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A Dog Year

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeff Bridges, Lauren Ambrose, Lois Smith, Domhnall Gleeson, Welker White
  • Directors: George LaVoo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 13, 2011
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Y5HWOA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,960 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Dog Year" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on the 2003 memoir by best-selling author Jon Katz, A Dog Year tells the story of a 50-something writer (Oscar® winner Jeff Bridges) in mid-existential crisis, who impulsively agrees to adopt a high-strung border collie named Devon. At first, the dog wreaks chaos on a suburban household Jon shares with two older, mellower Labs. But as Jon learns to let go of the hostility in his own personality, he finds his ability to train and communicate with Devon much easier. Ultimately, the experience transforms both man and dog in meaningful, unexpected ways.


From Old Yeller to Marley and Me, movies about people and their dogs have a built-in appeal as long as they contain the basic elements--like funny canine high jinks, a few adorable "aww" moments, and, of course, the opportunity for a good healthy cry. So it is with the slight but winning A Dog Year, author Jon Katz's tale of his relationship with an errant border collie named Devon. When we meet Katz (Jeff Bridges), he's at the airport, having agreed (for reasons not very well illuminated, as is the case with a number of story elements) to add Devon to a brood that already includes two lovely golden retrievers, Stanley and Julius. The dog instantly escapes and runs amok through the terminal--a sure sign of things to come, as he was apparently abused by his previous owner and Katz, whose daughter is away at school and whose wife has temporarily left home, is afflicted with severe writer's block and is too angry and stubborn to train the dog properly. After "the dog from hell," as Jon calls him, proceeds to tear up the house, chase cars, and such, Katz threatens to send him back. But we know that won't happen, especially when the aging Stanley's heart starts to let him down. Soon Katz has relocated to a squalid farmhouse in the country, where he eats butter and processed cheese sandwiches, sleeps on a bare mattress, stares at a blank computer screen, and finally connects with a trainer (Lois Blair) who points out that it's Jon, not Devon, who really needs fixing. Bridges is perfectly cast in this curmudgeonly role, the dogs are all adorable, and while there are no surprises, A Dog Year will surely find favor with dog lovers everywhere. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

True story brought to life.
This movie really left out too much of the important plot points from the book and just ends up making Jon look like a jerk.
Amazon Customer
I loved the book (& the sequels) I also knew the history of the movie.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on October 13, 2010
Format: DVD
As Jeff Bridges, to me, has always been one of the most underrated actors of his period--I'm glad to see him finally getting the recognition he deserves. His recent Oscar win for "Crazy Heart" is just a capper on his previous four nominations which spanned nearly 40 years with "The Last Picture Show," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "Starman," and "The Contender." Aside from "Picture Show," these films only hint at Bridges' range and I've always maintained that his work in "Tucker: The Man And His Dream," "The Fisher King," and the incredible "Fearless" (and dare I mention The Dude from "The Big Lebowski") were the true height of acting genius. It's only natural that Bridges has settled into somewhat of a comfort zone and "A Dog Year" (which garnered him an Emmy nomination) is a film he could do in his sleep. Playing a disheveled and obstinate man in a mid-life crisis has been Bridges' go-to role for several years now and it's on display again in "A Dog Year."

Based on the popular Jon Katz memoir, "A Dog Year" follows Bridges as he chronicles a life in turmoil. A writer who can't write, Bridges also has anger issues. His wife has left him and he seems somewhat isolated and estranged from others in his life. When he is contacted about a dog in need, he inexplicably agrees to see if he can help. Needless to say that this border collie named Devon is a problematic creature. Wreaking havoc, though in believable and not overly comedic ways, Devon forces Bridges to reevaluate quite a bit in his life. Bridges is not particularly nice and Devon's antics aren't particularly endearing--so there is a refreshing quality to their interactions and it's not as cutesy as you might fear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By passerby0413 on February 5, 2011
Format: DVD
First off the movie itself was just bad...slow moving, no real plot, and felt like it ended in the middle of the story. But on top of it I watched it with a pit in my stomach because anyone who knows anything about dogs could see that Jeff Bridges' character, Jon Katz, didn't know anything about owning a high-energy dog. It was the typical story of an owner getting a dog for selfish reasons and the dog suffering as a result. Plus knowing that this is based on a true story and that in real life Mr. Katz eventually couldn't handle the dog and put him down made it even harder to watch.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David S. Gray on March 7, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I liked the movie for the most part the first time I watched it, mainly because I loved looking at the beautiful dogs that were in the film. I did have issues with how the dog was being handled in the story, i.e. allowed to chase school buses, get loose all the time etc. OK, yeah he was a dog with issues but there is a LOT that could have been done to manage him better.

My spouse didn't like the film at all, found it too disjointed as far as the story went. There were some problems with the plot, especially the ending, I was expecting more, but no, it ended rather abruptly and not very clear as what was to happen next. Maybe in a sense that was a good thing. At least as far as the movie goes, if they took it to the actual conclusion as to what really happened in the end, I suspect the movie would have bombed.

It got worse for me when I found out the true story of Devon/Orson (what's with the 2 names for the same dog anyway?) when I found out he had Devon/Orson put down for supposedly being aggressive and nipping 2-3 people, a lot of which appear to have been largely brought on, or at the least exacerbated, by the circumstances in which Devon/Orson was placed in.

Things that bothered me in the movie BEFORE I learned of Devon/Orson's fate, as an owner of many dogs in my lifetime, mainly border collies and BC mixes for over 30 years, are this. It seemed to me, he was WAY too ready to euthanize his lab. The dog had slowed down with health issues such as hip diplaysia, some heart condition and could no longer 'chase the blue ball', but other than that, it appeared to me the dog wasn't in any pain, and content just to hang out, even if it was just a lot of lying around.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Viva on December 27, 2010
Format: DVD
This movie runs only 80 minutes and does not quite cover fully the year that Jon Katz spent with the formerly abused dog, Devon, that he is trying to rehabilitate. Jon also has a strained relationship with his wife and daughter, and the daughter barely shows up, wasting the talents of Lauren Ambrose.

Jeff Bridges and Lois Smith do a fine job as Jon and a woman who tries to help him heal himself as well as the damaged dog. Still, there could have been much more time devoted to the whole story.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By JR on March 5, 2011
Format: DVD
"he gave away his second border collie and had the first put down for behavioral problems" - Jon Katz - wikipedia

I wanted to like this movie. We really like Jeff Bridges work & absolutely love Border Collies (owners) - so we we're shocked when I did some further research after watching the HBO TV movie (dvd - rented from Red Box) & found out the author apparently had the subject Border Collie of the story "put down" (killed, murdered) for "behavior problems," & he gave a way a second dog. He obviously has no clue on dealing with these very intelligent, loving & social animals - & has no business owning one.

Did his "first dog" (Devon?) warrant being put down for "behavior problems?" If a dog is not vicious (very unlikely with a Border Collie - they are very gentle & loving animals) - not. He should have either found it a good home, or given it to a no-Kill shelter where someone could have had the opportunity to give him a good home.

btw - the bit in the movie with the dog up on the top shelf in the laundry room, & then jumping off (a dog is not a cat so it is very unlikely this ever happened) - regardless - the dog they "used" for the "stunt" is obviously TERRIFIED - shame on the folks who did this.

Border Collies are wonderful dogs - this is a poor story, poorly done - avoid it like the plague - or rent it - & see wonderfully intelligent, energetic, social & very loving dogs - poorly represented.
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