Sunday, 7 June 2009

Dean Spanley (2008)

My dad rents at least four films a day from the local library, we then have to watch whatever crap he has picked out at random, the last three films we watched were last year's A Bunch of Amateurs, The Assassination of Jesse James etc. and The Day the Earth Stood Still. All unbearable in their various ways, though at least the last half hour of Jesse James was interesting and the supporting cast in the Burt Reynolds flick were great.
Sometimes you see the poster for a film and you instantly hate it, instantly don't ever want to see it or even learn what the film is about- I'm sure there must be blogs dedicated to this sort of horror. Dean Spanley was one such film; five heavily airbrushed actors above an appalling piece of typography. I never got as far down as the picture of Peter O'Toole with a dog, all I remembered about the poster was the horrible on-the-cheap typeface and Peter O'Toole's scary eyes staring at me. So I had no idea what the film was about, none of us did, we watched it for a full half hour not knowing what the hell would happen.
When it did happen (the plot) it was a brilliant surprise.
The film is about an old man's dead dog who has been reincarnated as Sam Neil, he only remembers his past dog-life when he drinks a particular wine and when he drinks it he does not (as you might expect from and American film) turn into a dog and run riot, he simply recalls these doggy memories charmingly.
Another film with a repellant poster is Unconditional Love (2002) starring Kathy Bates and Rupert Everett. I saw this film when it was released (straight to dvd) simply for my love of Jonathan Pryce but I liked it so much that it became my secret shame- until I realised that everyone else I know who has seen it thought it was great too! Summary: A famous crooner is murdered, Chicagoan Kathy Bates the ultimate fangirl goes to Wales for his funeral only to discover that the dead Jonathan Pryce- Housewives' Choice -was gay and his lover Rupert Everett needs help solving his murder and learning to live again!!
Dean Spanley was a lovely heart-warming, touching, amusing, feel-good film about death.

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