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Dogfight (1991)

September. 13,1991
| Drama Romance

In the fall of 1963, Eddie Birdlace is an 18-year-old Marine Corps volunteer who is about to ship out with three of his buddies for a tour of duty in Vietnam. Planning a massive blowout for their last night in San Francisco, Eddie, his buddies, and a number of other Marines set up a contest they call a "dogfight."


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One of my all time favorites.


Just what I expected


If the ambition is to provide two hours of instantly forgettable, popcorn-munching escapism, it succeeds.


It was OK. I don't see why everyone loves it so much. It wasn't very smart or deep or well-directed.


Perfect casting, Lili shines as the innocent, yet strong, music lover and burgeoning song writer. River is terrific also, as the young man trying to work out where he fits in, like all 18 year old's when in a confusing and confronting time. Set in arguably one of the greatest times of change during the past century, the sixties, with the sexual revolution, the Vietnam War, when radios played Bob Dylan who made everyone sit up and listen to his powerful poetry delivered in music form, particularly the sensitive ones, all the time trying to find their way in a world. Young men behaving selfishly, who had a sense, if not yet confirmed, they were being used as political fodder in a war, as it turned out, they could not win, let alone how they would be received when and if they came home, throwing the dice one last time, behaving in a cynical and fickle manner. In the middle of this heady time, innocent love is discovered, like all true love, it appears when you least expect it, but it seems to always arrive at the perfect time. Tender film, with the perfect ending and the perfect soundtrack to top it off


No, this isn't the Michael Vick biography, nor is it a tale of aerial combat during World War I. Rather, what "Dogfight" gives us is the story of a group of Marines who, in 1963 San Francisco, engage in a contest to see who can bring the ugliest girl to a party. River Phoenix, playing Cpl. Eddie Birdlace, chooses plain-looking waitress Rose Fenny in his bid for the prize money, but when Rose learns what is going on, the callous "jarhead" finds out that there's a lot more beneath that homely surface than he could have ever imagined.... I originally rented this one out after reading an article about it in Danny Peary's fun book "Alternate Oscars," in which he makes the case for Lili Taylor being more deserving of the 1991 Best Actress award than Jodie Foster, who won that year for "The Silence of the Lambs." Though I personally feel that Mimi Rogers should have won that dubious honor in '91 for her startling performance in "The Rapture," I must admit that Taylor does some very impressive work here as the surprisingly resilient, sweet, spunky and charming Rose, a supposedly ugly duckling who even the chauvinistic and foul-mouthed Eddie comes to realize is a blessing in his life. Phoenix impresses here also, letting us see the inner-core decency buried deep beneath the Marine bravado. Featuring a terrific soundtrack largely composed of early '60s folk songs (with a particularly fine use of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright") and sensitive direction by Nancy Savoca, "Dogfight" is a sweet little film that is certainly well worth any viewer's time. How wonderful it is to see Rose blossom by the film's end! And her statement "I don't think it's fair to prejudge people on how they look or how they're dressed" is one that it would be well to remember. I cannot imagine anyone not being charmed by this overlooked little winner, and recommend it wholeheartedly to all IMDb viewers.


First, pardon for my English. A good movie. An impact topic that I leave myself restless per years, this movie, like we change, we lie, or we make some or another bad action, to adapt to a group. When growing, when living, when transmuting; Lying and becoming wretches comforted opportunists. Those opportunists that it is denied by right the happiness, the love, the favorable and true caress of the life. Becoming in who we are not, if not in a character, list that he/she plays us to live. As well as me lost, as well as they transmuted many around to my. Who one lies intimately, today and until their deaths, about the love pseudo-love that you/they possess. 2do. Matter: which the song is and do interpret of the end of the movie, that of the hug of Phoenix and its love, that of the titles? To you. salt-lu-2. -


I was unaware that River Phoenix was the main character in this film, my being much older than most of his fans. He gives a very creditable performance of what it was to be a young, somewhat immature Marine about to ship out into the unknown. I know quite a bit about young Marines on liberty as I was an Armed Forces Police (MP) stationed in Okinawa during 1968-70 outside of and patrolling Kin Village and Henoko among other towns..The period clothing is right on the mark. The scene in the fancy restaurant where the maître d mentions that a "windbreaker is not a jacket" was great as most of the off duty Marines wore windbreakers. It is a true love story about two young people finding a budding relationship on the cusp of their adult lives during this time of turmoil. What did they have in common just the fact that they were young and he's a man (boy) and she's a woman (girl) and let nature take care of the rest?The story time line was way off. There were only very, very few Marines in Vietnam in 1963 as advisors if any and they would have been older, more experienced Marines. Thee Marines arrived in Vietnam in March of 1965 to protect Da Nang air base and it wasn't for some time until they were given the go ahead to patrol out side of there AO and operation Starlight where the heavy fighting began. That the younger Marines like the four bee's would have been in country. Also our hero arrived back home in 1966 ??? He would have been over seas for three years??? The story line should have been from 1965-1966 but it appears that the screen writers wanted to put in the JFK assignation into the story at the cost of historical creditability.