Thursday, January 6, 2011


Gentle Readers,

I watched two recently released on DVD movies available for your possible enjoyment -- or not.

The first movie is A Dog Year, starring Jeff Bridges. Although this is an HBO production, it wasn't too well done. I wonder if there was so much in the book by Jon Katz that somebody had trouble turning it into a screenplay.

It began pretty well. Jeff Bridges plays Katz himself, to whom I could relate: back problems, spouse departed, depressed, loves dogs. Katz takes in a border collie named Devon who has been abused. Devon's early antics, while frustrating for Katz, are pretty funny. If nothing else, I hope this movie convinces people that border collies are not for just anybody. People want these dogs because they are the most intelligent canines, but these are working dogs who need a job to do, preferably herding something, usually sheep. If they don't have jobs, they can become neurotic and quite difficult to handle.

But when Devon proves to be too much for Katz, the movie turns into a series of whys. Why does Katz give his yellow Lab to his daughter? Why does Katz move to a farm? Why did Katz's wife leave? What is wrong with Katz's back? Why does Katz obediently "take his anger out on the hay" by pitchforking it around when the dog trainer tells him to do so? Shouldn't he say, "Lady, listen, I have a really bad back"?

Most importantly, why does Katz build a little tiny pen where Devon runs in non-stop circles because he is the Energizer Bunny of dogs when they are on a 42-acre farm?

Why is Katz doing what he does at the end of the movie? (Of course I won't tell you what he's doing in case you want to see the movie.)

Perhaps I would understand this movie if I read the book, and I just might do that. I liked Soul of a Dog, by Katz, who now owns Bedlam Farm, which he seems to have turned into quite the industry, churning out books, and I believe he found a new wife who churns out crafts.

I don't really recommend A Dog Year unless you want to see how funny poor Devon is when he chases a car, catches it, and rides on top while the driver and his passenger wonder why a weird old man is running behind their car yelling STOP!

However, I can happily recommend Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise as Roy Miller and Cameron Diaz as June Havens. The cast also includes Paul Dano in a supporting role. He is in one of my faves, Little Miss Sunshine.

I confess that when I started watching this movie last night that it seemed ridiculous and I couldn't stand the sound of Cameron Diaz's giggle after about ten minutes. So I turned it off and read and then I went to bed and read and then I went to sleep, and when I woke up, Knight and Day was a much brighter place.

Tom Cruise manages to be goofily funny and Cameron Diaz goes along for the ride very nicely. Roy Miller is a secret agent man who runs around shooting people and blowing things up, but it's not gross and graphic. It's amusing. And when things take a turn for the worse, Knight and Day only gets more interesting.

Which agent is the good guy and which is the bad guy? What's going on with the battery? Will Roy and June end up together?

Happily, all questions are answered and the movie has a happy ending.

I've been pretty peeved with Tom Sanctimonious Cruise for a while, and after watching this movie, I'm not quite as irritated with him. Shorty is still pretty hot and looks goooooood without a shirt.

I think I'll end on that happy note.

Infinities of love,


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