"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite
you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."
-- Mark Twain
"A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of."
-- Ogden Nash
"Because a dog that chases its tail will get dizzy."
-- George Clinton
"I like dogs because they always wag their tail at me when I approach because
they think that I'm going to give them candy when usually I'm thinking about
kicking them or making a silly face."
-- The Self-Made Critic
This movie has nothing at all to do with dogs.
But it's still pretty good.
This is the movie that the government doesn't want you to see but the people
from the X-Files do. This is the film that may well bring Oscar consideration
for Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro, and maybe others. This is the movie that
features Willy Nelson as a character so similar to Willy Nelson, that it took me
about an hour to realize he wasn't playing himself.
But more than anything else, this is the film that features Jason Cottle, a
scrawny rube who went to the same college that I did, got the lead in every play
I auditioned for and ended up marrying Dustin Hoffman's daughter.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
The film, by the way, is Wag the Dog. It's a political satire that asks the
musical question, "What if not only were all major national events completely
staged, but staged by a Hollywood producer?"
Here's the set-up in a nutshell. President has been bad 11 days before the
election. A scandal will break and crush his chances for re-election. Enter
Robert DeNiro as the spin doctor who decides that what the president needs to
save him is a little war. So DeNiro enlists the help of Hollywood producer
Dustin Hoffman and together they stage a war.
And everyone buys it.
And you thought Mulder and Scully were paranoid.
Kids, this is a great movie. These are professionals, and they turn in a
stellar performance all-around. Watching this film, you can't help but feel
that this is what some of our more recent wars have been about. The songs, the
heroes, the courage, the pageantry.
As if they've been scripted. Hmmm.....
Be warned though: this movie is intelligent. It doesn't have any explosions or
naked people to speak of. It's based on characters and plot.
However, it is a David Mamet script, so the language is not for nuns.
I'm giving Wag the Dog 4 Babylons. I liked it. You will too. Or you won't.
And then you'll go wacko with a gun and come hunting for me.
Please like it.
Upon reading The Self-Made Critic's final paragraph I can only say this:
If you don't like the movie, see me. I'm armed and know where Mr. Critic lives.
Wag the Dog
Directed By: Barry Levinson
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro, Anne Heche and Jason Frigging Cottle