Fair warning: most of the entries for “Sunday Score” are going to originate from pictures that I hold dear to my heart. Admiring a movie and appreciating all its tiny working parts tends to run hand in hand, but I figured I would mix things up a little bit this week by focusing on a motion picture that actually holds very little appeal.
While separated in release by about five years, “Last of the Dogmen” emerged from the unexpected blockbuster status of the magnificent western, “Dances with Wolves.” It’s one thing to have a superhero movie hit the big time with a pool of similar material just waiting to be served up next, but what happens when a kindhearted, revisionist western wins over the global box office, swoops up Oscars by the armful, and enjoys phenomenon status? That’s a hard act to pinch.
Starring Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey, “Dogmen” is simply a well-intentioned misfire, hoping to strike a balance between Native American mystery and sympathy, while failing at both endeavors. Honestly, I just barely remember seeing it during its theatrical run, and I would bet few reading this have even heard of the film.
The music by David Arnold is the feature’s lone triumph. Back when the film was released, I recall being consumed with Arnold’s efforts after his exhilarating work getting the lumpy sci-fi charmer “Stargate” on its feet with an exquisite, mammoth score (we’ll get to that gusty music later this year). The composer’s work soon lost its allure, but the main theme of “Dogmen” is a straightforward romantic piece with heavy emphasis on grandeur and emotion.
The film doesn’t work, but the music seems to find all the perfect thematic notes.
Here’s “Last of the Dogmen.”
And the film’s incredibly poor trailer campaign and BTS featurette.