A Hothead, a Dog, and the Desert
Cast: Don Johnson, Tim McIntire (voice), Susanne Benton, Jason Robards
Director: L.Q. Jones
Plot Summary: A young man and his telepathic dog fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic desert.
I enjoy post-apocalyptic movies as they take so many variables out of each situation. Usually the characters don’t have much to rely on but themselves and their friendships or, more to the point, the kindness or cruelty of strangers.
The two main characters are a young, rather hot-headed, man named Vic (Johnson) and his cynical, telepathic intelligent dog “Blood” (voice by McIntire). They are scratching out a meager existence in an unnamed desert after WW4 destroys most of everything, including civilization. Things are grim and people are lawless, living by the credo “might makes right”.
Blood has an interesting power – he can sense when women are nearby. While he does use it to keep Vic in check and get free meals, he does seem to care for the guy. But he is sarcastic – he calls the human “Albert”, possibly as a jab at the guy’s mental acuity, which is lacking. Blood is anything but dumb, in fact he is the smartest character of the whole movie, plus he has a smattering of scruples. Or at least as much as anyone can in this world.
Blood’s power does come into play, leading to the introduction of the woman Quilla (Benton). She is apparently powerless, and Vic does have an opportunity to rape her, one that he does not take. He does have morals after all. Unknown to him she is a lure, a lure to bring him down into a very weird city underground.
The elders of the city need Vic, but I won’t tell you why. The city fits in with the flavor of this film – wacky, tough and certainly not sentimental. This place is a piece of work, and while there are comforts down below, I can see why Vic wants to get out.
I can’t give away the ending, either. But it is completely in line with the rest of the movie. Screenwriter and director L.Q. Jones does not suddenly switch gears, and I applaud him for it.
This is a cult classic for good reason. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic of movies, then you’ll definitely like A Boy and His Dog.