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Dottie Gets Spanked1994

  • 3.9
Another dazzling suburban phantasm from writer/director Todd Haynes, DOTTIE GETS SPANKED (made post-POISON and pre-SAFE) is a stylized, bittersweet nod to his childhood fascination with I LOVE LUCY. Deep in the heart of pre-hippie 1960s America, young artistically-inclined Steven Gale is obsessed with Dottie Frank, wacky star of the eponymous hit sitcom THE DOTTIE SHOW. While his mother gently encourages the boy's fixation, his father grows increasingly frustrated by his son's apparently "sissified" interests. This provocative, heartfelt mini-feature anticipates Haynes' Academy Award®-nominated FAR FROM HEAVEN with its excavation of placid mid-century surfaces and deeply-buried emotions.

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"Anyone who has nursed a childhood obsession with a television program should find a haunting resonance in Todd Haynes's half-hour film, DOTTIE GETS SPANKED." - Stephen Holden, NY Times


3 members like this review

Wow. That was just plain brilliant. This little film had everything. The kid was about as loveable and compelling as any character I’ve ever seen – ever. He absolutely tore my heart out. All of the kids were amazing. All of the acting was just spot-on. It’s a great lesson about knowing too much about our heroes – in a time when we not only obsess over celebrity, but have access to a constant stream of information online and elsewhere that we really – for our own good – shouldn’t consume. It’s the mystery and the imagination that really matter. And the imagination of the filmmakers here is heroic.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (28)

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top reviewer

Wow. That was just plain brilliant. This little film had everything. The kid was about as loveable and compelling as any character I’ve ever seen – ever. He absolutely tore my heart out. All of the kids were amazing. All of the acting was just spot-on. It’s a great lesson about knowing too much about our heroes – in a time when we not only obsess over celebrity, but have access to a constant stream of information online and elsewhere that we really – for our own good – shouldn’t consume. It’s the mystery and the imagination that really matter. And the imagination of the filmmakers here is heroic.

3 members like this review

I'm reminded of the song, "Stuck In The Middle With You", which is where Stevie seems to be in his relationship with himself and with the character, Dottie. Reality bites, though, when he wins a contest and finally meets up with his frenetic, ciggabutt-puffing heroine on the set of his favorite show, only to find out that things are never really as they seem, and people even less so. He never did get what he thought he really wanted. So, like many others, he buries his shame, but always in a place where only he can readily find it. Excellent film.

1 member likes this review

i love all of todd haynes's stuff, and so it was no surprise that i loved this. what was surprising was how straightforwardly moving it was. though subversive in some respects, this is quite a bit less ironic/post-modern than his other stuff. it's a portrait of a kid reaching a point in his childhood where he's learning to feel shame about some elements of himself and his interests. it's very nuanced in lots of weird and exciting ways, but it captures a very general type of alienation that a lot of lgbt/queer kids feel growing up in a heterosexual world. if you're thinking about watching this: watch this.

1 member likes this review
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This may be my favorite short film ever. Very specific in its queerness, but damn near universal in its handling of longing, fantasy, and deferral.

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Mining childhood

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Simply adorable little film! You really find yourself pulling for the little guy. The dream sequences are a bit avant-guard. This is one that i will watch over and over. Touching piece of work.

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odd but sweet & interesting & unusual _strange story but well done a lot of cool imagery 3 1/2

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This film packs a lot into a short duration of time. I enjoyed all the minute details. Brilliant. Well done!

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top reviewer

Excellent short film. Tremendously entertaining and thoughtful; well worth a watch. Well directed and written.

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top reviewer

A little gem about a boy whose art makes him stable and gives him the armor to survive the taunts and giggles of children, and his fathers doubts about his son's artistic nature. It takes us beyond heredity and shows how children have to survive and grow in ways that have a sexual aspect but are related to becoming a person.

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top reviewer

Well-directed Todd Haynes film, produced by Christine Vachon about six-year old "artistic" (read Gay)boy's obsession with I LOVE LUCY-style show's star. If you were taunted and/or bullied for being LGBT or genderqueer/gender inappropriate this film will touch a familiar, painful chord.

Todd Haynes' first effort was a short about a little boy and his obsession with a wiry-wigged soap diva, his social isolation and the parents that just don't get it. Lots to admire, and very memorable scenes.

Writer/Director Todd Haynes brilliant mini masterpiece is so full of it! With the "it" I refer to being subtle ingenious devices. One could easily teach a number of different film courses from this potent little vignette.

The young girls in the school bus talk with Valley Girl accents. Big anachronism there.

With this mornings NY Times mention of this film on the release of Safe on Blu Ray, I watched it again. I recall seeing it years ago, but after teaching about Superstar many times, it takes on a new brilliance. The collision of a media and fantasy with a child's need for escape, bourgeoning sexual identity ('my mom says you're a feminino' ) and coming of age is touching and beautifully meshed. The fantasy sequences and 'taboo' lite elements push it even further. I especially love the DeChirico landscape (one of my one childhood favorite/nightmare pictures). The boy buries his secret, but it is his own private treasure and will resurface because he already has an artists sensibility. The analogy to Haynes creative life is logical. Shot by Maryse Alberti, who has done so many amazing films, this is a mini-masterpiece.

Brilliant!

anachronistically cheesy, bad acting, but great theatrical dream sequences

a piece of mastery - watch, repeat.

Good stuff. Ended a little abruptly. But it was an acceptable ending. Enjoy the movie.

Really liked it. Great acting but found it very confusing especially the ending.

Touching, emotive suburban cinematography

Many will probably relate to this film. Sad, funny, and sometimes very touching.

exactly the sort of reality that i was originally born into. lol.

Interesting, sad, and occasionally funny.

Very interesting short movie.

Emotionally 100% on the money, but Haynes is so great, who would be surprised?

Interesting, but disturbing film.

I enjoyed watching it

Deeply moving and disturbing film tracing a young boys fascination with a "family" show (e.., I Love Lucy), in the 50's, his ostracism by both schoolmates (girls) and his father which forebodes the bullying and rejection he may face as he grows and matures. Presages possibility he will be member of LGBT community in adulthood - but road to whatever choice he makes is foreshadowed to show the rejections and confusions he will face as he moves ahead.