to collect Rory from school, and she is also faced with the prospect of a relationship with an old flame.

    This is a story about sibling relationships and moreover about the confinements that normal people often find their lives placed within. This is about as real as films can get without stepping into the dreary sameness of reality shows. This is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The performances from Laura Linney (who I only knew as Truman's wife in The Truman Show) and Mark Ruffalo are truly stunning. They convey so much emotion and angst that you really find yourself thinking of them as being a real brother and sister.

    This film comes highly recommended. Watch this with someone who is close to you and share a satisfying film experience.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Watching the last few titles from Paramount, I was struck by the ordinary quality of them. They were not quite to the exceptional level I had come to expect from modern transfers, always just hovering on acceptable. This title bucks that trend. It is actually a very decent transfer, with nice colours and few problems.

    We are greeted with a transfer presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    This is a very nicely detailed transfer that exhibits a sharp set of images overall. There is very little edge enhancement and grain is confined to some of the early outdoor vistas and some of the interior background walls, with nothing too intrusive to be concerned about. There is some poor shadow detail in the very early scenes in Sammy and Terry's parents car (0:54-1:09). Apart from that instance, the shadow detail is quite acceptable. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are well rendered, though the palette on offer is quite limited - it should be noted that in the commentary the director states he was after an authentic feel. Skin tones are natural, and the red of Sammy's car and the blue of the sky are particularly rich and deeply saturated examples of colour. There are no problems with bleeding or oversaturation.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts. There is some minor aliasing at 5:54 and 6:13 on the sides of buildings in the town, and Venetians in the bank at 48:42 and 53:30. Film artefacts are quite numerous, which I guess reflects the tight budget that this was filmed on. Most notable examples occur during the first three minutes and at 4:20.

    Several subtitles are available. I watched the English variety during the director's commentary and found them to be highly accurate and well presented in nice clear white type.

    This is a dual layered disc complete with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 59:08, right on a scene change where Terry and Sammy are standing on the porch. Nicely placed though it is noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three audio tracks on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround, and an English Commentary track also in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. I watched the film twice, listening to both of the English tracks.

    There is some decent panning of sounds throughout the sound mix and even some use of the rear channels, which for what is primarily a dialogue-driven drama was a pleasant surprise.

    The score is quite engaging. There are some quite poignant moments throughout and the score highlights and complements these very nicely indeed.

    There is some surround use throughout, mainly to provide ambient background sounds such as birds. Check out the examples at 74:57-75:52 where there are constant wildlife and bird sounds while the boys are fishing.

   Not a great deal of subwoofer use is heard though it isn't really missed.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A nice relaxing theme score is complemented by images from the film.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is a full screen trailer that features a rather grainy and poor quality picture. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. The trailer gives away little of the plot which is always a good thing.

Featurette - A Look Inside

    Running for 10:57 minutes this is pretty much your standard promotional fluff piece. You can tell the usual set of questions have been asked like "What attracted you to the script", and "What's it like working with the director". Video is a mix of full screen, with the film shown in 1.78:1 letterbox. There is no 16x9 enhancement. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. A word of warning - make sure you watch this after the film, as it contains a number of large plot spoilers.

Audio Commentary - Director Kenneth Lonergan

    First time director (and actor - look out for his cameo) Kenneth Lonergan provides an insightful commentary that doesn't focus so much on screen specifics but rather on his thoughts on the process of bringing the film to the screen after he wrote the screenplay. He also discusses in quite some depth the characterisations that he has developed and what the underlying themes behind the film are. This is really more of a screenwriter commentary as a result, which is not meant to be a disparaging comment, as I found his style quite relaxed and at times very thought-provoking. He also spends some time lamenting what he sees as the current problems with the Hollywood studio system, and how executives insist on a happy-ending type of film because they believe that is what audiences want and that in turn fills seats. Lonergan grants us all a little more intelligence than that and believes films don't always have to be wrapped up so neatly. Few silent moments exist in this commentary, which is well worth a listen.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;


    This is one of those films that comes and goes from the cinema before you can blink, and then you berate yourself for missing it. Charming, engaging, and very thought provoking, this will stimulate your thoughts on your relationships with those close to you.

    The video quality is excellent, even for a modest budget production. There are only trivial cases of aliasing and small though plentiful film artefacts.

    The audio, while not stretching any boundaries, is well balanced and offers clear concise dialogue.

    The extras, while limited in quantity, are nicely rounded-off by a better than average commentary track.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Sunday, March 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
AllZone4DVD - TerryJ

Comments (Add) NONE