January 27, 2017, - 4:58 pm

Weekend Box Office: A Dog’s Purpose, Gold

By Debbie Schlussel

This is one of those unusual weekends in which I liked both movies . . . a lot. And it’s in January, the second Pet Cemetery of Movies (after August), where Hollywood usually sends crappy movies to die a quick, painless death.

* A Dog’s Purpose – Rated PG: This movie has come under attack by the crazies from PETA (or as I call it, PUTAh–People for the Unethical Treatment of Animals and humans). Don’t believe the PC hype. PETA released an edited 40-second video of a dog allegedly being “forced” into “roiling water,” and the animal rights group sat on the video for nearly two years, waiting to release it just before this movie was released. Then, PETA sent out a longer video showing the dog swimming in “rapids.” But, in fact, the “rapids” were computer-generated, and that scene takes place in Chicago, where there are no “rapids.” The dog is just fine, and there’s no Michael Vick situation here. Not even close. Go see this movie to show PETA that it can’t take down good films with its nutty agenda.

But also go see this movie because it’s good. I found this movie to be very entertaining, funny, and enjoyable. It’s a great escapist movie, and also very touching. It’s (mostly) a great slice of American life through the last 60 or 70 years, as seen through the eyes of a dog. Although I am not a dog owner and never was, the movie also shows the role dogs play in many Americans’ lives. (Don’t worry, I’m not one of those idiots who thinks dogs are like children. They are not. Just pets.) I had only two reservations with this movie: 1) the dog is voiced by the incredibly loathsome uber-annoying, uber-lefty Josh Gad, who has voiced his hate of conservatives (I hate the guy); and 2) the father figure in the movie is your typical Hollywood negative, anti-male stock character: a drunken, violent jerk. (The movie is based on a successful novel, and I understand it is true to the book.)

The story: a dog is reincarnated throughout the years in several different dogs, positively affecting the lives of several Americans. The bulk of the story lies with the first family that welcomes the dog into their lives. In the 1950s, a young boy and his mother find the dog overheated and sweating inside a locked truck. The mother breaks into the truck, and they rescue the dog, bringing him home. The dog spends years with the boy, following him through high school and as he embarks to college. The dog also spends time with a college student and her later years as a wife and mother. The dog also spends time with a Chicago cop and helps him fight crime. And finally the story comes full circle with the dog connecting with gun-grabber Dennis Quaid at the end. Throughout all of these scenes, we hear occasional commentary and narration by the dog (Gad), who is trying to figure out a dog’s purpose in life.

Like I said, this is a great movie. And it’s something to which you can take your whole family. Or if you don’t have a family, go on your own. You’ll like it. I would have given it THREE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS, but for its usual, lazy narrative of a bad father (there are no bad mothers in Hollywood). So I give it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

* Gold – Rated R: This is a fun, escapist caper movie with a whole lot of other stuff going on. It’s definitely entertaining, if a little slow-moving toward the end.

The movie is “based on a true story,” and many aspects of it mirror the Bre-X scandal in the 1990s involving a Canadian mining company executive. In this movie, the events and characters are moved south to the United States, and the story takes place in the 1980s, complete with all of the ’80s hair, clothes, furnishings, cars, and the movie soundtrack. The “Hollywood ending” to this, which is not believable (but I can’t say why or it will give it away), isn’t true and didn’t happen in the real story.

Matthew McConaughey is Kenny Wells, a mining company executive, who inherits his father’s (and grandfather’s) precious metals mining company, a once successful enterprise. At the beginning of the movie, Wells looks like McConaughey, but soon he is barely recognizable, as it is seven years later, 47 pounds later (that’s how much McConaughey says he gained to play Wells), and a lot of non-functioning follicles later (he’s partially bald).

Wells has struck out in repeated attempts to find gold, silver, nickel, copper, or some other metal of value to make it rich again. He’s desperate and living in his girlfriend’s house, which is soon to be foreclosed upon. His girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) is working as a waitress to support the couple, and Wells is using the bar where she works as his office. Down to his last dollars, Wells steals and pawns his girlfriend’s watch to travel to Indonesia to meet a “mining shaman,” Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), who thinks he knows where gold can be found.

Soon, the two have raised a few hundred thousand to finance their dig, and after a bout with malaria, Wells is told by Acosta that the crew found gold. Pretty soon, Wells is back in the States pitching an investment offering in his company and the mine to Wall Street bigwigs. The Wall Streeters wine and dine Wells, and he and they get into heated negotiations and conflict. But all is not as it seems, or is it? And, then, the real adventure begins. Soon, we see Indonesian leader Suharto’s son, FBI agents, and a whole lot of intrigue.

This movie is different from recent offerings because it has a 1980’s flair. It’s straight-forward, linear, and not pretentious. Even though it moves slowly toward its conclusion, making it seem a little long, it’s definitely entertaining and worth the trek. Now that he’s long out of his romance movie phase a la “Fool’s Gold” (read my review) and “Failure to Launch” (read my review), McConaughey’s worth seeing in pretty much anything, and definitely in this.


Watch the trailer . . .

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10 Responses

I view NOT going to see a dogs purpose with a slightly different bent. Liberals need to learn to take some of their own medicine. If a liberal group sets out to deny a conservative movie an audience, it will go all out and achieve its end. I think the perfect payback is to not see this one. Not because I agree with PETA, but because it’s about time liberals in Hollywood get a taste of their boycotts and there lies. I’m not going to see this movie because liberals did something not so nice to the dog in the video scene where he is consistently coming back out of the water out of abject fear, and loving, kind Hollywood should be punished for that as they punish us constantly for absolutely nothing.

DinaK on January 28, 2017 at 10:47 am

    You are entitled to your opinion of course but I think you misunderstand how Hollywood works.

    First, there are an enormous number of conservatives and political agnostics in Hollywood. A typical movie has between 500 to 2000 people employed. I personally have friends (producers, editors) who are devout Christians who have to work on some of the most liberal projects in Hollywood or starve.

    Second, “message” movies tend to bomb anyway. The public generally rewards films that are entertaining and those that don’t lose money. A producer/lead actor who screws up 2 films in a row loses his/her ability to use the multi-million dollar platform much anymore. Half of today’s youth doesn’t even know who Meryl Streep is. While she is certainly well known and respected, Mickey Mouse’s Q score is 44. Hers is 28. The stupid commercial of the Avengers actors telling us how to vote had zero effect on most Americans. Unfortunately – we have almost zero effect on them as well.

    Third, boycotts normally INCREASE the revenues of objectionable movies and will continue to get their audience whether you go or don’t go or not.

    However – did you notice after the incredible success of movies like The Passion of Christ and God Not’s Dead there were a rash of Christian oriented movies? Sure they misunderstood HOW to make those movies for that audience (NOAH, etc)but Hollywood will spend money on ANYTHING that will make them money. Sony even started a FAITH division.

    Believe me when I tell you have far more influence on the ‘decision makers’ in Hollywood by supporting the good films with your hard earned cash – than trying to teach them a lesson by depriving them of a few ticket sales.

    PolitiJim (@PolitiJim) on January 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm

If you want to see more films like Dog’s Purpose, go see them if you can. PETA makes a mockery of legitimate efforts to care appropriately and decently for animals. There is no virtue in treating animals like people, since they are not. Also, PETA’s past ad campaigns, such as encouraging people to drink beer instead of milk, really reveal a very twisted outlook.

Worry01 on January 28, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Hi Dear Debbie! Thanks For Sharing we learn so much from you! it would be wonderful if you could share my comments here Under Tirdad Gharib (on America USA Google)Thanks so much God Bless you Debbie! God Bless America! God bless Israel! I Love THREE (3)REAGANS and I Love Ronald Reagan!I Love Nancy Reagan!My Respect: TIRDAD GHARIB.

TIRDAD GHARIB on January 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Why did they twist the brex story?

Pancake rachel corrie on January 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I’ve been interested in Japanese animation for a long time now and there’s an anime film that’s be released into theaters that I’ve seen before when it was on home video. It’s called “Sailor Moon R:The Promise of the Rose.” It was originally released in Japan in 1993 and came to the U.S. in 1999 on an English dubbed edited VHS version through a company called Pioneer.
A few weeks ago,another company called Viz re-released an uncut version of the film into American theaters. The film ITSELF was based on a highly popular manga or Japanese comic book and animated TV series. The show’s about a teenage girl who uses her magic powers to fight evil forces with her friends. I don’t know how you’ll feel about reviewing this,but I thought it would be something you might be interested in. I sent you an e-mail some time ago. I just wanted to know what you thought about it.

Ghostwriter on January 29, 2017 at 12:24 am

Just watched Gold. Just curious about one thing – was President Gerald Ford a supporter of President Suharto of Indonesia? This movie seemed to suggest exactly that

Infidel on January 29, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Good to hear! Two new movies worth seeing! I always say, I’ve read that Matthew McConaughey makes those goofy car commercials so that he can take the kinds of movie projects he likes — quality ones.

Thanks for the recommendations — and keeping me from seeing another “Zohan” movie (shudder!).

MomInMinnesota on January 29, 2017 at 4:02 pm

If you’re wondering why “Gold” is set ‘merica, it’s because of the assumption that ‘mericans would only bother to watch such a movie that have members of their tribe as the main protagonists.

Need another example? “Argo”.

The Reverend Jacques on January 29, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Another thing about Gold – I tossed in my mind whether the ending was credible – which Debbie claimed was not. Given the interactions b/w the Wall Streeters and Wells/Acosta, I concluded that it actually would be credible

Like Debbie, I won’t give it away. But I did think that it was credible given all the relationships that built up to the point.

That’s independent of what happened in the Bre-X case

Infidel on January 30, 2017 at 11:55 am

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