HOUNDDOG (*) - Starring Dakota Fanning, Piper Laurie, David Morse, Robin Wright Penn, Amefo Omilami, Cody Hanford, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jill Scott.
Directed by Deborah Kampmeier.
This is country-fried Southern Gothic at its Hollywood-vs.-America worst. It's the type of indie that lets talented actors pour on the ham while drawling and swattin' mosquiters. It's the movie that announces that Fanning is growing up, and it does so in a discomfiting, exploitive fashion.
Fanning plays Lewellen, a 12-year-old girl who loves gyrating while singing Elvis tunes. (She breaks into the title song at least ten times throughout the movie.) It's 1956 Alabama, which means the adult folks enjoy their drinkin', clingin' to their guns and religion. It's a juicy role for her, but she's surrounded by cliches. To emphasize her grandmother's God-fearing nutjob, they've given the role to Piper Laurie, who thirty years ago was a God-fearing nutjob who drove her daughter Carrie bonkers. Good thing Lewellen doesn't have telekinesis. Or not, because it would have come in handy when she gets raped. Ick.
I know the King never would have consented to his name and music being used in a story like this were he still alive. This movie needs to be buried and forgotten.