Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dog Days of Summer|
Actors: Will Patton, Richard Herd, R. Keith Harris, Colin Ford, Devon Gearhart
Director: Mark Freiburger
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
It was a summer like any other in this sleepy southern town, until a mysterious drifter named Eli Cottonmouth charms the townsfolk with a simple proposition for their upcoming anniversary celebration. But behind this pictu... more »
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Dog Days of Summer - a Diamond in the Rough
Aglio | Boston, MA | 08/10/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The movie Dog Days of Summer is a diamond in the rough.
I bought this movie because I'm a fan of Will Patton's work. While he's been in some really bad movies, he's rarely given a bad performance. So, after reading several good reviews, I decided to buy this DVD. It's a good movie that could have been better.
The main problem is the script. The writing is very uneven, the plot confusing and the character development weak. Which is a shame, because the acting by Devon Gearhart and Colin Ford, as the two young friends Phil and Jackson, is very good.
The script is confusing because I don't think the writers knew what they wanted the story to be. Another reviewer mentioned how similar this movie is to an episode of the Twilight Zone called A Stop at Willoughby. In it, a business man laments his life in the modern world and longs for something simpler.
Is the movie trying to be a coming of age story ? Is it supposed to be a Christian allegory ? Is it supposed to be a supernatural suspense like the Twilight Zone ? It's never quite clear what the message is supposed to be.
That being said, the story is about an adult returning to the town, where he grew up, for one last look. It begins in the present and there are flashbacks to the past. When the past is is unclear. It could be the 70s or even the 80s.
When Philip remembers the town, it's idyllic, a paradise just like Eden and one summer, into Eden comes Eli Cottonmouth. Is he a snake as his name suggests ? Eli Cottonmouth arrives in this Eden with a proposition i.e. to create a model of the town for their 250th anniversary. If you listen to Philip's narrative thoughts of Eli, he is the music man. He's dangerous. Which is what attracts Philip and his friend to him. The town folk are suspicious. Yes, they want him to build a model of their town, but they are wary of his presence. Thus he recruits the two boys to take photos of the town, its buildings and its people for him.
What they learn when taking the photos is that their idyllic town isn't so idyllic. At first, everything seems like Mayberry, but in the end it's more like Peyton Place.
And this is where the story is muddled. The subplots and their characters, which are supposed to support the main plot, aren't developed properly. If the writers had taken more time to flesh out those characters and how they relate to the main characters, this would have been a much better movie.
As it is, it is still a good movie. Will Patton is marvelous as Eli Cottonmouth. His soft Southern voice can be soothing and sinister at the same time. His uses that voice to great effect here. Also wonderful is Richard Herd as the mayor. Both are noted character actors and their acting experience shows.
Even though this movie is flawed, I still enjoyed watching it. If you are a fan of Will Patton's, this is one of his best performances. Also, if folks are interested in seeing a wonderful film with the Christian theme of redemption at its center, please see the Spitfire Grill. It's marvelous.