WEIRDLAND: "Alpha Dog" movie

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Alpha Dog" movie


Set in November 1999, (the real events took place in 2000) Alpha Dog tells the story of Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), a young drug dealer in his hometown of Claremont, California. Despite being only 19 years old, Johnny owns his own house and car. Johnny has a circle of loyal friends, including Frankie Ballenbacher (Justin Timberlake) Elvis Schmidt (Shawn Hatosy), the latter of whom does household chores for Johnny to pay his debt to him, but is constantly ridiculed by Johnny and Frankie for being spineless. Johnny's father, Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis), supplies his son with the marijuana which he makes a lot of money selling.

Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), one of Johnny's friends and part-time distributors, is shown interrupting dinner to ask his father for money to pay a drug debt ($800). After being denied by his father and stepmother, his younger, 15-year-old half-brother Zach (Anton Yelchin) asks to come along with Jake, which Jake doesn't allow. Later, at one of his many parties, Johnny meets with Jake Mazursky. When Jake fails to collect a drug debt for Johnny, they fight over the money which culminates in Johnny pulling a pistol on Jake and kicking him out of his house after Mazursky gets the upper hand in the brawl. Johnny decides to continue the fight by getting Jake fired from his job. As an ex-con, Jake's opportunity to find another job is slim, and he becomes incessantly angry with Johnny. In retaliation, Jake and several armed friends break into and trash Johnny's house, as well as steal his television. Although armed, Johnny does not confront them, instead hiding until they leave.

Late in the evening Zach visits Jake, who is with his girlfriend. Zach drinks with them, smokes pot, and tells of his frustration caused by his parents, who treat him like a small child. Zach's mother, upset, phones and tells Zach to come home. Jake drives a drunken, high Zach home, much to the anger of his parents. The following day, Zach's mother finds a bong in Zach's room, causing Zach and his parents to argue. Zach sneaks out of the house shortly after.

Johnny and his friends want to take revenge on Jake, but he is not home. They see Zach and kidnap him, hoping to use him as leverage to make Jake pay his debt. Zach is restrained at first, but soon this is undone, because it is unnecessary: Zach starts enjoying the situation. He is then taken to Frankie's house in Palm Springs, California and begins to feel he is amongst friends and enjoys the break from home life with his over-protective mother. He is given alcohol and drugs and loses his virginity in a threesome. He is confident that Jake will soon pay his debt, and that he will then be released.

Johnny, worried about the legal problems kidnapping poses, calls his father's lawyer. Johnny is told that they can get life sentences for the kidnapping. Johnny asks Frankie to kill Zach. Frankie rejects the offer($2500), after which Johnny claims that it was just a joke. However, Frankie suspects that it was serious and talks about it to one of the girls while they are hanging out at his dad's house. The girl tries to warn her mother but she is on ecstacy and having sex with her husband at the time having no time to listen.

Johnny offers Elvis a way to pay back his debt: murder Zach. Elvis agrees and Frankie supplies shovels and duct tape, but refuses to help Elvis dig a grave. Elvis takes Frankie's friend Keith Stratten (Chris Marquette) along, pretending to give him a ride home. Reluctantly, Keith cooperates. While this is happening, Frankie offers Zach an opportunity to escape, but without explaining his concern. Zach does not feel in danger, and stays.

Sonny Truelove and family friend Cosmo (Harry Dean Stanton) show up at Johnny's girlfriend's house in an attempt to stop the situation from escalating. They urge Johnny to release Zach and that they will work to get him a short sentence, a prospect Johnny finds unbearable.

Later that night, Elvis, Frankie and Keith take Zach in a car, pretending that they are taking him home but instead drive him to the shallow grave. Upon arriving at the site, two hikers walk past the group and Keith hugs Zach and goes to wait in the car. When they reach the grave site Zach becomes more concerned but Frankie promises him that everything will be okay. As his mouth is wrapped with tape Zach gets more and more worried but Frankie gives him constant assurances that he will be fine. Suddenly, Elvis hits the back of Zach's head with a shovel, then proceeds to kill him with automatic fire from a sub-machine gun.

The epilogue shows the after-effects of the crime. Zach's mother Olivia (Sharon Stone) is interviewed; she talks about her wrong suicide attempts and the loss that she has experienced from her son's murder. All of the gang members are currently serving time, with Elvis on death row. Also Johnny Truelove was on America's Most Wanted List for 5 years being the youngest ever before he was caught and sent to California for trial.

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