Author Topic: Wiener-Dog  (Read 2797 times)

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wilder

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Wiener-Dog
« on: May 26, 2016, 05:06:00 PM »
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Wiener-Dog tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading a certain kind of comfort and joy. Man’s best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before being taken in by a compassionate vet tech named Dawn Wiener. Dawn reunites with someone from her past and sets off on a road trip picking up some depressed mariachis along the way. Wiener-Dog then encounters a floundering film professor, as well as an embittered elderly woman and her needy granddaughter—all longing for something more.

Written and Directed by Todd Solondz
Starring Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Julie Delpy and Zosia Mamet
Release Date - June 24, 2016



wilder

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 05:33:29 PM »
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This felt like Solondz’s most completely cynical movie. I liked it a little less than Dark Horse (which I really dug), and am still thinking about the different segments and what they mean, which is always a good sign. Beyond looming mortality, the only connecting fabric I could see between the vignettes was the theme of people selfishly using each other for their own happiness, and constant disappointment in others. DeVito’s part is the most straightforward, and probably my favorite. His world is populated by talentless film students convinced of their own genius, and is full of grade-A cringe. The last part of this segment also made me full-on gasp.


SPOILERS

Dawn’s segment was the most befuddling. She runs into her middle school bully, Brandon, in a convenience store, and decides to road trip with him while he goes to visit his brother and his wife in Ohio, who both have Down syndrome. Dawn goes on a walk with the wife and starts venting to her in language the wife clearly doesn’t understand, and you get the idea that Dawn isn’t really viewing her as a person, just using her as a bouncing board to hear herself talk, sort of in the way everyone who encounters the Wiener-Dog (the actual dog) treats it — as an accessory to their own lives. Beyond this bit, and Dawn putting so much hope in someone who treated her so badly, the segment with Brandon’s brother threw me for a whirl. Brandon, now a heroin addict, has to tell his brother that their father recently died from alcoholism. His brother takes a while to understand, and asks Brandon if he’s still using drugs, himself (Brandon lies). This exchange was emotional as a one-off scene, but its tangential nature makes you wonder what it's adding to the whole, or IF it's adding to the whole. WD seemed less focused, generally, this way. Still liked it, though.

jenkins

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Re: Weiner-Dog
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2016, 08:55:02 PM »
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i'm frustrated by the rather pointed theme, which i think sounds too easy for Solondz, and can be described as a manifestation of the flagship aphorism "Art is long, life is short."

i'd like to hear criticisms against the interpretation of the theme as simplistic.

jenkins

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Re: Weiner-Dog
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2016, 09:23:22 PM »
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seen it so ok Ellen Burstyn, her enterprise of compassion, i think it mirrors through composure Solondz as an artist, according to what the movie says about life. you live diarrheic mayhem then maybe through curious links of reality you end up on a wall. specifically, what i'm overreading is Six Months Later. the scene actually leads me toward a lot of disappointment in terms of interpreting, but i actually think it might be my bad and Solondz at least meant Something Interesting. i keep thinking "bullshit then art" and that's called Basic in trash culture philosophy. posi ending in the land of the weird

jenkins

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Re: Weiner-Dog
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2016, 10:48:33 PM »
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maintaining particulars of literal assertion, i'm the person in the art gallery who sees this dog and feels he figured it out. which is the spider web Solondz traps me within.

glad he's around. so good i saw it once, chill on it. nice. i most cherish the traveling mariachi band of despair. i like the kid with the wondrous, innocent eyes asking big questions to an immersed Delpy. Gerwig and Kieran have believable awkward reunion chat, incl zingers. Kieran made another great heroin scene happen in a movie, which is bad for the kids. i appreciated Kieran's brother and brother's wife, and their Solondz normalcy. me responding to this movie through judiciary terms echoes shades of DeVito. the tragedy of trying. plus some Scandinavian longtakes, including the dog in the credits at the beginning and a hold on his story's conclusion, then a fullshot of Fantasy.

wilder

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 06:03:00 PM »
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Blu-ray on August 23rd

wilder

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2016, 06:21:55 PM »
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Now available to rent on Amazon

Reelist

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2016, 08:54:56 PM »
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I think I'm in the perfectly dour mood to enjoy this tonight
You can go to places in the world with pudding. That. Is. Funny.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2016, 11:01:43 PM »
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This is pure Solondz. Feels like a return to form in some ways. Be warned, there are some slow, depressing stretches. But it finishes really strong.

Semi-spoilers

I'm not sure there is a specific overriding theme here, or I haven't found it. Weiner-Dog is a Solondz melange, which is fine... a misanthropic but compassionate array of human experience and unpredictable weirdness.

Ellen Burstyn's story was easily my favorite. Every minute of that was gold.

If I'm nitpicking, the first act could have been edited down quite a bit. (There are shots of driving, parking, car doors opening and closing, walking around the car, etc.) Really feels stretched to reach 90 minutes. It's kind of a shame. Trim down Act 1 and some of Act 2, add another story, and this might have been a masterpiece.

To end on a high note: this is really visually beautiful. If Ed Lachman had shot Palindromes, it would be Solondz's best film.
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Alexandro

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2016, 03:14:27 PM »
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I quite enjoyed this, to my surprise. After Life During wartime I really thought Solondz had lost it. But this is a return to form, it's a pretty sharp little movie, and it goes to a lot of weird, uncomfortable places. Loved Danny De Vito. I miss him in good movies.

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Re: Wiener-Dog
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2016, 04:12:09 AM »
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Most fun I've ever had with a Solondz film! Was hooked from the opening credit sequence where my "Awww, cute's" turned into sad "Awww's". Then I got into it so much I started thinking "I have to recommend this everyone", but things happened that made me think "No, I don't. They'll never look at me the same." Like any truly good one from him, right? What a laugh out loud funny movie it was. I love that Solondz never tells you when to laugh, of course you can see where his jokes land but they so often come from his characters being so fully formed and brutally honest with each other that he's never forcing it out of the situation. The laughs sort of blind side you because we so rarely see characters this unbridled and flat out mean to each other. We've become so adapted to having clearly defined protagonists and antagonists in movies that when he flips them upside down and pulls them inside out for us we experience a sense of common humanity in them like nothing else cinema has to offer.  Neil Labute's earlier work and Terry Zwigoff's 3 features seem to share this trait, but Solondz seems to really have mastered the art of the uncomfortably funny moment. Can you think of any other writers or films that border Solondz comedic pathos? One I watched again recently that I really like was Burr Steer's "Igby Goes Down" with the other Non-McCauley Culkin. Wilder was nice enough to recommend to me the plays of Thomas Bradshaw after his friend noticed their deep similarity to Solondz' work. And I'm so enthused by this 'Weiner Dog' viewing tonight that I'm buying the book! You might consider it too, being such big fans  :wink:







SPOILERS

the segment with Brandon’s brother threw me for a whirl. Brandon, now a heroin addict, has to tell his brother that their father recently died from alcoholism. His brother takes a while to understand, and asks Brandon if he’s still using drugs, himself (Brandon lies). This exchange was emotional as a one-off scene, but its tangential nature makes you wonder what it's adding to the whole, or IF it's adding to the whole.

What I found so powerful in that moment was Brandon's brother not understanding how their Dad died from drinking if the Dad had told him he stopped before, as if his simply saying the problem was over made it end. Then trying to confirm that Brandon has also quit and getting the exact same lie, with us an audience knowing that Brandon will see an early death and his brother never fully grasping how they could die from these things when they clearly SAID they weren't doing them. "So if you're SAYING Dad's dead, how can I believe you when I talked to him last week?" He'll only get closer to any semblance of truth when he wakes up to how much he's been lied to his entire life, and seeing how such a fragile mind interprets death contributes to the overall theme.

If I'm nitpicking, the first act could have been edited down quite a bit. (There are shots of driving, parking, car doors opening and closing, walking around the car, etc.) Really feels stretched to reach 90 minutes. It's kind of a shame. Trim down Act 1 and some of Act 2, add another story, and this might have been a masterpiece.

I guess you're right, but maybe that was Solondz' way of making us really settle in with these people and familiarizing us with them so we have a sense of how brutal the dog's ultimate farewell to them is. Also, in focusing on the car shots in particular maybe it was a kind of curveball thrown at us to anticipate something happening to that precious car, a cliche'd device so overused in movies about pets. I agree with you though, the shot of the trail of poop is at first really funny, then disgusting, then REPULSIVE, then just downright unbelievable. Like, what happened, did the Dog explode?

You can go to places in the world with pudding. That. Is. Funny.

 

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