Directed by Todd Solondz
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.
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★★★★ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
More frightening than about 90% of traditional horror films.
★★★★ review by Arielrocks5 on Letterboxd
By far the most "WTF!?" movie I've seen released this year thus far, but I have to admit, for all the confusion, I was pretty damn into it.
"Wiener-Dog" is a film that centers around, well, a Wiener Dog that goes from person to person with their own troubles and we see how they happen, how they feel and think, and eventually amounts to an ending that left me both satisfied and still longing for more, if that makes any sense.
This a bleak movie that doesn't really strive to inspire but rather to provoke ideas into the minds of its characters and viewers. I don't really think I can review this film without going more detail regarding spoilers and a second watch, but for now, I can definitely say that this is one of the more interesting films I've seen so far.
Certainly one of the darkest, too.
Granted, the darkest segment in the film is the opening and the ending, with everything else in the middle feeling sorta, well, in the middle, but it doesn't change the underlying comfortableness I felt during the first half of the film.
Each character we see has their own issue and the dog doesn't necessarily HELP them in any way, it more or less offers the view point to drive us to these places and meet with these characters.
My favorite segment were the second and third, but as much as I liked them, I wish there was a better connection between the two. See, with the first and second, it's fairly straight forward how the dog gets to one owner to the next. It's once the film enters its (admittedly rather amusing) intermission that it sorta drops this idea entirely and we just enter the third segment.
This is probably due to one of the segments being cut from the film, I'm not sure why at the moment, it's just something that I read about. I'm not sure exactly HOW it would have smoothed out the transition between the two but something about it seems lazy.
Doesn't help that the forth one doesn't do this either, but even then, each segment is definitely something else.
Performance wise, the kid in the opening was a bit off compared to the rest of the cast, probably due to the fact he was most likely a first time actor. But everyone else gives in pretty good performances, especially Danny DeVito and Greta Gerwig.
Screenplay offers a lot to think about such as death, morality, different lives, dancing around issues rather than confronting them, yet I'm still left asking questions about certain moments that never really got answers. This is part of the reason why after it was over, I felt as if I needed to rewatch it in order to see the complete picture and find all the missing puzzle pieces, scattered all over the film.
I will say this, though.
THIS IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT A MOVIE FOR EVERYONE. In fact, I'm surprised I even liked it. Again, this is a bleak movie with very little to really give any semblance of joy from, and it actively goes out of its way to crush certain characters.
So if any of what I said DOES NOT sound like something you would enjoy, I suggest giving this a skip. But if you're a weirdo who likes to have something to think about, I definitely would recommend giving "Wiener-Dog" a shot.
★★★★ review by Bren Serrano on Letterboxd
I want to die.
★★★★½ review by Katie on Letterboxd
★★★★★ review by Wood on Letterboxd
The art of the dark comedy plays best when you and your audience is willing to fully commit to the insanity. But not only that, when the madness come from a real place you have to be able to mock yourself. When Todd Solondz commits more often than not he goes all in, which is probably why I'm such a big fan of Happiness.
It one of those movies that I locked on to the wavelength and feels like it was made just for me.
I probably could have done with more Kieran Culkin and Greta Gerwig riding around but hey, What If.....
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