My Talks with Dean Spanley


I watched the most unusual movie this weekend.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s called “My Talks with Dean Spanley” (the title of the book it is based on, as well as the title according to my tv guide), or just “Dean Spanley” (the title according to IMDB), but either way, you should watch it.

It’s a dog movie, if you’d believe it from the title.  My dad, possibly the worst movie reviewer of history, described it this way, in trying to convince me to watch it:

It’s slow.  It’s dull, dull, dull, dull, and then wow!  I nearly deleted it [from the PVR] half a dozen times.

With that kind of rave review, it sat on our PVR for two weeks of me going, ‘well, it’s just that… well… I have better things to do than watch that movie.’  In the end, I watched it because of the fact that my dad kept bringing it up.  He usually doesn’t even see the end of any movie (chronic couch-sleeper), and rarely shows any kind of enthusiasm for any movie.  I’d figured that by the end of the first week, he’d have forgotten it entirely and deleted it off the PVR.  Luckily for me (and you, clearly), I watched it.  And it was great!  No, seriously, my dad is just that bad at selling a movie.

I’ll translate for you:

It’s slow = This is not an action flick.  No Bond-girls, or bombs or shootings.  It’s set in Edwardian England, and all of the characters, even the scalawags behave with much more propriety and formality than Jason Statham ever has in his movies.

It’s dull, dull, dull, dull = Think Pride and PrejudiceI love the book, and many film versions… but you probably wouldn’t see my dad sit down and join me to watch the five-hour long BBC production.  Ever.  Before all of you who aren’t Austen fans click away, keep this in mind – my couch-sleeper dad watched Dean Spanley twice without even a light snooze.  They talk a lot, but it’s interesting, and there is a lot of humor stuck in amongst the polite ‘how do you do’s’.  It’ll keep you entertained, and, if there’s a point at which you think, ‘geeze, this really isn’t great, I’ll just turn it off in a minute’, it’s likely something will happen soon after that makes you think, “ok, another five or 10 minutes”.

and then wow = While I enjoyed the entire movie thoroughly, yeah, the last talk with Dean Spanley is… just… wow.  I cried.  Bear in mind, I also get teary eyed over the sad parts in Mulan, but yes, it’s an emotional last talk, that’s all I can say.  If you’re more the stiff upper lip type, those last scenes are beautifully filmed, and the wording is lovely and poetic.  The book is officially on hold at the library for me, that is how much wow there is in the movie.

The movie is about a man talking with the unusual and intriguing Dean Spanley, as well as his relationship with his stiffly unemotional father.  It’s about the idea of reincarnation, and about love (not the Pride and Prejudice variety, the love between father and son, and the love between a boy and his dog.), and the loss of a loved one.  And it’s a dog movie, just not in the same way as  as Marley and Me is a dog movie.  It looks at the world as seen through the eyes, nose and mind of a dog, in possibly the most bizarre way possible, but brilliantly done.  Very poetic, and beautifully filmed.

Movie reviews are hard – I don’t want to ruin the ending… or the middle.  Like how your friend told you how surprised he was when, at the end of the Sixth Sense, it turned out that Bruce Willis was actually a ghost?  Yeah.  Just, if you have the opportunity, watch it.

Because it’s dull, dull, dull, dull, and then WOW!

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9 Comments

  1. TheIdiotSpeaketh

     /  November 7, 2011

    Wait a minute……Bruce Willis was a ghost?……gah!!

    • ooops? I just assumed everyone had that friend person who sees everything first and then ruins the ending. I’d say maybe you’re that guy, but you didn’t see the 6th sense? Oh, idiot *shakes head*

  2. I am a chronic couch sleeper too 🙂 I am not sure I would make it through. I’ll keep it in mind though.

    • It is well worth the watch, and, like i said – my dad falls asleep through everything, but he stayed awake through two sittings of this movie

  3. Maybe it makes me dull, but this is exactly the kind of movie I am most drawn too. Looking at the list of actors (Peter O’Toole!) I don’t see how it could possibly be bad.

    Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve never heard of this one before and now I am going to have to go on a search.

    • It’s exactly the kind of movie I like too (that, and comic book movies… ), so no worries – you aren’t dull. You’re just willing to pay attention to a plot more complex than “And then he got shot again, right after his car exploded!”

  4. Thanks for stirring my curiosity! The storyline sounds immensely intriguing. I think I might have a read through the novel first, then follow-up with the film version.

    • I generally like to read the novel first – through the movie, I didn’t even realise that there was a novel. Only in trying to write my blog post did I come across the fact that it was a novel. I’m very excited to see what the book is like.
      It’s definitley a worthwhile watch (and I’m assuming a worthwhile read), especially (though I don’t want to make it seem like it’s got a limited audience) for a dog owner.

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