The Road Dog
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director(s): Greg Glienna
Writer(s): Greg Glienna, Tony Boswell
Cast: Doug Stanhope, Khrystyne Haje, Tim Kazurinsky, Greg Fitzsimmons, Calvin Evans, Des Mulrooney
Where To Watch: Premieres on VOD, DVD, Cable & Satellite Platforms on October 6, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: Join this journey through the back alleys of the comedy scene and the complex emotional and relational dynamics in THE ROAD DOG. In this stirring tale, the accomplished Doug Stanhope embodies Jimmy Quinn, a seasoned comedian wading through the treacherous waters of personal demons and familial entanglements, notably, a strained relationship with his son, David (Des Mulrooney.) The story navigates through an ocean of emotion, showcasing a tear-jerking narrative and providing a raw, behind-the-scenes look into the veiled vulnerabilities and challenges within the comedy profession.
Brace yourselves for a ride through a universe where comedy is not merely a backdrop. Instead, it becomes a tool, peeling back and revealing our protagonists' inner workings, sorrows, joys, and oft-concealed conflicts. Newcomer Mulrooney, portraying David, might hit a few off-notes in his performance but maintains an admirably authentic on-screen chemistry with Stanhope. Together, they present an enticing narrative, showcasing the struggle between two generations and encapsulating a delicate balance between maintaining artistic authenticity and grappling with the pressures of commercial success.
As our narrative travels through the storyline, THE ROAD DOG does hit a few bumps, notably in its visual storytelling. The cinematography and color palette of the film attempt to follow the film's narrative but become distracting in the larger picture. Subtly would have been vital here; I can appreciate what they were going for but struggled with the balance.
In the supporting roles, Khrystyne Haje, Tim Kazurinsky, Greg Fitzsimmons, and Emma Darcy skillfully infuse their characters with an authenticity you can’t fake, acting as the emotional pillars that help navigate the occasional inconsistencies in the film. THE ROAD DOG follows its path by hitting a few directorial and technical potholes. The lower budget, indie feel to the film adds to its charm. The stark and unfiltered lens through which the narrative scrutinizes the often-obscured struggles within the comedic profession redeems the storytelling, providing a narrative that resonates with unflinching and robust honesty.
Some may argue that the film’s exploration of Jimmy’s hurdles might skate a tad quickly over the gritty realism of addiction. Yet, it cannot be denied that THE ROAD DOG crafts a narrative that balances emotive gravity with light-hearted, humorous moments. It successfully lifts the veil, providing a nuanced perspective into the challenges often concealed by the comedic spotlight.
THE ROAD DOG successfully draws back the curtain on a story as inherently human, fallible, and multifaceted as its lead character, Jimmy Quinn. A genuine delve into the raw themes of addiction, family, and the juxtaposition of light and shade in the comedy world positions it as a film and a poignant journey many will find worth taking. With a dash more refinement in narrative and technical departments, the movie could stand as a heartening journey and a guide for future film endeavors, leading the way towards more emotionally and cinematically compelling narratives in future movie-making adventures.
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[photo courtesy of FREESTYLE DIGITAL MEDIA]
MY SAG-AFTRA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA 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.