Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sean Kelly

Revisiting TIFF 2006: The Dog Problem

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of TIFF, I will be revisiting one film from each year I attended the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.

In 2006, I made the decision to begin volunteering for TIFF, while also beginning studying for a degree in Film Studies at York University. Since a perk of volunteering included vouchers for festival tickets, this ended up being the first year that I saw more than 1-2 films at the festival. While I still only ended up seeing four films that year, it set the stage for my growing TIFF experience in the years to come.

The film that can be arguably described as the "big film" I saw at TIFF in 2006 was the indie comedy The Dog Problem. Playing as part of the Special Presentations programme, the film was written and directed by actor Scott Caan, who also had a supporting role in the film.  I saw the screening at the Ryerson Theatre and it should be noted that this was the first ever TIFF screening I attended to have talent in attendance, including Scott Caan and actors Giovanni Ribisi and Mena Suvari.

I hadn't seen The Dog Problem since the festival screening, so it was interesting to rewatch it nearly a decade later. Probably the best description I have about the film is that it's cute, particularly when it comes to the titular canine. While The Dog Problem can be partially described as a romance, due to the connection developed between struggling writer Solo (Ribisi) and stripper Lola (Lynn Collins), it can be argued that the film is more about the relationship between Solo and his new dog.

The Dog Problem has a very sitcom-like premise in how Solo initially can't stand the dog, but slowly becomes more attached to him. The film features supporting characters played by Kevin Corrigan and Mena Suvari, whose only real roles in the film seem to be about adding some conflict, since they both want to take the dog away from Solo. I also had forgotten that MMA fighter Tito Ortiz appears in the film as a silent tough guy.

Probably the biggest thing that I took away from this repeat viewing of The Dog Problem is how I am now somewhat more familiar with lead actress Lynn Collins. Back in 2006, she was a complete unknown to me, however I would later know her for her lead roles in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and John Carter, not that it's saying much.  I should also make mention of the fact that Scott Caan never directed another film since The Dog Problem, which was his second feature film. I suppose that he has been too busy with his acting career, which includes the television series Hawaii Five-0.

While in some ways The Dog Problem can be described as one of the many films to play at TIFF, only to later be forgotten, I can still say that I enjoyed the film on this second viewing.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).