Apr 25, 2010


Dogfight (1991)

Directed by Nancy Savoca. Starring River Phoenix, Lili Taylor.

Long story short: It's 1963. The night before a group of young Marines are shipped off to Vietnam, they spread around San Fransisco to play a game called Dogfight. The rules are simple: whoever brings the ugliest date to the party, wins. Eddie isn't doing very well in his hunt, until he finds Rose. They go to the party together, and as the night goes by, Eddie begins to see that maybe Rose isn't so ugly after all...

So. First a few words about the reason I watched this film: River Phoenix. I sort of "discovered" him just recently, as I watched Stand by me for the first time (I know. It was ABOUT TIME!). His silent and subtle charisma is just AMAZING. World is so unfair sometimes. Who knows what he would've grown up to be, considering what he managed to do and be in only 23 years. I mean... yeah. You know. Talents like River just don't come along too often. And yeah, maybe I feel like this because his life has that melancholy jamesdean-y kind of feel to it and maybe he would've grown up to be just someone doing mediocre movies, but I don't like to think that way. He's very unique. (And I'd like a bio pic, please. A good one.)

Now. To the point. When I started watching Dogfight, I knew basically how the plot would go. Meaning, he would pick up a random girl, use her and then fall for her. Knowing this didn't bother me at all. The beginning promised a carefree comedy, but it got much much deeper. As Eddie and Rose spend the night together, he starts talking about being sent to "this little place near India called Vietnam". That's when I really began to get inside the story and care for the characters, knowing what was waiting for him. The characters are very real and I totally related to some situations they got into. At times it was funny, too. (I'll quote the restaurant scene in the end.)

The ending is not for everyone's taste, but I think it was rather brilliant. No words, just... Mm. And the expression on River's face...Mm mm mm. The film left things a bit open, something for the viewer to decide on and to make their own conclusions about. That way is usually much better than obviousness.

I liked this film more than I expected. I liked it a lot. In a way it is similar to Dear John (boy falls in love with a girl just before going off to war and so on), but this one I definetely will watch again. It reminded me a little about Before Sunrise, one of my favorite films ever. It was sweet, genuine, sad, funny... And really worth watching. Watch it. It has Hippies too!

"Are you ready to order?"
"Yes, goddammit. I'm going to have the fucking poached salmon, with the son-of-a-bitching rice, and a dirty bastard salad with a shitload of Roquefort dressing. Thank you. And who knows what this asshole wants."
"Uh, I'll just take a fucking beer."

I had a good day, film-wise. Essay wasn't finnished, but then again, when it comes to essays, there's always tomorrow.

Oh, and I am considering about telling someone about this blog. I mean, so far writing just for the sake of it hasn't been bad at all, but I wouldn't mind a reader or two. We'll see what I think tomorrow. Goodnight, I'm going to try and hunt down some more River films.

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