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The Dog
Year:
2013
Country:
USA
Genre:
Adventure, Biography, Documentary
IMDB rating:
6.5
Director:
Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren
Randolfe Wicker as Himself (as Randy Wicker)
Richard Wandel as Himself
Stan Thaler as Himself
Jeremiah Newton as Himself
Bob Kappstatter as Himself
Eugene Lowenkopf as Himself (as Dr. Eugene Lowenkopf)
P.S. Mueller as (voice)
Jeremy Bowker as (voice)
John Wojtowicz as Himself
George Heath as Himself
Carmen Bifulco as Herself
Liz Debbie Eden as Herself
Tony Wojtowicz as Himself
Storyline: Coming of age in the 1960s, John Wojtowicz libido was unrestrained even by the libertine standards of the era, with multiple wives and lovers, both women and men. In August 1972, he attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to finance his lover's sex-reassignment surgery, resulting in a fourteen-hour hostage situation that was broadcast live on television. Three years later, John was portrayed by Al Pacino as 'Sonny'
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Reviews
Did not rob me out of two hours of my life, but I was not exactly barking with joy!
The documentary "The Dog" tails the tale of the late John Wojtowicz; the real life homosexual bank robber who the hit 70's film "Dog Day Afternoon" is based on. As presented in "Dog Day Afternoon", Wojtowicz' committed a bank robbery in early 70's in New York, along with two amateurs, to pay for his boyfriend's sex change operation. In the doc "The Dog", Wojtowicz is presented as an outlandish, outspoken New Yorkan who had no regrets about his crime; and also does not restraint himself on telling all the ins & outs of his homosexual lifestyle. Directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren had a bit of bark in the making of the documentary but not enough bite. Sure, they do interview plenty of players involved in that infamous bank robbery including Wojtowicz's ex-boyfriends, his ex- wife, and the amateur would-be robber who chickened out. But somehow, I felt "The Dog" tried to bite more than it could chew by stating too many mundane happenings. Nevertheless, you attica check it out if you are going through one of those dog days; just beware of some of "The Dog" drawbacks I warned you about. *** Average
2015-06-29
Criminally overlooked documentary.
Personally, I think Dog Day Afternoon is the greatest American film of the 20th century. It clicks for me like few films do. Naturally, it was easy for me to invest in The Dog about the real Sonny, John Wojtowicz. One thing I didn't expect was that the documentary would be so wickedly funny. Just like how Chris Smith's American Movie feels like it teeters on mockumentary, The Dog piles on classic one liners by people who don't realize just how funny they are. Wojtowicz is a hell of a character. He's repulsive, yet endearing, I can see how people are put off this film as he dares you to leave before its over in its opening seconds. He's a total control freak, offering saying action and cut for the directors. Here we have this guy bulging with fat and mouth full of rotten teeth admitting he's a pervert and motivated by sex. It's incredible what that one inert desire propels us into doing. The film adds layers upon layers of contradiction, fleshing out the character of John, the way he wants to be seen and the way he would never want to be seen. He's almost too good to be true.

For the first hour, it's brilliantly entertaining, earning belly laughs for the absurdity of the anecdotes. Even if they're embellishing in lies, the situations themselves and especially the delivery are still amusing. It's a really dense documentary, painting a vivid picture with a great soundtrack to match. While Dog Day Afternoon is a microcosm of these types of farcical events that happen in America, this documentary emphasises the man against the system aspect, and for a fan of Sidney Lumet's films, there's great real life footage of the fateful event that puts it into perspective. Then the film gets devastating as it details the deterioration of Wojtowicz, however much of a bad person he may be. I simply can't believe this film is being so criminally overlooked, the time put into this is phenomenal considering John died in 2006. The directors must have been sitting on this footage for a long time. I'm so glad they got to share it with us and make a film that does justice to the original masterpiece. Bravo. I'm head over heels for this gripping, hilarious, thorough, thoughtful and heartfelt doc.

9/10
2015-02-07
Supreme narcissist manages to make his own story boring
The subject of this documentary, which purports to describe the actual events behind the Al Pacino film, Dog Day Afternoon, is himself such a colossally self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, clueless idiot, that he manages to make the fantastic story of the world's most bizarre bank robbery... incredibly boring. John Wojtowicz, who robbed a New York City bank in 1975 to pay for a sex change operation for his boyfriend, takes up 90% of the screen time in this tedious and self-serving retelling of his botched robbery, in which one of his cohorts was killed. Utterly remorseless, Wojtowicz is hard to look at, and harder to listen to. However, the newsreel scenes of a vanished New York, and the recollections of some of the New York characters who entered Wojtowicz's orbit in the course of the robbery, make this otherwise dismal and dishonest documentary worth watching. If you have not yet seen Dog Day Afternoon, I suggest you see that first. I suspect the fictionalized account in that film is a truer version than what you will hear from John Wojtowicz.
2014-10-18
A Gay Love Story About A Self-Obsessed Pervert Who Hates Al Pacino
Some people will do anything to get attention. John Wojtowicz - whose "dramatic love story" inspired "Dog Day Afternoon" starring Al Pacino - blurs the line between a man who would do anything for love and a man who would do anything for a great story to impress people with.

"The Dog" documents the love life of the late John Wojtowicz (March 9, 1945 - January 2, 2006), a man who is not afraid to say what he thinks - and what he feels. He describes his first gay experience in great detail (while he was a self-proclaimed Republican in the army), and has no shame in revealing his deep sexual hunger - for men, for women, for trans people. It made little difference.

Read my full review here: http://tinyurl.com/orrbgdk
2014-08-20
Brilliant, Funny and Tragic -- and all simultaneously
The story of "Dog Day Afternoon" always intrigued me, since I never believed that the whole thing was true -- it didn't seem plausible that anyone like John, the "Dog" of the title, could really exist. After watching this documentary, I can say without a doubt that this person really existed, and not only that, but that he's even more entertaining in real life than Al Pacino was in the famous movie that was made about it.

John is a multi-faceted, bizarre, crazy clown of a man with the most fascinating approach to gay rights ever. He is hilarious, headstrong, outspoken, a sheer nut case, and incredibly sympathetic, even heart breaking in his dedication to those he loves. His purpose in robbing the bank, to get his lover a sex-change operation, always seemed to be a plot device added to the film by the scriptwriter. Amazingly, it is all true, and even more truth is yet to come.

One thing that really surprised me was the treatment of the relationship between John and his second "wife" -- Leon. John was actually married to a biological woman and had two children with her, and not only married Leon, he also married another man later in life. John was not only ahead of his time, way before gay marriage existed, he invented a new form of marriage, the likes of which would never be legal, at least in our lifetimes.

In the movie "Dog Day Afternoon", John holds up the bank in order to get enough money for his lover Leon's sex change operation. I could never believe that the man played by Pacino could do such a thing, but watching John in this film, it is believable -- again, the truth here is stranger than fiction. Even John's mother actually appeared on the scene as in the movie, which also seems impossible until you meet John's real life mother. At first, John's relationship with his mother seems merely abnormal -- later, it seems like these two people deserve each other in being two sides of the same bizarre coin.

Added to this is the fact that John never regrets his decision to go through with the robbery, regardless of having gone to jail and having spent a great deal of time in maximum security -- when interviewed after being captured, he still admitted that he was in love with Leon, and would have done it again if he had to do it all over again.

What complicates this unbelievable sacrifice is a very candid interview when John is on a cable-access-type show, when John and Leon, (now having had the operation and transitioned into Liz), are both giving their individual perspectives, and Leon/Liz hints that there might have been another reason as to why John robbed the bank, to which John is not admitting. This opens up yet another can of worms that is never answered. It leaves a gaping hole in John's motivation for robbing the bank, and brings us back again to the essential question: how is it possible that truth can be so much stranger than fiction?
2014-05-04
A charming, weird, very funny, sometimes heartbreaking documentary
Often very funny, occasionally quite sad documentary on the life and hard times of "The Dog", John Wojtowicz, the real life man played by Al Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon" – the hapless bank robber who held up a NYC bank to pay for his lover's sex change operation and (first) to get her released from a psychiatric hospital.

Wojtowicz is affable and funny, completely un self-conscious about his rather insane life, his voracious, intense and sometimes confusing sexual and romantic appetites, his love of the spotlight. But there are also moments when we realize this likable eccentric does have a side that is closer to dangerously crazy and delusional than to simply 'off-beat' and that tension is one of the fascinating tears that run through the man and the film.

It's also clear that John to a certain extent is also playing the role of 'John' for the cameras, which adds to the humor of the film (he has a very funny habit of saying things like 'action' and 'cut' to the documentary camera that is filming him), but also asks deeper questions about fleeting fame and how it can distort one's personality and perceptions of self and reality.

Perhaps the most lovely thing about "The Dog" is how truly un-judgmental it seems. While it celebrates the humor in the absurdities of John's life story and his person (and those around him), it never feels like we're watching a freak show that sniggers at it's subjects from a distance. These may be odd people, but the film never seems to forget that they are people first and odd second, or that we're all odd in one way or another. I feel like the filmmakers genuinely liked John. It's a complex and rich portrait of a very unique man, sort of a hero, sort of a villain, sort of crazy, sort of scary, sort of wonderful.
2017-02-06
Hugely engrossing
I love Dog Day Afternoon. Granted, I haven't seen it in years, but I think it's a great film. What a surprise to see that the real-life events that it's based on are actually even more interesting. This really could have been a feature film, but I'm so glad that instead it's a documentary. John Wojtowicz is an even more interesting person than his character in Dog Day Afternoon. Really great job balancing out many of his life events and not trying to cram too much in and still leaving a big emotional impact. Great stuff, and I highly recommend it. It can be highly funny and also have a big emotional impact. Heartbreaking without being sappy.
2014-10-15
bow wow
I had never heard about John Wojtowicz but thanks to the movie The Dog, I know all about this icon. The documentary has several overlapping themes: the early days of the gay movement, how John became an icon of a robin hood of sorts, and how he was a man full of love. John was his own man and even the bank robbery he was involved in did not define him. A 1975 Oscar winning movie was based on his legendary bank robber staring Al Pacino called Dog Day in Afternoon. He was a convicted bank robber but his reason was noble. He was for robbing the bank in order to raise the money needed to fund his lover's sex change operation. John admits in the movie that he is over sexed, but his commentary captures a period where free love and Vietnam War clashed. America was in an identity crisis between the conservative g-men outlook and the free love and eventual disco 70s. It is honorable that John put the interest of his love Ernest Aron (later known as Elizabeth Debbie Eden) ahead of himself and just wanted her to be happy. John risk his life and even though it turned out to be a failed robbery, eventually the notoriety helped fund the operation. John, known as "the Dog", comes across sincere and as a noble character who always tried to do the right thing and how his big heart got in the way. In the end, the Dog makes no apologies for being who he is and he sums it best in his final thoughts, "Live everyday as if it's your last and whoever doesn't like it can go fcuk themselves and a rubber duck." Don't miss a chance to get the story behind the man that inspired Al Pacino's legendary role in the Oscar Nominated Dog Day Afternoon. The Dog is Directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren and set to be release in NY and LA on August 8, 2014.
2014-07-26
Robbery and narcissism
'Dog Day Afternoon', starring Al Pacino, is a great film about a bank robbery; but in fact, it's based on a true story and one arguably even more bizarre than the version told in the film. However, John Wojtowicz, the real life robber, was a man who spent the rest of his life attempting to milk his own history for money, which slightly diffuses the impact of this documentary, which is less an act of uncovering a story and more one of simply turning up and listening to an extended bout of self-promotion. There's still some interest in a tale that combines an odd combination of radical sexuality and bank robbery, while John's mother is a truly remarkable woman. What's also remarkable is how closely actor John Cazale resembled the dead robber Sal.
2015-02-22
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