Genre: Documentary, Sport
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 22m
Director(s): Tommy Hyde
Writer(s): Tommy HydeAaron Woolf
Where To Watch: opening night screening at the Laemmle Royal Theater on August 10, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: A Vermont dairy farmer and a pack of 22 dogs take center stage in UNDERDOG, but don’t let the humble setting fool you; this film packs a punch! Directed by Tommy Hyde, this engaging documentary tells the story of Doug Butler, a man whose ordinary life morphs into something remarkably extraordinary through the unconventional sport of dog mushing (sledding.)
Let’s zoom in on the director's chair, where Hyde showcases his keen eye for visual storytelling. Forget a droning narrator; the camera lenses in UNDERDOG have a language all their own, capturing Doug's journey's authenticity, energy, and raw emotion. The cinematography artfully takes the audience on a ride, from the intimate details of Doug's relationship with his furry friends to the grandeur of his Alaskan racing dream.
A kingdom of canines and a zest for life, Doug's farm isn't just a plot of land; it's a stage for the drama, comedy, and inspiration that unfolds. He's a man who doesn't bend to the world's pressures; he shapes them into entertaining tales, shares them with a grin, and moves on. As for the supporting cast, it's hard to overlook the 22 stars with wagging tails. More than pets, these dogs are partners in Doug's unconventional passion, dog mushing. Doug's soul, joy, and gateway to a world transcending mundane existence is the sport. It’s not just a pastime; it's an ecstatic celebration of life, and we're all invited to the party.
While some documentaries scream for attention, UNDERDOG draws you in quietly and builds a connection. Doug’s life reflects universal themes – joy in unexpected places, faith in dreams, and embracing chaos. The film’s candid portrayal of life's ups and downs and heartwarming charm create a storytelling balance that feels just right.
The film is for anyone who's ever felt hope or joy or believed in something larger than life. This beautifully crafted film's essence is universal, resonating across ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. In documentaries, UNDERDOG stands out, not merely as a celebration of an individual or a sport but as a reflection of humanity's core. Tommy Hyde crafts a tale that's both an homage to life and a resonating reminder that winning isn't the endgame; it's the courage to participate, the joy of the journey.
UNDERDOG is a story about life itself, compelling and moving. You might come for the dog story but stay for the timeless themes that make UNDERDOG more than a film; it's a cinematic experience that leaves you inspired and eager for more from Hyde. It's the story of the unlikeliest heroes with the most compelling tale. Here's a film that doesn't just document; it uplifts, inspires, and celebrates the spirit of life.
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[photo courtesy of FIRST RUN FEATURES]
MY SAG-AFTRA/WGA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in their current strike. The entertainment industry is built on these individuals' extraordinary talents, and their contributions must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. They deserve fair compensation, sensible work hours, and respect for their creative rights. I believe in the power of unity and collective action, and I'm steadfast in my support for their fight for better working conditions and fair remuneration. Together, we can shape a more equitable future in the entertainment world.
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