Wiener Dog

I love dogs. I have 4 dogs and I like them more than I like most people. They’re just more genuine, you know? You always know where you stand with a dog. I have 2 shih-tzus, 1 yorkie, and 1 beautiful little mutt. No wiener dogs, but not because I don’t like them. It’s because Sean thinks it’s cruel to breed a dog to be disabled. And he’s right; the short legs and long back of a Dachshund causes them to suffer from ruptured vertebral discs on top of bowed legs and elbow dislocation. Seeing my dogs joyfully running around outside, I would be heartbroken to have one little dog who just couldn’t join in.

Wiener-Dog is a movie ostensibly about a super cute Dachshund who gets homepage_wiener-dog-2016-2passed from one weird owner to another. The film is more like 4 shorts that only have a dog in common. I didn’t even believe that it was the same wiener dog in all 4 vignettes. The first two are clearly linked, the last 2 not so much. The shorts also become increasingly non-entertaining. I thought the first one was the strongest: a father picks up a puppy for his young son, who has recently survived cancer. The dog sparks many serious conversations between mother (Julie Delpy) and son – motherhood, personality, free will, death. But all of the conversations are straight out of a what-not-to-say handbook, with Delpy literally telling her son that her childhood dog Croissant was raped by a dog with AIDS named Mohammed. The satire is delicious. There’s an explosion of joy on the screen as a boy and his dog play together, but this outburst of happiness is quickly punished, and the dog changes hands.

This is how it is with director Todd Solondz. He doesn’t care about your wiener-dog-film-trailer-stillcomfort, he’s not here to cushion the blow. And he’s sure as hell not here to give you a happy ending, so keep that in mind. Next up for Wiener Dog, she gets adopted by a character from another Todd Solondz movie, Welcome to the Dollhouse. Dawn is all grown up now, and played with Greta Gerwig. She runs into childhood…acquaintance (?) Brandon (Kieran Culkin) in a 7-11, and suddenly Wiener Dog’s on a road trip through some really heavy issues. She also meets disgruntled professor Danny DeVito and bitter old hag Ellen Burstyn. Through it all, Solondz’s camera is unflinching, perversely lingering over the gross and unbearable.

Solondz’s rage is evident in spades, from the meta film school vignette to the open mocking of the audience’s queasiness with a tongue-in-cheek intermission (and a great song – The Ballad of the Wiener-Dog). Solondz is all about finding humour in the darkness, and Wiener-Dog is an innocent bystander to all kinds of human stupidity. The film drips with cynicism. It was too much for Sean. And while I can’t really profess to enjoying it, I deeply appreciated the fuckedupness of it.

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Wiener Dog

  1. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff

    Great review Jay! This sounds like such an intriguing concept, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to try it. Starting with Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows (both the books and the movies) I’ve learned that I generally can’t stomach anything focusing on animals because usually horrible things happen to them, and I’m left traumatized.😕😔

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  2. kmSalvatore

    Nice review Jay, gonna pass on this one. The hubby can’t even be in the same room ,when they show those cruelty to animal commercials. We love animals too, we still miss our Sophie, but still have our 2 felines.
    And I totally agree with you, I’d sooner trust a dog than a human.

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  3. J.

    Really enjoyed this review. More than I’d enjoy the movie… sounds interesting, though… so, y’know, I might get it watched if I spot it. I wouldn’t go looking for it, I don’t think.

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  4. Birgit

    I wish people would smarten up! I just watched an episode of Dogs 101-all about ugly dogs from Pugs to bulldogs. They are so cute they are ugly style has led these dogs to having major breathing issues because of the flat face and the bull dog’s head and shoulders are so big, the pups have to be delivered by cesarean because the pups are too big for the birth canal. In fact the male dog, being to top heavy and too small in the back can’t mate so they must be artificially inseminated. OK so back to the film…I cry whenever i see an animal die on screen from Bambi to Turner and Hooch

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    1. Jay Post author

      Oh yeah, I have major issues too. When we saw The Free World I felt bad about myself for caring more about the abused dog than the abused wife. Animals are just too trusting and innocent though. Seeing them victimized is just the worst.

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  5. badblokebob

    Dogs are way better than humans, this is very true.

    I have no intention of seeing Weiner Dog because the marketing pissed me right off. It was all chirpy and light-indie-movie-y and “aww look at the dog”-y, and I thought “oh, that looks perfectly pleasant”. Then I read it was by Solondz, so I looked up how it ended, and my suspicions were confirmed. I can take fictional animal cruelty if there’s a purpose, but this seemed designed to trick dachshund lovers into seeing a movie with a nasty kick.

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      1. Jay Post author

        I spell it wrong all the time without having that excuse! I use it all the time because my dog Gertie has “wiener fever” – an absurd love of hot dogs.

        And the movie does not contain a lot of animal abuse. The dog is pretty incidental after the first vignette. But it’s definitely NOT light or pleasant so your assessment is correct and although I see value in it, I can’t bring myself to recommend it.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I know! I’m often accused of being an eternal optimist myself, but only by people who have never tried to wake me before about 10:30am, in which case I HOPE YOU DIE. After noon I’m all woohoo, life is good, anything is possible.

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  6. Christopher

    Appreciating “the fuckedupness” is how I’d describe my reaction to Solondz’s movies. I once read an interview with him in which he said a stranger came up to him in a parking lot and said, “Are you Todd Solondz?” and proceeded to tell him the most awful joke he’d ever heard.
    It’s kind of nice to know there are things that make even Todd Solondz uncomfortable.
    And I love dogs too. The sad thing about Dachshunds is they’re one of those breeds whose body type originally served a purpose but has been seriously deformed by ridiculous breed standards.

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