Our 2017 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival featured more than 60 films that showcased the art, lives and stories of diverse people who have disabilities. One example, Stray Dog, was following a Veterans Brunch tribute. 

Gregory Nelson, a junior at Wright State University majoring in liberal arts, was one of our attendees and wrote this review of the film. 

 

“Stray Dog”

Today on March 11, I saw the movie “Stray Dog” at the Duke Energy Center in downtown Cincinnati. The film is about a Vietnam War veteran (Ron), who goes by the name “Stray Dog”. Stray Dog was produced in a manner where he never spoke to the camera, and neither did anyone else. The camera crew strictly filmed Stray Dog and his interactions with people, in other words, was no acting in this movie. My opinions and thoughts on the movie will be found in the following paragraphs.

The film takes place in 2014 at Ron’s trailer in Missouri. The movie centers on Ron and his wife, and the people that are close to them. This documentary shows how Ron is no ordinary war veteran. Ron is juggling many responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities include paying tribute to those that had lost their lives in all wars fought for the United States, helping those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, give advice to his granddaughters, help his wife reunite with her sons, and run a trailer park. There is a scene where Ron describes himself as not a good person, mainly due to his actions during the Vietnam War that he is ashamed of. He refuses to forgive himself, for he believes that if he does, he is dishonoring his fellow soldiers. Today, Ron gives back to the community in numerous ways. One small example would be how he gave one of the trailer park members a break on his rent. Overall, this documentary shows Ron giving back to the community, even though he has no obligation to do so.

Ron is someone who chooses to live with just the bare necessities. He does not want the finer qualities in life, as he feels that freedom is the greatest quality of life there is. Another aspect of Ron would be how he is acting like a father figure to his wife’s sons who had just moved to Missouri from Mexico, and a father figure to his daughter who is trying to raise her two children. Ron states many times, that without his wife, he would not be able to do what he does on a regular basis because she supports him in every aspect of his life. There are a few examples of when she goes to see her sons in Mexico, and Ron struggles to do basic tasks at home without her.

Ron taking the initiative on his own to go help others, and change who he is as a person, is one aspect I really enjoyed about this documentary. His wife offers to get a job to help pay for her sons living in the trailer park with them. He turns down that offer, stating that having her at home is move important to him and that he can handle the finances on his own. The movie had a ton of different emotional aspects, which kept me entertained throughout. I can say that I have no complaints about this film.

I learned from this movie to have compassion for all veterans, regardless of how you feel about a certain war. When it comes down to it, they are human beings who have challenges like the rest of us.

I would recommend this movie to veterans and active military members. With that being said anyone could benefit from watching this movie. This movie is rated PG-13.

I would give this movie a 9.5 of out 10.

More about Gregory Nelson: Gregory is a junior at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio. He is majoring in liberal arts.  His major hobby is anything sports related. He is a big fan of many Ohio teams including his hometown Cincinnati Bengals and Reds as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers and FC Cincinnati. He is big OSU fan. Gregory has Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder that prevents him from doing the simple things many people take for granted. Despite having very little physical control over his body, with assistance, Gregory has managed to go to school like his siblings and graduated from high school with honors. He was the sports reporter for his middle school and today has a Facebook page where he comments and shares news and facts on many Ohio sports teams.