Dogfight Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2011
Dogfight is cruel, poignant, and yet played out. This is one of the more unique period pieces, an independent film made right at the peak of River Phoenix's fame and only several years before his subsequent death. The story is one that makes little sense in the way of meaning. The span of time is the early sixties, right as the folk scene was starting to gain momentum and the Vietnam War was turning from a conflict to a full scale war. Most of the plot relies heavily on the setting to compliment the storyline. Though this is supposed to be about what beauty really means I didn't see much in the way of Birdlace's (Phoenix) change in demeanor or values, only selfish behavior. Though he takes advantage of Rose (Lili Taylor) and you can tell he feels bad about it before going through with the demeaning act itself, he still demonizes himself by taking her in the first place and not standing up for her directly. He even lies to her while trying to apologize for the cruel way he treated her. The character is a severe detraction from what Marines were. It's not that his portrayal was unrealistic of what wartime soldiers were like, but the script undersells their intelligence at every turn and instead tries to sell us on brotherhood, and an entire side storyline about the folk music scene. Rose is a simplistic clod of a girl, who isn't unattractive, and shouldn't fall for his line of bullshit. Though the film is about changing yourself through acceptance and tolerance, Rose shouldn't have let him try to change himself by using her, and he sure shouldn't have started things with her the night before he was being shipped out. I accept many of these faults because the romance was actually quite sweet. It shouldn't have happened in the first place, but the endearing performance from Phoenix pushed me into liking this despite everything. This is a great performance for him, and Taylor who would go on to make the horrid version of The Haunting. Though this film drags (which is odd since it comes in at an hour and a half) it does plant the idea that what you're led to believe isn't always what's right, and any movie that promotes equality and understanding, no matter how clumsy a way they go about it, gets some kudos from me.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2011
A touching little gem of a piece as a new couple enjoy a night on the town before he ships overseas to be an advisor in Vietnam. Phoenix and Taylor are amazing. I'd never heard of it before! Did I give it 3 stars? Shoulda been 4.
Super Reviewer
September 9, 2011
Set San Francisco, California during the Vietnam War, Dogfight conceives the innocent and inexperienced relationship of an unsophisticated woman and a young United States Marine she met on the eve of his trip to Vietnam. Most hilarious. Most charming. Most romantic. My personal brand of romance. Lovely.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2009
Aw..the ending was sweet and sad at the same time.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2006
Mean and he deserves to suffer...
Super Reviewer
May 20, 2008
This endearing, uniquely funny romance movie works as well as it does because River Phoenix and Lili Taylor turn in such convincing, interesting performances. Towards the conclusion, the film scrambles a bit and shifts gears too abruptly, but that's a mild complaint about a very entertaining movie. I liked it a lot.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
One of the most unlikely of on-screen pairings with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. Phoenix plays a Marine about to ship off to Vietnam with four of his buddies, on their last night before heading out they stage a "Dogfight" which is where everyone puts money into a pot and proceeds to find the ugliest girl they can find and bring her to a party, the one with the ugliest girl, wins. Needless to say things get bad for the Marine and the lonely and shy girl he picked catches wind of the cruel prank. So he spends the rest of the night trying to make it up to the girl and in doing so they both fall for each other, and a love that will stand a war and several years is born out of the most unlikeliest of situations. Lili Taylor has always been one of my favorite actresses and this is probably one of my favorite roles she has ever done. This also can be said about the late River Phoenix who is fantastic. The film itself is quite honestly one of the quirkiest and best Romance movies I have ever seen.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2007
Loved this film in my teens!

This is on my sis's favorite movies list, right Wan!?
May 13, 2014
Sad, sweet, compassionate and touching. A great character piece, and a fantastic, layered and realistic female lead. A great mix cruel and kind.
September 22, 2008
Dogfight is a movie that I truly adore. I have seen this film over and over. What can I say, I was heavily infatuated with River Phoenix back in the day.
Dogfight is the story of the night, in 1963, before Pvt. Eddie Birdlace and his buddies leave for Vietnam. It's a film about how both cruel and compassionate the human heart can be.
River Phoenix is great, as Birdlace. He was a gifted actor, and he brought a sympathetic understanding to the role. I thought Lili Taylor was very bright, as Rose. She is a beautiful, understated actress. Yet, she managed to give Rose the bumbling, awkward qualities that were pivotal to the plot.
This movie really knows how to tug at the strings of raw human emotion. Dogfight is genuinely a great film about the relationships we build through out our lives, and the effects they have on us.
March 22, 2008
Really a surprising find. It was a sweet, and not what I expected at all. River Phoenix was amazing.
July 16, 2007
I was so in love with River Phoenix, Been a long time since I seen this movie, But I still remember it well..
½ January 28, 2007
Subtle, romantic/comedy/drama set in the early sixties. One of Phoenix's best performances and Lili Taylor is charming as a homely folkie.
January 3, 2007
Took a while to grow on me, but River Phoenix is amazing! It's truly one of those indie films that are gems!
May 31, 2006
Another one that I haven't seen for a while, but I remember it being only so-so. I definitely need to watch it again.
April 1, 2015
Not worth the strain to find merit in this hollow drama.
February 27, 2014
I recommend it. The characters and the story is intoxicating.
February 12, 2013
This has become one of my favorite River Phoenix movies of all time. It's sad to think that it's been almost 20 years since he died. This film reminds you of how great of an actor he was, and what the world truly lost that dreadful day that he died. Just watch the trailer for the film. It should be enough to hook you in.
½ July 8, 2013
Hell of a movie. Can't believe I ain't seen or heard of it until now. So damn good
½ April 13, 2013
A touching and delicate love story, heightened by its charming leads and a well-written script that is able to present us two interesting characters in all their complexity. Unlike other romantic stories, this one feels real, since the viewer, early on, enters in each character's world and thus, can relate to their feelings and words. A little-known gem which delights and moves us. Highly recommended.
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