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Alpha Dog

Promotional poster
Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Produced by Paul Ralph
Written by Nick Cassavetes
Starring Emile Hirsch
Justin Timberlake
Bruce Willis
Shawn Hatosy
Olivia Wilde
Sharon Stone
Ben Foster
Amanda Seyfried
Anton Yelchin
Music by Aaron Zigman
Cinematography Robert Fraisse
Editing by Alan Heim
Studio Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
A-Mark Entertainment
Alpha Dog LLC
VIP 2 Medienfonds
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) United States:
January 27, 2006 (Sundance Film Festival)
January 12, 2007
(wide release)
Running time 124 minutes (Sundance Film Festival)
122 minutes (wide release)
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $32,141,561 [1]

Alpha Dog is a 2006 crime drama film written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, released on January 27, 2006. The film is based on the true story of the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz and related events in 2000. It portrays the involvement of Jesse James Hollywood, a young middle-class drug dealer in California.[2] The film stars Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin with Harry Dean Stanton, Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis.

Contents

Plot

Alpha Dog is based on events that took place in 2000 and characters are given fictional names. The film is set in November 1999. It tells the story of Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), a young drug dealer in Claremont, California and his circle of friends, which includes Frankie Ballenbacher (Justin Timberlake), Tiko "TKO" Martinez (Fernando Vargas) and Elvis Schmidt (Shawn Hatosy). The film demonstrates internal gang dynamics and social context that contribute to the events leading to kidnapping and murder.

Johnny's father, Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis), supplies his son with marijuana, from which Johnny makes a fortune dealing and selling. Johnny owns his own house where he holds meetings and parties. Another associate of the gang is Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), who owes Johnny a $1,200 drug debt. After a failed attempt at asking for the money from his parents, Olivia (Sharon Stone) and Butch (David Thornton) Mazursky, he goes over to Johnny's house where Johnny is having a party. A heated argument between the two results in a violent fight that Frankie and the gang break up. Jake tells Johnny that he'll never pay him the money. In retaliation, Johnny gets Jake fired from his job by ratting on him to his boss that Jake is on drugs. Later that night, Jake and his gang break into Johnny's house, stealing his flat-screen t.v., breaking his backyard window and defecating on the carpet. The next day, Johnny, Frankie and Tiko decide to go to Jake personally and collect the money with the threat of violence but Jake is not in. On their way back, they stumble upon his brother Zack Mazursky (Anton Yelchin) and decide to kidnap him in broad daylight, throwing him into the van. Frankie is worried about the situation, while Johnny is thinking about what to do with him.

Zack makes little effort to escape. Frankie offers him beer and cigarettes, which he accepts. During a street fiesta, Frankie offers him a chance to escape, which Zack declines, not wanting to cause him trouble with Johnny. The two strike up an unlikely friendship. Zack stays at Frankie's house for the night and even helps him with his chores. Meanwhile, Olivia and Butch learn Jake owes money to "someone", and a furious Olivia forces Jake to go look for Zack. Jake enters a party looking for Johnny, resulting in an intense fight between Jake and the party-goers. The next morning, Zack meets some of Frankie's friends, including Keith Stratten (Chris Marquette), a young pothead, and even strikes up a relationship with Julie (Amanda Seyfried), the youngest member of the group. They all learn of Zack's kidnapping, yet do nothing as Zack seems cool with everything. Julie even refers to him as 'Stolen Boy', and thinks it's hot. Johnny comes over and discusses with Frankie what to do. Frankie grows nervous when Johnny asks Frankie about the possibility of having Zack killed and disposed of, though he quickly dismisses it. Frankie suggests that they can "grease the kid", or offer Zack money for him to keep his mouth shut, and just sort the whole situation privately with Jake. Johnny agrees and the night turns into a party at Frankie's house.

The next day, back at Zack's home, Olivia and Butch do everything they can to find Zack. Missing Person posters are put up. Johnny becomes increasingly paranoid about the situation and he calls Jake with the intent of explaining the situation, but learns that Jake already suspects it was him who kidnapped Zack and screams that he'll "rip his throat out and eat his heart". Johnny hangs up and calls his lawyer and explains the situation as a hypothetical scenario involving a 'friend'. His lawyer tells him that Johnny is looking at 25 years to life in prison for his actions if Zack rats them out. High with anxiety, Johnny seems to have made up his mind. That night, while Frankie, Zack, and the gang are at a party at a hotel, Johnny approaches Elvis, who is in deep debt with Johnny, and offers to cancel the debt if he agrees to have Zack murdered. Elvis is skeptical at first, but agrees. Johnny gives him a TEC-9 pistol and leaves with his girlfriend. Back at the party, Zack loses his virginity when he has sex with Julie and her girlfriend, Alma (Amber Heard). Elvis arrives at the hotel and explains to Frankie that he is taking Zack home, at which point the party ends and everyone leaves except for Frankie, Zack, Elvis, and Keith. Frankie is relieved to have Zack go home until Elvis reveals Johnny's plan to kill Zack. Frankie is enraged at Elvis, and angrily tells him he won't let him do it. Elvis instead takes Keith and they go to a remote location in the hills to dig a grave. When they get back to the hotel, Elvis tells a disturbed Frankie that they are all looking at life in prison if Zack goes home. Frankie sadly agrees and he, Elvis, and Keith trick Zack into thinking he's going home.

Back at Johnny's house, his dad, Sonny, finds out about Zack, and he and their attorney confront him about the kidnapping. Sonny is furious with his son, and when he learns of Johnny's plan to kill Zack, he commands that he call it off, which Johnny refuses, believing that Elvis and Frankie aren't really going to kill Zack. Meanwhile, Frankie, Elvis, Zack and Keith arrive in the hills. They start walking up a hill. Zack is not aware of what's going to happen and is tricked into believing someone's picking him up. He grows a little suspicious when a deeply saddened Keith silently tells Frankie he can't go through with it, and, after giving Zack a goodbye hug, goes to wait in the van. Realizing what's happening, a panicky Zack asks Frankie what they're doing, Frankie reassures him and the three continue walking up the hill. Zack sees the grave and begins to break down, sobbing and begging Frankie and Elvis to let him go. Frankie tells Elvis that they shouldn't do it, but Elvis is keen on the job he's been given. Frankie calms Zack down and tells him that he would never hurt him, and ties a weeping Zack up with tape. He is astonished when Elvis knocks Zack into the grave with the shovel and then fires at Zack with the pistol, killing him. Frankie and Elvis then silently leave.

Zack's body is found three days later. The epilogue shows the aftermath of the crime. Olivia is interviewed; she talks candidly about her failed suicide attempts and the loss that she has experienced from her son's murder. After being convicted, the gang members serve time: Tiko serving nine years for the kidnapping; Keith serving at a juvenile facility until the age of 25 for digging Zack's grave and second-degree murder; Frankie serving a life sentence for aggravated kidnapping; and Elvis on death row for murdering Zack. Johnny disappears and is finally arrested in Paraguay in 2005 after 5 years of being on the America's Most Wanted list and, if proven guilty, faces the death penalty.

Cast

Role Actor Real-life Counterpart
Johnny Truelove (leader) Emile Hirsch Jesse James Hollywood (convicted July 8, 2009 of the kidnapping and murder of Nick Markowitz and was sentenced to life in prison[3].); 20 years old at the time.
Frankie Ballenbacher Justin Timberlake Jesse Rugge (sentenced to life in prison, for the kidnapping of Nick Markowitz with the possibility of parole after seven years. His petition for parole was denied in 2008.); 20 years old at the time.
Elvis Schmidt (shooter) Shawn Hatosy Ryan Hoyt (on death row at San Quentin for the murder of Nick Markowitz); 21 years old at the time.
Jake Mazursky (elder half-brother of victim) Ben Foster Benjamin Markowitz; 21 years old at the time. Served three years in prison for robbery. Since released.
Zack Mazursky (victim) Anton Yelchin Nicholas Markowitz (murdered by Ryan Hoyt, a member of Jesse James Hollywood's crew.) Hollywood has since been tried and convicted for the kidnapping and his role in the murder. 15 when he died.
Olivia Mazursky (mother of victim) Sharon Stone Susan Markowitz
Keith Stratten Chris Marquette Graham Pressley; 17 at the time. In July 2002 tried as an minor and October 2002 as an adult. Served five years in juvie for digging Nick's grave. Second degree murder. (Released from the California Youth Authority in 2007.)
Susan Hartunian Dominique Swain Natasha Adams-Young (given immunity in exchange for her testimony). Friend of Rugge, Graham, and Nick; 19 at the time. After reading in the paper that Nick was murdered, she confronted Rugge and asked if he had anything to do with it. Despite Rugge explaining that he didn't, she knew he was lying and she told her father, a lawyer, what happened; he in turn called police.
Bobby "911" Kaye Alex Solowitz Brian Affronti joined Hollywood and the crew minutes after they had kidnapped Nick; 20 at the time.
Tiko 'TKO' Martinez Fernando Vargas William Skidmore Nine years in state prison for kidnapping and robbery out of a plea bargain; 20 at the time. Skidmore was released in April 2009.[4]
Angela Holden Olivia Wilde Michelle Lasher, Hollywood's girlfriend; 21 at the time. Arrested for harboring a fugitive (Hollywood).
Buzz Fecske Lukas Haas Chas Saulsbury, Hollywood's friend. Last met during junior high. Tried to help Hollywood get out of the country. Arrested for harboring a fugitive.
Sonny Truelove Bruce Willis John "Jack" Hollywood Jesse James's father. Arrested in 2005, the same day son Jesse James was captured in Brazil, for manufacturing the illicit narcotic GHB[5], but the charge was later thrown out in court. Jack remained in custody on an outstanding 2002 warrant for a marijuana-related charge, and later received 18 months in a Arizona prison.[6] Since released.
Wanda Haynes Heather Wahlquist Ben's fiancée.
Julie Beckley Amanda Seyfried Nick's girlfriend; 17 at the time.
Pick Giaimo Vincent Kartheiser Casey Sheehan, Hollywood's friend. His vehicle was used in the murder of Nick Markowitz. Arrested, then bailed out; 20 at the time.
Cosmo Gadabeeti Harry Dean Stanton John Roberts, Jesse James's godfather, and Jack's best friend. His van was used in the kidnapping of Nick Markowitz.
Detective Tom Finnegan Holt McCallany Officer looking for Hollywood; he arrested the crew as well as interviewed witnesses.
Sabrina Charity Shea Kelly Carpenter (given immunity in exchange for testimony), Rugge's girlfriend; 16 at the time.
Alma Amber Heard

Legal issues

During filming, Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Ronald J. Zonen provided copies of many documents on the case and served as an unpaid consultant to the film, citing his desire to have Hollywood captured. Zonen prosecuted Hollywood’s co-defendants and was poised to prosecute Hollywood. After Hollywood was captured in Saquarema, Brazil and subsequently returned to the United States, his defense lawyer claimed there was a conflict of interest, and the California Court of Appeal for the Second District ruled on October 5, 2006 that, based on Zonen's disclosure of the files and consultant service—he should be recused from further involvement in prosecuting Hollywood.[7][8] On December 20, 2006, the California Supreme Court granted review on the case effectively staying the order to recuse Zonen.[9] On May 12, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that Zonen should not be recused.[10] Nonetheless, Zonen was replaced as lead prosecution attorney by Deputy Dist. Atty. Joshua Lynn.

In addition, Hollywood's attorney James Blatt tried to block the release of the movie.[11]

After the delay, Hollywood's trial started May 15, 2009 with the defense's opening statements saying Hollywood was not involved with the murder.[12] In his opening statement, Lynn described Hollywood as "a ruthless coward."[13] On July 8, 2009 he was convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder with special circumstances for which he can face the death penalty.[3]

Reception

Box office

During its opening weekend, Alpha Dog grossed $6,412,775 and was in 7th at the box office.[14] The film closed on February 22, 2007 after grossing $15.2 million domestically, and totaled $30,774,935 worldwide over its six-week release.[1]

Critical response

The film received mixed to positive reviews with a 56% rating on rottentomatoes.com,[15] the consensus being, "a glossy yet unflinching portrait of violent, hedonistic teenagers. Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone chew the scenery, while Justin Timberlake gives a noteworthy performance." Up-and-comer Anton Yelchin is praised as "able to bring all of the conflicting emotions of Zach," and conveying all of it beautifully.[16]

Home media

Alpha Dog was released on DVD on May 1, 2007. It includes a DVD/HD DVD combo package where both forms are included in one box. DVD sales gathered $12,324,535 in revenue from 743,036 units sold.[17]

Susan and Jeff Markowitz's reaction

Susan Markowitz has attempted to commit suicide three times.[18] Jeff Markowitz elaborated, "She is so tortured by what happened that she has tried to take her own life. The last thing that either of us want is to see this picture. How would any loving parent feel about a Hollywood movie that glamorizes their son's death and allows celebrities to cash in on a brutal, evil murder?"[19] Nonetheless, Susan Markowitz attended the film's release and reportedly was moved by Anton Yelchin's portrayal of her son. After the screening she embraced Sharon Stone, who played her in the movie.[18]

Soundtrack

Alpha Dog
Soundtrack by Various Artists
Released January 9, 2007 (2007-01-09)
Genre Rap
Label Milan
Producer Aaron Zigman

A soundtrack for the film was released by Milan Records on January 1, 2007.[20][21]

  1. "Over the Rainbow" performed by Eva Cassidy
  2. "Enemy and I" performed by Lazarus
  3. "Bullet & a Target" performed by Citizen Cope
  4. "Jake Breaks In" performed by Paul Bushnell
  5. "Caribou Lou" performed by Tech N9ne
  6. "Revolving" performed by Paul Bushnell
  7. "Slither" performed by Tech N9ne
  8. "Liar" performed by Miredys Peguero & Paul Graham
  9. "Winner" performed by Paul Bushnell
  10. "Let's Chill" performed by Mic Holden, Maya & Reneé Rogers
  11. "Dragonfly" performed by Miredys Peguero & Paul Bushnell
  12. "LA LA Land" performed by Tech N9ne feat. Gina Cassavetes
  13. "Pool Party" performed by Mic Holden
  14. "Never Give Up" performed by Mic Holden
  15. "At the Site/Driving to the Site" written by Aaron Zigman & Nick Cassavetes
  16. "We Are The Lost" performed by Lawrence Faljean
  17. "Basketball" performed by Lowd
  18. "Cookie Monster" performed by Paul Graham & Paul Bushnell
  19. "Elvis Arrested" written by Aaron Zigman
  20. "Weightlifting" performed by Lowd
  21. "Marco Polo" performed by Lowd & Cassie Simone
  22. "Night and Day" performed by Tech N9ne

References

  1. ^ a b Alpha Dog at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  2. ^ "The real story behind 'Alpha Dog'". MSNBC. 2005. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16636250/page/2/. 
  3. ^ a b "Jesse James Hollywood convicted of murder, kidnapping". Associated Press. July 8, 2009. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hu3iSLsUJxnynwnEm-W3zarIXxXwD99AJQ400. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  4. ^ "Hollywood's Day in Court". The Santa Barbara Independent. May 21, 2009. http://www.independent.com/news/2009/may/21/hollywoods-day-court/. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Longtime fugitive Jesse James Hollywood captured in Brazil". The San Diego Union-Tribune. March 10, 2005. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20050310-1604-ca-jessejameshollywood.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  6. ^ "No Hollywood ending; The true-crime `Alpha Dog' becomes a part of the teen murder case it depicts". Los Angeles Times. January 7, 2007. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/1190444621.html?dids=1190444621:1190444621&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  7. ^ "Deputy DA removed from Jesse James Hollywood murder case". USA Today. October 5, 2006. http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-10-05-jesse-james-hollywood_x.htm?POE=LIFISVA. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  8. ^ Hollywood v. Superior Court, 143 Cal. App. 4th 858, 49 Cal. Rptr. 3d 598 (2006).
  9. ^ "Jesse James Hollywood appeal turned down by the Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. October 21, 2008. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-scotushollywood21-2008oct21,0,2900953.story. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  10. ^ Hollywood v. Superior Court, ___ Cal.4th ___ (May 12, 2008, S147954).
  11. ^ "DEFENDANT SUES OVER 'ALPHA DOG' JESSE JAMES HOLLYWOOD SEEKS TO STOP PRETRIAL FILM". Los Angeles Daily News. October 28, 2006. http://moreresults.factiva.com/results/index/index.aspx?ref=LAD0000020061031e2as0001i. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  12. ^ Risling, Greg (May 15, 2009). "Jesse James Hollywood called coward at trial". Associated Press. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hu3iSLsUJxnynwnEm-W3zarIXxXwD9870HJG3. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  13. ^ "Kidnap-murder trial opens for Jesse James Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. May 15, 2009. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/05/kidnapmurder-trial-opens-for-jesse-james-hollywood.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  14. ^ Alpha Dog - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  15. ^ Alpha Dog - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ Anton Yelchin Interview - Anton Yelchin on Alpha Dog, the True Story, and Charlie Bartlett
  17. ^ http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2007/ALPHA-DVD.php
  18. ^ a b Gaby Wood, "Shooting stars", The Observer, Sunday 1 April 2007
  19. ^ "'Alpha Dog' Victim's Mother Attempts Suicide". Hollywood.com. 2007-01-07. http://www.hollywood.com/news/Alpha_Dog_Victims_Mother_Attempts_Suicide/3611994. 
  20. ^ Alpha Dog soundtrack information at Milan Records
  21. ^ Alpha Dog soundtrack information at AllMusic

External links


Alpha Dog
Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Produced by Paul Ralph
Written by Nick Cassavetes
Starring Emile Hirsch
Justin Timberlake
Dominique Swain
Bruce Willis
Shawn Hatosy
Olivia Wilde
Sharon Stone
Ben Foster
Amanda Seyfried
Anton Yelchin
Fernando Vargas
Music by Aaron Zigman
Cinematography Robert Fraisse
Editing by Alan Heim
Studio Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
A-Mark Entertainment
Alpha Dog LLC
VIP 2 Medienfonds
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) United States:
January 27, 2006 (Sundance Film Festival)
January 12, 2007
(wide release)
Running time 124 minutes (Sundance Film Festival)
122 minutes (wide release)
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $32,141,561 [1]

Alpha Dog is a crime drama film written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, first screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2006, with a wide release the following year on January 12, 2007. The film is based on the true story of the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz and related events in 2000. It portrays the involvement of Jesse James Hollywood, a young middle-class drug dealer in California.[2] The film stars Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin with Harry Dean Stanton, Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis.

Contents

Plot

Alpha Dog is based on events that took place in 2000 and characters are given fictional names. The film is set in November 1999. It tells the story of Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), a young drug dealer in Claremont, California and his circle of friends, which includes Frankie Ballenbacher (Justin Timberlake), Tiko "TKO" Martinez (Fernando Vargas) and Elvis Schmidt (Shawn Hatosy). The film demonstrates internal gang dynamics and social context that contribute to the events leading to kidnapping and murder.

The film starts with an interviewer talking to Sonny about his son, Johnny. Sonny tells the story.

Johnny's father, Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis), supplies his son with marijuana, from which Johnny makes a fortune dealing and selling. Johnny owns his own house where he holds meetings and parties. Another associate of the gang is Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), who owes Johnny a $1,200 drug debt. After a failed attempt at asking for the money from his parents, Olivia (Sharon Stone) and Butch (David Thornton) Mazursky, he goes over to Johnny's house where Johnny is having a party. A heated argument between the two results in a violent fight that Frankie and the gang break up. Jake tells Johnny that he'll never pay him the money. In retaliation, Johnny gets Jake fired from his job by ratting on him to his boss that Jake is on drugs. Later that night, Jake and his gang break into Johnny's house, stealing his flat-screen t.v., breaking his backyard window and defecating on the carpet, with Johnny there. Even though armed, he hides from Jake. The next day, Johnny, Frankie and Tiko decide to go to Jake personally and collect the money with the threat of violence but Jake is not in. On their way back, they stumble upon his brother Zack Mazursky (Anton Yelchin) and decide to kidnap him in broad daylight, throwing him into the van. Frankie is worried about the situation, while Johnny is thinking about what to do with him.

Zack makes little effort to escape. Frankie offers him beer and cigarettes, which he accepts. During a street fiesta, Frankie offers him a chance to escape, which Zack declines, not wanting to cause any trouble for his brother.. The two strike up an unlikely friendship. Zack stays at Frankie's house for the night and even helps him with his chores. Meanwhile, Olivia and Butch learn Jake owes money to "someone", and a furious Olivia forces Jake to go look for Zack. Jake enters a party looking for Johnny, resulting in an intense fight between Jake and the party-goers. The next morning, Zack meets some of Frankie's friends, including Keith Stratten (Chris Marquette), a young druggie, as well as striking up a relationship with Julie (Amanda Seyfried), the youngest member of the group. They all learn of Zack's kidnapping, yet do nothing as Zack seems cool with everything. Susan is the only one who is very concerned about it. Julie even refers to him as 'Stolen Boy', and thinks it's hot. Johnny grows concerned and comes over and discusses with Frankie what to do about Zack. Frankie grows nervous when Johnny hypothetically offers Frankie $2500 to murder Zack and dispose of his body. Frankie furiously declines and Johnny claims it was a joke. Frankie suggests that they can "grease the kid", or offer Zack money for him to keep his mouth shut, and then sort the whole situation privately with Jake. Johnny, reclutantly agrees and the night turns into a party at Frankie's house. When Zack and Julie are about to kiss, Johnny interrupts and polietly asks Julie to leave the room, so he can talk to Zack in private. She reclutantly leaves. Johnny apologizes to Zack about the kidnapping. He offers Zack food. Asks him if everyone is treating him okay. Taking Frankie's advice of "greasing the kid." Johnny promises that the next day, this will all be over.

The next day at Zack's home, Olivia and Butch do everything they can to find Zack. Missing Person posters are put up. Johnny becomes increasingly paranoid about the situation and he calls Jake with the intent of explaining the situation, but learns that Jake already suspects it was him who kidnapped Zack and screams that he'll kill Johnny. Johnny hangs up and calls his lawyer and explains the situation as a hypothetical scenario involving a 'friend'. His lawyer tells him that Johnny is looking at 25 years to life in prison for his actions if Zack rats them out. High with anxiety, Johnny seems to have made up his mind. Meanwhile, Susan is concerned about Zack still being missing and how Frankie needs to bring Zack home. Frankie tells Susan not to say anything to anyone, saying that Johnny can be locked up and everyone involved will wind up dead. Susan thinks he's being paranoid, until Frankie tells her the offer Johnny gave him to murder Zack. Susan is hysterical and Frankie tells her Zack will be find and will go home. He thinks Johnny is just spun. Later Johnny calls and fasely tells him that Zack is going home, not trusting Frankie since he refused the offer. That night, while Frankie, Zack, and the gang are at a party at a hotel, Johnny approaches Elvis, who is in deep debt with Johnny, and offers to cancel the debt if he agrees to have Zack murdered. Elvis is skeptical at first, but agrees and they borrow their friend Pick's car. Johnny gives him a MAC 11 semi-automatic- pistol and leaves with his girlfriend, Angela. Back at the party, Zack loses his virginity when he has sex with Julie and her girlfriend, Alma (Amber Heard). Johnny calls Frankie and tells him he's heading over there to bring Zack home. Frankie clears the party. It's just Frankie, Zack, and Keith. Elvis arrives at the hotel and explains to Frankie that Zack is not going home and was ordered by Johnny to have Zack killed. Frankie is enraged at Elvis, and angrily tells him he won't let him do it. Elvis instead takes Keith and they go to a remote location in the hills to dig a grave. When they get back to the hotel, Elvis tells a disturbed Frankie that they are all looking at life in prison if Zack goes home. Frankie sadly agrees and he, Elvis, and Keith trick Zack into thinking he's going home.

Back at Johnny's girlfriend's house, his dad, Sonny, finds out about Zack, and his godfather, Cosmo, and their attorney confront him about the kidnapping. Sonny is furious with his son, and when he learns of Johnny's plan to kill Zack, he commands that he call it off, which Johnny refuses, believing that Elvis and Frankie aren't really going to kill Zack. Meanwhile, Frankie, Elvis, Zack and Keith arrive in the hills and begin walking to the grave. Zack is not aware of what's going on and is tricked into believing someone's picking him up. He grows a little suspicious when a deeply saddened Keith silently tells Frankie he can't go through with it, and, after giving Zack a goodbye hug, goes to wait in the van. Realizing something is wrong, a panicky Zack asks Frankie what they're really doing, but Frankie reassures him and the three continue walking up the hill. Zack sees the grave and begins to break down, sobbing and begging Frankie and Elvis to let him go. Frankie tells Elvis that they shouldn't do it, but Elvis is keen on the job he's been given. Realizing now that there's no going back, Frankie calms Zack down and tells him that he would never hurt him, and ties a weeping Zack up with tape. He is astonished when Elvis violently knocks Zack into the grave with the shovel and then fires at Zack with the pistol, killing him. Frankie and Elvis then silently leave.

Despite all the cover up, Zack's body is found three days later. The epilogue shows the aftermath of the crime. Olivia, now suffering from obesity and depression, is interviewed. She talks candidly about her failed suicide attempts and the loss that she has experienced from her son's murder. Susan, one of the girls that was with Zack for two days, reads the paper saying Zack was found dead. She confronts Frankie about it and he claims he had nothing to do with it. She is not convinced with him and goes to the authorities. Elvis goes to his friend Pick's house to ask him for a ride out of town. Pick is furious that Elvis and Johnny used his car for the murder, and refuses to help him. Soon the police arrive and Elvis makes a run for it, though he is quickly tackled and arrested. Johnny hears what happened, and he and his girlfriend leave L.A. for New Mexico. After getting a new car, they stop at a motel to plan what to do next. While Johnny is out getting cigarettes, the police find Angela and arrest her. Johnny escapes and hitchhikes a ride to Colorado to meet his old school friend, Buzz. Buzz offers to ride Johnny out of the country, and Johnny agrees. Though they reach the border, Johnny keeps changing his mind, and Buzz grows annoyed. Johnny decides to go back to L.A., and meets Cosmo, who is surprised to see him. He takes Johnny into his house, and Buzz decides to leave him.

Soon after, the gang members are found and arrested. Tiko is arrested at his house, with FBI agents raiding his house. Keith turns himself in out of guilt. Frankie is arrested after he finds his dad co-operating with the police. After being convicted, they all serve their respective sentences: Tiko serving nine years for the kidnapping; Keith serving at a juvenile facility until the age of 25 for digging Zack's grave and second-degree murder; Frankie serving a seven years to life for special circumstances of aggravated kidnapping. Elvis is put on death row for kidnapping Keith and murdering Zack. Johnny, however, is nowhere to be found.

Back in the present, an interviewer is asking Sonny how Johnny was able to escape authorities for four years. He thinks Sonny helped Johnny and knows exactly where Johnny is. Sonny assures that he doesn't know where Johnny is. Cosmo said the day Johnny came back to L.A. Cosmo went to the kitchen to grab a sandwich, he turns around and he was gone. They think Johnny is lost and confused. Eventually, after over five years of being on the America's Most Wanted list, Johnny is finally found and arrested in Paraguay, by Interpol, in 2005. Text on the screen informs the audience that Johnny is in California awaiting trial, and, if proven guilty, faces the death penalty.

Cast

Role Actor Real-Life Counterpart
Johnny Truelove (leader) Emile Hirsch Jesse James Hollywood (convicted July 8, 2009 of the kidnapping and murder of Nick Markowitz and was sentenced to life in prison[3].); 20 years old at the time.
Frankie Ballenbacher Justin Timberlake Jesse Rugge (sentenced to life in prison, for the kidnapping of Nick Markowitz with the possibility of parole after seven years. His petition for parole was denied in 2006.); 20 years old at the time.
Elvis Schmidt (Shooter) Shawn Hatosy Ryan Hoyt (on death row at San Quentin for the murder of Nick Markowitz); 21 years old at the time.
Jake Mazursky (Elder Half-Brother of Victim) Ben Foster Benjamin Markowitz; 22 years old at the time. Served three years in prison for robbery. Since released.
Zack Mazursky (Victim) Anton Yelchin Nicholas Markowitz (murdered by Ryan Hoyt, a member of Jesse James Hollywood's crew.) Zack was 15 when he died. Hollywood has since been tried and convicted for the kidnapping and his role in the murder.
Olivia Mazursky (Mother of Victim) Sharon Stone Susan Markowitz
Keith Stratten Chris Marquette Graham Pressley; 17 at the Time. In July 2002 tried as an minor and October 2002 as an adult. Served five years in juvie for digging Nick's grave. Second degree murder. (Released from the California Youth Authority in 2007.)
Susan Hartunian Dominique Swain Natasha Adams-Young (Given Immunity in Exchange for Her Testimony). Friend of Rugge, Graham, and Nick; 19 at the time. After reading in the paper that Nick was murdered, she confronted Rugge and asked if he had anything to do with it. Despite Rugge explaining that he didn't, she knew he was lying and she told her father, a lawyer, what happened; he in turn called police.
Bobby "911" Kaye Alex Solowitz Brian Affronti joined Hollywood and the crew minutes after they had kidnapped Nick; 20 at the time.
Tiko 'TKO' Martinez Fernando Vargas William Skidmore Nine years in state prison for kidnapping and robbery out of a plea bargain; 20 at the time. Skidmore was released in April 2009.[4]
Angela Holden Olivia Wilde Michelle Lasher, Hollywood's girlfriend; 21 at the time. Arrested for harboring a fugitive (Hollywood).
Buzz Fecske Lukas Haas Chas Saulsbury, Hollywood's friend. Last met during junior high. Tried to help Hollywood get out of the country. Arrested for harboring a fugitive.
Sonny Truelove Bruce Willis John "Jack" Hollywood Jesse James's father. Arrested in 2005, the same day son Jesse James was captured in Brazil, for manufacturing the illicit narcotic GHB[5], but the charge was later thrown out in court. Jack remained in custody on an outstanding 2002 warrant for a marijuana-related charge, and later received 18 months in an Arizona prison.[6] Since released.
Wanda Haynes Heather Wahlquist Ben's fiancée.
Julie Beckley Amanda Seyfried Nick's girlfriend; 17 at the time.
Pick Giaimo Vincent Kartheiser Casey Sheehan, Hollywood's friend. His vehicle was used in the murder of Nick Markowitz. Arrested, then bailed out; 20 at the time.
Cosmo Gadabeeti Harry Dean Stanton John Roberts, Jesse James's godfather, and Jack's best friend. His van was used in the kidnapping of Nick Markowitz.
Detective Tom Finnegan Holt McCallany Officer looking for Hollywood; he arrested the crew as well as interviewed witnesses.
Sabrina Charity Shea Kelly Carpenter (given immunity in exchange for testimony), Rugge's girlfriend; 16 at the time.
Alma Amber Heard

Legal issues

During filming, Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Ronald J. Zonen provided copies of many documents on the case and served as an unpaid consultant to the film, citing his desire to have Hollywood captured. Zonen prosecuted Hollywood’s co-defendants and was poised to prosecute Hollywood. After Hollywood was captured in Saquarema, Brazil and subsequently returned to the United States, his defense lawyer claimed there was a conflict of interest, and the California Court of Appeal for the Second District ruled on October 5, 2006 that, based on Zonen's disclosure of the files and consultant service—he should be recused from further involvement in prosecuting Hollywood.[7][8] On December 20, 2006, the California Supreme Court granted review on the case effectively staying the order to recuse Zonen.[9] On May 12, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that Zonen should not be recused.[10] Nonetheless, Zonen was replaced as lead prosecution attorney by Deputy Dist. Atty. Joshua Lynn.

In addition, Hollywood's attorney James Blatt tried to block the release of the movie.[11]

After the delay, Hollywood's trial started May 15, 2009 with the defense's opening statements saying Hollywood was not involved with the murder.[12] In his opening statement, Lynn described Hollywood as "a ruthless coward."[13] On July 8, 2009 he was convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder with special circumstances for which he can face the death penalty.[3]

Reception

Box office

During its opening weekend, Alpha Dog grossed $6,412,775 and was in 7th at the box office.[14] The film closed on February 22, 2007 after grossing $15.2 million domestically, and totaled $32,145,115 worldwide over its six-week release.[1]

Critical response

The film received mixed to positive reviews with a 56% rating on rottentomatoes.com,[15] the consensus being, "a glossy yet unflinching portrait of violent, hedonistic teenagers. Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone chew the scenery, while Justin Timberlake gives a noteworthy performance." Up-and-comer Anton Yelchin is praised as "able to bring all of the conflicting emotions of Zack," and conveying all of it beautifully.[16]

Home media

Alpha Dog was released on DVD on May 1, 2007. It includes a DVD/HD DVD combo package where both forms are included in one box. DVD sales gathered $12,324,535 in revenue from 743,036 units sold.[17] It was released on the Blu-ray format on July 13, 2010.

Susan and Jeff Markowitz's reaction

Susan Markowitz has attempted to commit suicide three times.[18] Jeff Markowitz elaborated, "She is so tortured by what happened that she has tried to take her own life. The last thing that either of us want is to see this picture. How would any loving parent feel about a Hollywood movie that glamorizes their son's death and allows celebrities to cash in on a brutal, evil murder?"[19] Nonetheless, Susan Markowitz attended the film's release and reportedly was moved by Anton Yelchin's portrayal of her son. After the screening she embraced Sharon Stone, who played her in the movie.[18]

Soundtrack

Alpha Dog
Soundtrack by Various Artists
Released January 9, 2007 (2007-01-09)
Genre Rap
Label Milan
Producer Aaron Zigman

A soundtrack for the film was released by Milan Records on January 1, 2007.[20][21]

  1. "Over the Rainbow" performed by Eva Cassidy
  2. "Enemy and I" performed by Lazarus
  3. "Bullet & a Target" performed by Citizen Cope
  4. "Jake Breaks In" performed by Paul Bushnell
  5. "Caribou Lou" performed by Tech N9ne
  6. "Revolving" performed by Paul Bushnell
  7. "Slither" performed by Tech N9ne
  8. "Liar" performed by Miredys Peguero & Paul Graham
  9. "Winner" performed by Paul Bushnell
  10. "Let's Chill" performed by Mic Holden, Maya & Reneé Rogers
  11. "Dragonfly" performed by Miredys Peguero & Paul Bushnell
  12. "LA LA Land" performed by Tech N9ne feat. Gina Cassavetes
  13. "Pool Party" performed by Mic Holden
  14. "Never Give Up" performed by Mic Holden
  15. "At the Site/Driving to the Site" written by Aaron Zigman & Nick Cassavetes
  16. "We Are The Lost" performed by Lawrence Faljean
  17. "Basketball" performed by Lowd
  18. "Cookie Monster" performed by Paul Graham & Paul Bushnell
  19. "Elvis Arrested" written by Aaron Zigman
  20. "Weightlifting" performed by Lowd
  21. "Marco Polo" performed by Lowd & Cassie Simone
  22. "Night and Day" performed by Tech N9ne
  23. "Say goodbye to Hollywood" performed by Eminem

References

  1. ^ a b Alpha Dog at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2009-11-07.
  2. ^ "The real story behind 'Alpha Dog'". MSNBC. 2005. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16636250/page/2/. 
  3. ^ a b "Jesse James Hollywood convicted of murder, kidnapping". Associated Press. July 8, 2009. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hu3iSLsUJxnynwnEm-W3zarIXxXwD99AJQ400. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  4. ^ "Hollywood's Day in Court". The Santa Barbara Independent. May 21, 2009. http://www.independent.com/news/2009/may/21/hollywoods-day-court/. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Longtime fugitive Jesse James Hollywood captured in Brazil". The San Diego Union-Tribune. March 10, 2005. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20050310-1604-ca-jessejameshollywood.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  6. ^ Piccalo, Gina (January 7, 2007). "No Hollywood ending; The true-crime `Alpha Dog' becomes a part of the teen murder case it depicts". Los Angeles Times. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/1190444621.html?dids=1190444621:1190444621&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  7. ^ "Deputy DA removed from Jesse James Hollywood murder case". USA Today. October 5, 2006. http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-10-05-jesse-james-hollywood_x.htm?POE=LIFISVA. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  8. ^ Hollywood v. Superior Court, 143 Cal. App. 4th 858, 49 Cal. Rptr. 3d 598 (2006).
  9. ^ "Jesse James Hollywood appeal turned down by the Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. October 21, 2008. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-scotushollywood21-2008oct21,0,2900953.story. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  10. ^ Hollywood v. Superior Court, ___ Cal.4th ___ (May 12, 2008, S147954).
  11. ^ "DEFENDANT SUES OVER 'ALPHA DOG' JESSE JAMES HOLLYWOOD SEEKS TO STOP PRETRIAL FILM". Los Angeles Daily News. October 28, 2006. http://moreresults.factiva.com/results/index/index.aspx?ref=LAD0000020061031e2as0001i. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  12. ^ Risling, Greg (May 15, 2009). "Jesse James Hollywood called coward at trial". Associated Press. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hu3iSLsUJxnynwnEm-W3zarIXxXwD9870HJG3. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  13. ^ "Kidnap-murder trial opens for Jesse James Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. May 15, 2009. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/05/kidnapmurder-trial-opens-for-jesse-james-hollywood.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  14. ^ Alpha Dog - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  15. ^ Alpha Dog - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ Anton Yelchin Interview - Anton Yelchin on Alpha Dog, the True Story, and Charlie Bartlett
  17. ^ http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2007/ALPHA-DVD.php
  18. ^ a b Gaby Wood, "Shooting stars", The Observer, Sunday 1 April 2007
  19. ^ "'Alpha Dog' Victim's Mother Attempts Suicide". Hollywood.com. 2007-01-07. http://www.hollywood.com/news/Alpha_Dog_Victims_Mother_Attempts_Suicide/3611994. 
  20. ^ Alpha Dog soundtrack information at Milan Records
  21. ^ Alpha Dog soundtrack information at AllMusic

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Alpha Dog is a 2006 crime drama film written and directed by Nick Cassavetes.

Contents

Johnny Truelove

  • You ever have that dream, the one where you did something... you can't know why, but you can never go back?

Frankie Ballenbacher

  • Jesus. First you give me mouth, now you're giving me fucking tears. Do me a favor, Susan: have a period or something.

Jake Mazursky

  • I WILL TAKE YOU DOWN TO HELL WITH ME!

Sonny Truelove

  • [First lines of film] You wanna know what this is all about? You can say its about drugs or guns or disaffected youth, or whatever you like. But this whole thing is about parenting. It's about taking care of your children. You take care of yours, I take care of mine.
  • A drug dealer? No. Did he sell a little weed? Yeah.

Dialogue

Tiko-Come on, Johnny. I can lift that shit in a fucking alley. You don't give me 12 reps, I'm fucking your mom and your girl. Frankie-Oh SHIT. Tell 'em Tiko! Johnny-What did you say? You said you wanted to suck my cock? Tiko-First you got to grow one. Johnny-Man, my dick so big, it has a name.

Johnny-What are you doing Elvis? Is it dark outside? Elvis-What? Johnny-Well I'm paying you for a full day right? Elvis-I've been here since 10:00 this morning. Everyone-Ohhhhh! Johnny-Fuck that shit. I asked you a question. Do you see the fucking moon, Elvis? Frankie-Yeah, it's definetly daylight. Pick-Heh, I'll let you look at my moon. Elvis-Johnny, I did everything that you said. The house is clean. I went to the store. There's beer and food in the fridge. The grass is cut, Adolf's fed. It's all done, man. Johnny-Well, I'd guess you shouldn't finish too fast, huh? Pick laughs Elvis-Shut the fuck up, Pick Johnny-Never mind that Elvis-Shut the fuck up. Johnny-Never mind that. Get back to fucking work. You want shit to do. Go wash the floors, scrub out the toilets, even better yet, pick up all the dog shit in the backyard. And if you finish too fast- Everyone-Dump it out and pick it back up again. Elvis-Shut the fuck up, Pick Frankie-I'll get you a popper-scooper. Pick-Why are you so touchy? Elvis-That's messed, man. Johnny-What? When I am I gonna my money Elvis? When? Elvis-I told you I get my checks on Thursdays. Johnny-Alright, well how much is the check? Elvis-I don't know, it depends on the hours. Johnny-Well, how many hours did you work, bitch? Elvis-I can't- I can't remember. Johnny-Fucking deadbeat, man. Go on, get the fuck outta here. Pick-The walk of shame. The walk of shame, man. Tiko-Heh, what up little, B? Bobby-What up? Tiko-It's Bobby "911".

Bobby-$8500. Johnny-All of it, huh? Suprise. Suprise. Bobby-Yeah. Johnny-So? Bobby-So I got this guy. He wants my five, plus my regular two. So I think I'm gonna need seven. Johnny-I don't know, B. I-I don't like having all that shit out. Bobby-Dude, I'll see my guy on Friday and clear it all out, man. Tiko-He's good for it, Johnny. Bobby-You don't need to tell him I'm good for it, man. I ain't looking for any fucking favors J.T. You do it, you do it, if not, fuck it. Johnny-Alright. We'll try it. Where you going, right? Tiko-That's what I'm talking about. Johnny-But come Friday, I don't want to hear any fucking stories. Bobby-You won't.

Sonny-Nice eye-contact, baby. Nice and easy now. Go grab a bat and I'll throw you a couple. Johnny-Heh Cosmeo-Heh Sonny-What you say, Tarzan? Johnny-I'm gonna need seven. Sonny-Seven. Seven who? Johnny-Bobby "911". Sonny-That's a lot. I don't want to be picked off. johnny-I know. Sonny-You know where've he's been? JohnnyYeah. I mean no, but it feels good. Sonny-Alright. It's on you anyway, right? Johnny-Always is, pop. Cosmeo-Look at this kid. Look how handsome he looks. Are you knocking them dead? Johnny-uh, let go of me. Cosmeo-So are are you doing tonight? Chasing tail? Johnny-Naw. Just chilling. Cosmeo-On a Friday night? Sonny? Sonny-I know. I know. Cosmeo-Don't make me wonder about you kid. You sound like half a fucking fag. Sonny-I always had my suscipions. Johnny-Just make the fucking call. Cosmeo-Wait a minute, now. Remember what I told you. animals are not supposed monolous. It's supposed to spread the seed. Johnny. Yeah, very poetic. Come on. Cosmeo-Angela's a nice girl and all, but you got to plow some fields. Hear me you fucking friutcake. He's a good kid. Sonny-Yeah he is.

Sabrina: So you're like ransom or something.
Julie: That's fucking hot.
Zack: Yeah Its, like, another story to tell my grandchildren.

Frankie: You want a cigarette?
Zack: No, I don't smoke.
Frankie: Fuck that. It's good for you.

Susan: This kid has been kidnapped!
Sabrina: Dude, that's so fucking cool.
Susan: Dude, this shirt is fucking cool. Bob Marley is cool. You guys think that kidnapping is cool?
Sabrina: Yeah Susan its fucking exciting. I think its romantic he's doing it for his brother.

Frankie: I got it under control. Say it: "You, Frankie, have got it under control." Say it.
Susan: You, Frankie, have it under control.
Frankie: Right. Now say: "I, Susan, am a whiny fucking bitch and you, Frankie, have it under control."
Susan: I, Susan, am a whiny fucking bitch and you, Frankie, have it under control.

[Final lines of the film]
Cosmo: I'm telling you, he's lost.
Sonny: I think he's right. I mean, I ain't seen him. He ain't here. He must be lost. Now get the fuck out of my house.

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External links

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