Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Boy And His Dog

Based on 1969 (Nebula Award Winning) short story by Harlan Ellison, (Hugo Award Winning) "A Boy And His Dog" is a nice transformation from book to film. It captures the feel and look of the book surprisingly well, considering the budget they had to work with. Directed by popular character actor L.Q. Jones ("The Wild Bunch" and other assorted westerns), "A Boy And His Dog" is almost like a western (without the horses) set in the future of 2024. It stars Don Johnson (in his 5th outing as an actor on film) as Vic, a boy who wanders through an American wasteland with his dog Blood (whom is played by the dog Tiger from TV's "Brady Bunch" fame) whom he converses with through telepathy (Blood's voice is performed by Tim McIntire). Sounds strange? It gets better. Vic and Blood are scavengers after World War 5(?), and are out hunting for food and girls for Vic to sleep with. Blood and Vic have a strange friendship based upon a kind of teacher and student role. Blood (the wiser of the two) teaches Vic about history, common sense, being civilized, how to read and proper english. Vic acts as a provider of food (which Blood has apparently lost the means to search for, when he learned how to talk) and a provider of loyalty. In the world depicted in 2024, these are all virtuous traits to have. Both together are a bickering team that succeed in picking on each other while surviving. Though Vic's libido will tend to get in the way of their friendship at times. Through their journeys of stealing canned food, looking for women to rape, and going to the (stag) movies, Blood finds a beautiful woman for Vic in the midst of the (outdoors) movie theatre. This "femme fatale" Quilla June Holmes (played by Susanne Benton) is actually a lure to draw Vic into the underground city "Down Under" where they need to use Vic to impregnate the women. I won't give away the ending (which is deffinately surprising), but I will say that sometimes the loyalty of friendship is sometimes stronger than that of love from a woman. This movie was one of my all time favourites as a kid, and still remains one of my favourites today. It's got such an interesting unique story that is filled with wit, cynicism, and black comedy. And the performance that L.Q. Jones pulled from dog actor Tiger is trully remarkable! His reactions to Don Johnson's words are so dead on perfect, that it's no surprise to the rumour that the dog was being considered for the Academy Awards. Don Johnson is also quite believeable delivering lines to a dog through the whole film. For me, the two of them just work marvelously together. The whole film has a very surreal look to it. When they are wandering a landscape filled with desert all around. Abandoned YMCA's are underground and movie theatres are outdoors. The "Down Under" city is filled with artificial trees, no sunlight, and the whole community wears clothes from K-Mart with white face make up. The whole population tends to look like extras from the TV show "Hee Haw". But it's the look of this film that I love most. This film will not appeal to everyone though. It's deffinately a product of the 70's frame of mind. It does contain some sexist views when it comes to women, and it's a very weird and dark comedic science fiction story. But it's also very sexy, creative, cult classic! I highly recommend this film to open minded people. But if you want something less weird, you're better off staying away. Jason Robards also appears in a small but effective role as Lou Craddock, one of the organizers of luring Vic to "Down Under".

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