Alpha Dog

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Alpha Dog
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ben Foster, Shawn Hatosy, Emile Hirsch, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Universal Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them on the wrong life path.
Date Movie: Both you and your dudette have bodies to ogle.
Gratuitous Sex: Nudity and sex!
Gratuitous Violence: Mostly hand to hand combat, but sadly one gun scene.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: There’s a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: Frankie trying to get Zack to leave the apartment.
Memorable Quote: I hope I got this right: “Have a period or something.”
Directed By: Nick Cassavetes
Produced By: Sidney Kimmel, Chuck Pacheco

I think knowing the ending of “Alpha Dog” before going in to see it made me feel even worse for Zack Mazursky, the brother of Jake, because up until the end, getting kidnapped was the greatest thing that seemed to have happened to him. Here’s the basic story…

“Alpha Dog” is a fictional look at a true Hollywood story about a kidnapping gone bad, kids gone bad, and parenting that is mostly questionable, except, for, well, that of Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis), sort of, who supposedly has mob ties and supposedly sets up his son with drugs to sell, yet tries to get Johnny (Emile Hirsch) out of a sticky kidnapping situation, but Johnny doesn’t listen. Such are kids sometimes.

Anyway, Johnny and his group of friends, including Elvis (Shawn Hatosy) and Frankie (Justin Timberlake), enjoy their days by selling drugs, getting high, drinking a lot, and sleeping with hot girls. Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster) owes Johnny money, and Johnny ain’t too happy about it, tries to beat up Jake, and now Jake is pissed. Jake and Johnny seem to go back and forth a bit, but Johnny doesn’t take it too well when Jake takes a dump on his living room carpet.

Meanwhile, Jake’s brother, Zack (Anton Yelchin) is a fifteen-year-old kid, not really happy at home with his over-protective mother, Olivia (Sharon Stone), looks up to his hoodlum brother, and decides to run away from home when he gets busted with having a bong in his room. So Zack is wandering around, Johnny and his crew spot him, and Johnny decides to kidnap Zack so that Jake will pay his debt. As things sometimes go when you don’t fully think about your plan, Johnny finds himself in a pickle, and now instead of just a person dealing drugs, he’s also a kidnapper.

Johnny assigns Frankie to take care of Zack, so of course Frankie invites some people over to party, the girls think it is cool that Zack is “Stolen Boy,” and Zack is having a pretty good time smoking pot, getting drunk, being “cool,” losing his virginity via a threesome in a pool, and figuring he would ride this out until his brother pays his debt, and all will be well. But little does Zack know that Jake, rather than just pay off his debt, intends to kill Johnny, Johnny is now freaked realizing kidnapping can lead to life in prison, and of course Johnny thinks his easiest course of action is to have one of his buddies kill Zack and leave him in a shallow grave, even though everyone and their aunt and uncle knows Johnny kidnapped Zack, and has partied with Zack.

I found “Alpha Dog” a really good movie, tapping into a world of people most of us wouldn’t have far to understand where the kids went wrong thanks mostly to some of the worst parenting out there. The sad thing about “Alpha Dog” is that it is based on some true events. Sure, I’m not exactly sure what was real, and what was Hollywood fantasy, but there were two scenes in the movie that really stuck in my head. One was Frankie, truly torn between his loyalty to Johnny and his liking Zack and wishing Zack would just go back home. In the scene, knowing the fate that awaits Zack, Frankie tries to get Zack to go to the corner store for him, possibly getting Zack out of the apartment long enough to keep him from getting offed. But Zack doesn’t to go, enjoying just relaxing and watching “Austin Powers” on the TV. The other scene is Zack, being driven to what he thinks is back home, talking to Frankie about how he thinks he might change his life, and maybe appreciate his mom more.

What works in “Alpha Dog” isn’t just a great story, but the performances by everyone were fantastic, and yes, especially Justin Timberlake. In the end it’s really a sad story, especially for Zack who, for a few days, enjoyed being cool, even impressing Frankie with his fighting skills, and losing his virginity with two cute dudettes. Then he finds himself dead, when sadly, if Johnny had just listened to his dad, Zack might have been able to learn to play guitar like he wanted to, and Johnny’s friends might have been able to avoid life, and even death sentences, for the kidnapping.

I liked “Alpha Dog,” but it might not be your cup of tea. It’s violent, it’s got sex, it’s really a sad story, but in the end I was gripped with the story and give it 4 stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!