There is probably no archetype more prevalent in cartoons than that of the humble talking dog. Sure, we’ve had talking cats, talking pigs, talking platypuses, talking amoeba, etc, but in the talking animal kingdom, the talking dog reigns supreme. Scooby-Doo. Huckleberry Hound. Courage the Cowardly Dog. Dogs are man’s best friend, dogs are awesome and playful and cute, dogs are good symbols of honesty, at least until they hump your leg or shit on your carpet or bite your hand off when you try to comb them.
Yeah, most dogs may look cute, but they can be right dicks at times. In fact, they are so dickish the way they woof at the postman and mark their territory, I wonder if the whole ‘man’s best friend’ thing was just because they had good PR people. I mean, the aforementioned cartoons aren’t exactly accurate representations of the creatures. Scrappy Doo never pissed on any…oooh, wait. OK then, what the hell was with Cats and Dogs? Why were the cats the bad guys? I like cats, cats are cute. Dogs are annoying barky things, why weren’t there any evil dogs?
So when I found out about Lucky, a ‘Brain Damage’ horror flick where the talking dog was a bad guy, I thought ‘’bout time’. It’s a movie about a cartoon writer being tormented by a dog, and tormenting is what is what dogs do. Thank you, Lucky, for putting a dog in the role it deserves.
Should I really be thanking it though? Well, let’s watch it and find out. It may be live-action, but since the main character is a cartoon writer and it includes a tried-and-true cartoon cliché, I guess it belongs on a cartoon blog.
First thing I have to note about this movie, is in fact, its DVD menu. The music sounds like someone poorly attempting to play a Silent Hill song from memory and then just going ‘fuck it’ and randomly plonking any keys he could. The whole menu is bathed in red, as in BLOOD RED OOOH! Yes, this is sure to be a scaaary movie!
We begin with narration: ‘You ever have one of those lifetimes when nothing seems to go right?’Oh boy, it’s FML: the Motion Picture.
Our gallant hero, Millard Mudd. He’s a cartoon writer living in a run-down house littered with beer cans and grainy camerawork. You know, I love a good movie about a writer, and not just because I’m one myself (I’m a writer, I mean, I’m not a movie). Stories with authors as the protagonist, from As Good As It Gets to Young Adult to every damn Stephen King story have mostly done a good job of building their writer characters and giving them an interesting and unique mindset. Mudd’s mindset on the other hand, I dunno. He’s trying to sound philosophical, with his tales of radioactive ants, but his monologue comes across as a hybrid of a Dean Koontz novel and a Troper Tales entry. Yeah, with his portly build, squalid living conditions and clichéd story ideas, Mudd is pretty much your average TVTropes junkie that SomethingAwful would mock in those threads they don’t have anymore. All he needs is an obsession with the bra sizes of anime characters and we’ll be all set.
Then we have our title, which has a little note saying ‘Based on a true story’. Well, it’s less outlandish than Patch Adams, that’s for sure.
Like all author protagonists in movies, Mudd is suffering from a case of writer’s block. Despite that, he gets a long monologue that’s pretty much him reading a passage from a novel to us; a long-winded speech about the nature of fantasy and reality and what really exists and blah blah blah. Sheesh, Alfred’s speeches in The Dark Knight were more concise than this. I’m guessing that maybe it’s supposed to be pretentious, given he does it while going out to buy some booze (given how troperish he is, a four-pack of Monster may have been more appropriate) but it still goes on waaay too long. I mean, it’s a movie about an evil talking dog, we’re not expecting The Shining here. Okay, The Shining had a creepy dog in it, but still.
Speaking of dogs, Mudd runs one over, and takes it back to his place to nurse it back to health despite the fact that with the way his place is kept, this is the only type of dog he should allow in. Nah, too good for him. So, anyway, some chick arrives to pick up his script, and of course, he hasn’t got it ready. That wacky Millard. Also, his meter lady comes to the door to tell him she can’t get to his meter, and calls him ‘asswipe’. Well, yeah, we guessed that. Because of this, Mudd notes she ‘bring[s] out his worst side’. Once more I have an excuse to use this clip:
He gets another knock at the door and sees a smiling woman called Sadie Pray who tries to convert him to Christianity. Once again, his narration comes off as redundant as he tells us what we’ve already figured out: ‘She seems happy. Too happy.’ No shit, she sounds like a cross between Hello Kitty and Strawberry Shortcake after taking a barrel of Prozac, with a hint of the twins from the aforementioned Shining.
After that, we have a weird fantasy sequence where he imagines inviting the Christian lady into his home and killing her with a chainsaw. What, no ‘Hip to be Square’? And then we go and learn about his love life, and how all his girlfriends sucked and that he’s attracted to a character from the flippin’ Brady Bunch. ‘I retreat into my head where it’s cold and dark’, dude, you’re not Rorschach. He then talks about how he imagines his own girlfriend, and then moans about how hard it is to imagine her. Geesh, if you can’t think of something to complain about, you’ll make up something.
Anyway, that’s 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of nothing but listening to some guy talk about how shit his life is. Believe me, listening to a movie character complain about his problems for hours on end is just about as much fun as listening to a real person do the same.
Then in comes Mudd’s agent who tells him she’s letting him go. So these past few minutes have been like a merry-go-round. Woman appears at Mudd’s door, woman makes Mudd feel bad, woman leaves.
After she leaves, Lucky stops breathing, Mudd buries him, Mudd is sad boo hoo. Well, the movie’s over, that was…oh wait, the dog’s supposed to talk, silly me.
Sure enough, Mudd hears barking and sees that Lucky is alive, hooray. Then he tries to do some writing. In a moment that actually is kinda amusing, he tries to force himself to write by bribing himself and threatening to shoot himself. Though considering what he’s been like these last twenty minutes, him actually doing that would be a blessing.
Those twenty minutes seemed like an eternity, they did, for when Lucky starts talking, I say, ‘Finally.’ He communicates to Mudd telepathically, because making his lips move is beyond what this movie and its budget are capable of. Yep, he’s pretty much Thomas the Tank Engine here. Lucky asks Mudd to feed him and Mudd narrates ‘I felt belittled.’ Dude, we can tell. Don’t make me bring out that Futurama clip again.
Lucky tells Mudd to write a script about a blind boy with a talking dog that solves crimes, and criticises him all the way. Yes, he even says what I’ve been thinking; ‘You done whining for the day?’ Lucky is actually pretty okay so far, in a Salem from Sabrina kind of way.
The script is then sent out, and Lucky continues to pester Mudd some more, and thus we get more ‘Mudd kills someone for revenge’ dream sequences. Oh joy, I didn’t know where I’d be without those. Also, Lucky tries to force Mudd to write by stealing his beers, but how he did that without opposable thumbs is beyond me. Oh wait, it’s a horror movie, and it’s a magical dog wooo.
We get more show-don’t-tell when Mudd says he soon had deals with every major animation studio, but the image that accompanies his narration is him sitting on his ass. Yeah, it’s budget-related, but it also means we get more minutes of him being sad and complaining. Lucky demands Mudd take him out for a walk, and Mudd meets…the girl he had masturbation fantasies about! Yes, she apparently exists. Whoopee.
Lucky then becomes Cyrano de Barkarac (ha ha i so funny) and tells Mudd to talk to ‘Misty’. They hit it off, and talk to each other over dinner. Also, Misty loves dogs, and keeps the paw of one dead one around her neck. Yep, that’s the type of girl Mudd deserves, alright. Then we get more and more narration of Mudd telling us how he feels, only he tells us he’s happy in a change of pace. At least we have some boob and butt, wouldn’t be a good horror movie without ‘em.
So Mudd spends a lot of time with Misty, and they even watch a cartoon Mudd and Lucky wrote. We don’t see it though, of course, we just hear a lot of xylophone sounds coming from the TV. May I just say that Misty is pretty damn flat, even by the low standards of the obligatory love interest role? No wonder Lucky seems a little wary of her. Yes, Mudd is shirking his writing duties and Lucky is pissed. Oh, but Lucky is a wisecracking supernatural creature in a horror movie, I’m sure he’ll be forgiving.
Mudd fantasises about Misty…he fantasises about her….he fantasises him whipping her and her being hung on a noose. Jesus, give the guy a mask and he could be a horror movie villain rather than a protagonist in one. Lucky then wakes him up and tries to get him to write again…yeah yeah this again. He also convinces Mudd to spill the beans to Misty and she apparently leaves him. Well, he got what he deserved at least. Mudd laments she’d have to be insane to have believed him. You mean the woman who carries around her dead dog’s paw and dated you is sane?
When Mudd goes out for some more booze, Misty pops on over for a visit. Yes, she doesn’t just knock on the door, she enters the house while its occupant is gone. Then she talks to Lucky for a bit. Yup, completely sane. After that, she stops talking to Mudd, and Mudd continues to fantasise about torturing her. One of the fantasies, where he’s talking to her about how he’s going to torture her, is another moment of the movie that’s actually pretty funny, but it doesn’t make it any less jarring.
And then…oh man oh man. The script-collecting lady comes back and says she knows Mudd is a fraud. Just as she’s about to leave, Mudd tries to stop her, but accidentally breaks her neck, killing her. He buries her in his garden, but then…then he…he digs her up and has sex…with her corpse. Yes. Yessss. That’s what he does. Sex with the corpse of someone he hated, and he does it again and again.
He talks to the dog about his act, and thus we pretty much get confirmation that yes, Lucky is just a figment of Mudd’s twisted mind. He’s the canine Tyler Durden. In fact, I have to wonder if maybe this movie is the true grown-up Calvin and Hobbes. Yeah, this is an attempt to do The Shining, The Machinist, American Psycho, Harvey and Fight Club in one movie, but having none of those movies’ finesse.
Mudd keeps on writing scripts and even manages to get back at his agent for dumping him. He then decides to fuck the delivery lady again only to find that Lucky has killed Misty. Or rather, that he killed Misty. Or maybe Misty never existed…hey, you’re actually leaving things to the imagination, movie. Like what horror movies are supposed to do. You get a gold star.
‘That’s when I snapped.’ Never mind.
Mudd then tries to kill Lucky. Since Lucky is just a little dog, he could easily stab him or break his neck, though it doesn’t really matter if Lucky is just a hallucination. Instead, Mudd just tries to kill Lucky with poisoned milk. After that doesn’t work, Lucky reveals he’s killed everyone who ever annoyed Mudd. Now, I gotta give both of them credit. If Lucky is a real evil dog, you have to be impressed that a tiny little mutt could kill so many humans. If he’s just a figment, well, it’s also impressive that fat lazy drunk Mudd suddenly became Dexter. This moment is supposed to be shocking and surprising…but then too bad the damn tagline of this movie has ‘a yard full of bodies’ in it.
Now Mudd is Lucky’s bitch, no pun intended, writing scripts around the clock and doing the doggy’s dirty work. Yes, Lucky actually tells Mudd to kill for him. It’s a girl at the liquor store he wants dead, and thus we get a big long monologue from Mudd about a character we’ve just been introduced to in the final half-hour of the movie. Then he takes her home and rapes her. Wonderful.
Then he carves a swastika in his chest. Of course he does.
Mudd goes out and kills and rapes some more women and he thinks it’ll give him courage to defeat Lucky. It doesn’t. So he keeps on writing for Lucky until he kills himself.
So that was…that was…yeah. I guess there’s an audience for this sort of thing, but…but…okay, they pretty much acknowledge the main character is an irredeemable sack of shit and give him an appropriate send-off. Yes, him shooting himself was the fate he deserved. If there’s a Dr. Zitbag where Zitbag does the same, I’d watch the hell out of it.
It’s supposed to be a cheapo schlocky horror flick, but often they try to be aiming a bit higher, like they want Mudd to be the next Humbert Humbert or something. This just leads to the script feeling a bit disjointed, and even a bit padded. It would have worked better as a short film as opposed to an 80 minute feature.
Still, I suppose there’s some elements that’d satisfy the horror movie gorehounds, and there were some moments I found amusing. If it were shorter, there was less narration and it didn’t keep going for the shock value, I might have even recommended it.
Media from http://www.themovielucky.com