7.6/10
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103 user 50 critic

Lawn Dogs (1997)

R | | Drama | 15 May 1998 (USA)
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When Devon, a 10-year-old girl, forges a friendship with Trent, a 21-year-old outsider who mows the neighborhood lawns, things suddenly get very complicated and private.

Director:

John Duigan

Writer:

Naomi Wallace
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7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mischa Barton ... Devon Stockard
Sam Rockwell ... Trent
Christopher McDonald ... Morton Stockard
Kathleen Quinlan ... Clare Stockard
Miles Meehan Miles Meehan ... Billy
Bruce McGill ... Nash
David Barry Gray ... Brett
Eric Mabius ... Sean Torrance
Angie Harmon ... Pamela 'Pam' Gregory
José Orlando Araque José Orlando Araque ... Salvador the Mailman
Beth Grant ... Trent's Mother
Tom Aldredge ... Jake - Trent's Father
Odin the Dog Odin the Dog ... Tracker
Tafeki the Dog Tafeki the Dog ... Tracker
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Storyline

Newly arrived in an up-market housing development, quiet ten-year-old Devon doesn't quite fit in. Ignoring the urgings of her social-climbing father, Devon chooses the company of Trent, who mows the estate's lawns, rather than of the girls her own age. Their friendship grows during her visits to his trailer home, but although it is completely innocent it is obvious that it would be unacceptable to the residents if they found out. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Innocence is a dangerous friend

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality/nudity, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gyepkutyák See more »

Filming Locations:

Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,859, 17 May 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$106,292, 1 November 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Mischa Barton. See more »

Goofs

Devon refers to Baba Yaga as "he" several times and describes the character as having chicken legs, however, in Russian fairy tales/folklore Baba Yaga is an old woman and gets around by flying in a mortar and pestle, it is her house that runs about on chicken legs. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Devon: Once upon a time, in a far off land, lived a girl and her mother and father. Their village was surrounded by a high wall. Outside the wall was the forest, home of Baba Yaga, the witch. Baba Yaga had iron teeth like three trees. His legs were like chicken legs, and he ate little girls for dinner. But inside the wall we were safe.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is an alternate version where all or most of the profanity has been dubbed over with less extreme words. Also, during the sex scene, Trent and Pam are wearing clothes as opposed to them being nude in the original. See more »

Connections

References Sudden Impact (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Feeling In Love
Written and performed by J.J. Cale
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User Reviews

Moving and involving story of friendship which acts as an ode to the American poor
3 August 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Trent is a young man living in a trailer in a wooded area beyond the suburbs. He makes a living cutting the massive lawns of the populace of a gated suburb village. He befriends a young girl from within the suburb, who herself has some stability issues, despite being only 10 years old. The two build a friendship despite the resentment towards the `white trash' Trent from within the suburb,

I didn't know what this film was about before I sat and watched it, reading the plot summary in the tv guide as the title sequence began, I wondered if I would bother, but I'm glad I did. The film works on several level – the most apparent of which is the simple story of a friendship that is threatened. This part works well as the friendship never seems forced and, although the spectre of sexual tension is there (in Trent occasionally feeling uncomfortable), it is not a strand that is actually part of their relationship.

This all works well due (in most part) to two great performances from Barton and Rockwell. Barton shows amazing maturity and ability to carry the role off without it being like many child stars (where it is clear they are forcing everything). Rockwell meanwhile is a mass of subtleties and little touches that make his character likeable.

However this part wouldn't work as well if it weren't for the wider theme of the trash being poorly treated by the smugger middle classes. This theme creates the reason for the threat to their friendship (more or less) but it also serves as a humbling attack on a class that lives a selfish, scared life behind gates with private security guards. Such places are increasingly common in America and this film is clear as to their effect on both those inside them as well as the wider community of America. Although it keeps a gentle tone for the most, the film depicts those in the suburb as selfish, aloof and fearful. Even more condemning about this depiction is that it never feels like they have been exaggerated or monsterised in any way!

The script is well written and certainly makes the actors jobs a lot easier – certainly Barton benefits from great dialogue and character development. Rockwell meanwhile benefits more from direction as much of his best work is not dialogue based. McDonald, Quinlan and McGill all do solid work in support. The end of the film is a little worrying as it appears to veer off at a tangent, but the final sentiment is beautifully presented and encouraging (albeit due to a child's apparent naivety).

Overall this is a lovely film that I'm very glad I watched. About more than just an adult/child friendship, this film is moving and involving in both it's core plot and it's wider themes.


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