Friday, May 27, 2005

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) [dir. Peter Care]

Biospoilers
In Fictionalized Savannah, Georgia. At least the director knows they goofed on this one: Okay the movie involves an attack by Mountain Lions that kill a kid (that's a spoiler in its own right, sorry). But that is not the issue. The lions are in a wildlife park, and in a way the story is plausible, even though we wildlife people know that such attacks are rare. It is a plot point in the movie, and thus was not casually thrown in. The real issue is about a dog. The two buddies in the film find a dog hit by a car, and grief over the dog is also an emotionally-charged plot point. The dog dies in situ and one of the boys carries it off. Well, when you watch the film you'll see the dog is suddenly stuffed -- as in taxidermied (and poorly so). It looks ridiculous. I'd have just written it up as being poorly done and been done with it. However, since i'm doing the film thing, and liked the movie, i watched the film again on DVD with the director's making-of commentary, and there, when this particular scene arrives, is a pretty funny explanation. The dog that was "dying" as the scene begins was a trained dog that lies down and pants on command and did fine. But apparently they had done so many takes that the dog got tired of cooperating, and refused to be carried off, looking dead, to end the scene. The taxidermied dog was a fast make-do job and it just didn't work. It was so bad, and the director noticed, that they eventually cut out most of the scene where the dog could be seen. Unfortunately, enough of the scene had to be used that anyone will see the stuffed sub. So, at least i'll give them credit for knowing . . . and the movie is really pretty good. Online credits incidentally consider this an American film. It does have a US setting and American actors, however in the two video stores where i have seen it it is in the foreign film section. I believe it may be Canadian in production origin, though oddly the only different version available is Argentinian. Go figure. (P.s. see the listing for Everything or Nothing for some hint of similar troubles with animal actors).


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