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Year of the Dog
Year of the Dog
Actors: Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern, Regina King
Director: Mike White
Genres: Comedy, Drama
PG-13     2007     1hr 37min

Molly Shannon plays Peggy, a happy-go-lucky secretary who is a great friend, employee, and sister living alone with her beloved dog Pencil. But when Pencil unexpectedly dies, Peggy must find meaning in her life. John C. R...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern, Regina King
Director: Mike White
Creators: Mike White, Ben LeClair, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jack Black, Nan Morales
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 21
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Charlene C. (mccoffield) from SOUTHLAKE, TX
Reviewed on 2/14/2012...
I disagree with the other member's review, which said that the movie has no plot and is not interesting. Although this is a very unique movie, perhaps even somewhat odd in some people's view, I think it's a well-done, thought provoking film. In fact, I think that was part of the film's purpose -- to be thought provoking. I think it's also a character study of a handful of people with different standards and viewpoints that might represent the American society and a whole.

The main character, portrayed by Molly Shannon, is a loner - unusual and over-the-top by most people's standards, certainly perceived that way by her family and co-workers. Outside of a few co-workers and her bother's family, she really doesn't have any friends. The only unconditional love she feels is with her dog.

To say much more would spoil the plot - and yes, there certainly is a plot. I believe the unexpected swists and turns in the plot are part of what makes this movie worth watching. I can certainly understand why it was not a block-buster film; it won't appeal to everyone. But if you enjoy movies that dare to explore the misfit's character, you should enjoy this film. If you observe the other characters in the film, you'll notice their idiosyncrasies, as well. This film is not a slap-stick comedy, by any means, but droll humor is featured throughout.

I very much enjoyed the film and was surprised to notice that one of the executive producers was Brad Pitt.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Ann B. from AURORA, CO
Reviewed on 5/10/2010...
We watched the whole movie thinking a plot would emerge, but we never really "got it." We weren't sure what statement the movie was trying to make, if any. We did not find it particularly funny, and the character development was not particularly interesting. There was one character whose sexual orientation we couldn't figure out and couldn't figure out what that ambiguity added to the plot. This one's not worth the time to watch it as far as I'm concerned.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Molly Shannon surprises with a beautifully understated perfo
Jonathan Appleseed | 04/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Molly Shannon has made a career out "crazy", so it's not surprising that she shines here as the reclusive Peggy, whose closest and dearest friend is her pet beagle, Pencil. First-time director Mike White shows us how close they are, and how codependent Peggy is: they have dinner together, watch TV together, and sleep together, Peggy cuddling and hugging Pencil to her much as she might a boyfriend or husband. Pencil doesn't seem to mind.

But then Pencil is ripped from her life. Having trespassed onto a neighbor's lawn (John C. Reilly), he is found one morning lying on his side, unresponsive. A terrified Peggy tears off to the veterinarian, but it's too late. He's gone. White handles this delicate scene well. Instead of force-feeding Peggy's loss to us with frolicking scenes of a happy Peggy and a bouncing waggily-tailed Pencil, he simply shows her sobbing in her car in the vet's parking lot. It's raw emotion, and Shannon delivers.

The loss unhinges her, and she turns her mourning into a unique passion for life. Guided by an asexual clinic worker (Peter Saarsgard - if not brilliant as many are claiming, quite good in this roll) from her vet's office who helps place foster dogs, she is introduced to veganism, and PETA, amongst other "animal rights" activities, and she finds herself, suddenly, an accidental activist. Her newfound role disrupts the comfortable ones she has found herself in: spinster, gift-giving aunt, and trusted assistant to her boss.

I referenced above that Shannon has made a career out of "crazy", and while that's true, her more hilarious characters usually display their own unhinged grasp of reality through various forms of physical humor (Mary Catherine Gallagher on SNL, and Val Bassett on Will and Grace). Here Shannon is reserved, at once dramatic and comic.

Anyone that has ever had a pet (er, kid) is sure to love this. You'll laugh, you'll be choked up a bit, and in the end, you will probably cheer Peggy's courageous choices.

4 1/2 stars
A Very Good 'Year' For Shannon and White
Rudy Palma | NJ | 10/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Screenwriter Mike White's "Year of the Dog," which marks his directorial debut, was underappreciated during theatrical release last spring despite its being chockfull of wit, charm, intriguing characters and a fiercely original plot. Molly Shannon strays out of comedic bounds and nails the lead character of Peggy, proving she has a wealth of dramatic talent that has gone largely underused. Now on DVD, her performance is a grand revelation.

Peggy is a typical wallflower working in a typical office building as a typical secretary. In her early 40's, her social calendar is an arctic wilderness yet she is acquiescent, for her supreme pleasure in life is devotion to Pencil, her impossibly adorable pet beagle. Pencil dies in a needless accident, however, and Peggy is sent into a harrowing tailspin. The death of a house pet may not seem more like an unfortunate event than a grand trauma, but viewers with this mindset are in for a surprise - the realization of Pencil's death is most rattling, and Shannon is a marvel to watch as her ensuing devastation twists and jerks throughout the course of the movie affecting all aspects of her life.

No one is able to empathize with her sad state, which puts her at odds with the world. Her friend and co-worker Layla, a Type A personality portrayed by the incomparable Regina King, insists that Peggy pursue a romantic life, loosen up and "stop shacking up with dogs." Her brother Pier and sister-in-law Bret, played with [...]-retentive relish by Thomas McCarthey and Laura Dern, expect her to move on quickly and avoid saying "d-e-a-t-h" in front of their first-grader. Meanwhile, her self-involved boss Robin, played to archetypal tight-wound perfection by Josh Pais, expects an early Christmas bonus should ease her troubles. Her neighbor Al, played by the always reliable John C. Reilly, hardly offers her any comfort either - never mind that he may be indirectly responsible for Pencil's death.

Then a light suddenly shines on Peggy in the form Newt, an ASPCA volunteer played by Peter Sarsgaard. As a result of their interactions and commonalities Peggy begins to feel parts of herself humanized that had before been merely dismissed, and soon embarks on a long, arduous journey that tests her willpower and inner spirit, not to mention her values.

"I've always been disappointed by people. I've really only been able to count on my pets," she says. "But it's enough."

Many will chastise White's script and question if PETA helped fund "Year of the Dog" due to its uncompromising look at the early stages that result in beef stew on the family table (though it never gets graphic) and animal rights issues in general. However, there are definite checks and balances within the script, which tells a story not about animals but about how one woman's deep love for them puts her on a path of self-discovery.

"There are so many kinds of life in this life - so many things to love," says Peggy. "This is my love. It is mine."

The idea that the definition of love is different for all people certainly warrants a movie of its own, and "Year of the Dog" does it justice many times over. Will it burn up the Oscars? Probably not. Rent it anyway."
Serious AND Entertaining!!!
Robert Schmidt | Honolulu, HI USA | 05/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Director Mike White hit a home run with this little gem of a movie. In Year of the Dog, actor Molly Shannon plays Peggy, a middle-aged woman more successful in forming relationships with animals than people. Peggy has a HUGE heart, and is always thinking of others... doughnuts for her coworkers, presents for her niece and nephew, and a listening post for those who need a friendly ear. At home, however, her life revolves around her dog, Pencil. A tragic accident sets into motion a series of experiences that have profound affects on Peggy, affecting every aspect of her life.

Peggy has a passion, and all passions can seem foolish, or trivial, or childish to others. Peggy will have none of this. She comes to believe that animals have a fundamental right to a cruelty-free existence. For a shy person, the actions precipitated by this belief seem out of character.

A few years ago, HBO had a dramatic feature called "To Love or To Kill." This 70 minute production sampled the wide range of interactions people have with animals: food, loved companions, sport, religious icons, research subjects, and helpers. How can we demonstrate such a wide variation in our values and attitudes? Why do we save the whales and eat the cows? Why avoid fur and wear leather? Why do some avoid beef yet eat chicken?

Tough questions! I look forward to this movie having a wide distribution, and encourage a vigorous and thoughtful discussion afterwards. I don't know that it has a rating, but it is probably PG... it probably doesn't deal with animal issues in ways more disturbing than, say, the movie Babe. However, in Year of the Dog, the focus clearly is on people, not animals.

Expect to hear the critics of animal use praise the film, and others to avoid it. And that would be a shame... this is one of those movies that works to make the viewers evaluate their own philosophies.

Go see it with a vegetarian."