Michael Ward on Friday, May 17
Behold the cinematic TEDtalk you never knew you needed.
Brent Hodge’s amazing rabbit hole documentary about the incessant, ubiquitous party anthem “Who Let the Dogs Out?” maximizes every one of its 60 minutes of run time. Hodge, fascinated by the song and the massive popularity it received for Bahamian vocal group Baha Men in 2000, looked past his hundreds of song-related memorabilia and uncovered a straight-up musical mystery.
In 1999 and 2000, Baha Men’s dancehall track became a massive pop culture event. Although it only peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100, the track showed up in movies, commercials, was used as punchlines for skits and jokes, and became THE go-to sports jam in every major sport in North America.
Hodge’s film resembles something of a power-point presentation, given to an audience in a Seattle club, but also serves as a curious little mystery. Hodge discovers numerous versions of the hook and chorus existed well before the credited writer of the Baha Men song claims to have written the track.
in numerous recordings dating back almost a decade before its pop chart success, we learn “Who Let the Dogs Out?” may have been stolen from countless individuals, which takes Hodge around the world trying to find out just who let those dogs out to start with.
Hodge plays snippets of the various sound-alike tracks, interviews alleged songwriters who claim to have written the song, tries to pin them down to see if they had ever heard of a previous version (not one person admits to it, imagine that…), and even angers a lawyer, who all but threatens legal action if he doesn’t stop pursuing his leads.
One man’s fandom for a novelty record escalates into one of the more surprising and entertaining documentaries of 2019. Slight, again about 60 minutes or so, the film never overstays its welcome but also leaves a few questions unanswered.
At the end of the day, maybe we never were meant to find out who exactly let those dogs out after all.
Who Let The Dogs Out? is playing May 17, May 19, and May 25 as part of the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival.
(Purchase tickets now)