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Eleanor Ringel Cater

“Cowboys & Aliens” lives up to its name — dog and all

By Eleanor Ringel Cater

Come on now, just what is one to expect from a movie called “Cowboys & Aliens?”

Cowboys. Check

Aliens. Check

A dusty western town with an apocalyptic name like Absolution. Check.

An alien probe. Check

Well, filmmaker Jon Favreau (“Iron Man” and “Swingers”) has provided all of the above. And I happily stayed until the very end of the movie, watching Harrison Ford do a Gruff Old Harrison Ford, as a crusty rancher, and Daniel Crag as a kind of Young Harrison Ford as a cowboy who’s been, well, for lack pf a better word, probed.

Favreau goes for iconic over smart and if you like any of the things on the above chck list, chances are you’ll have a pretty good time at “Cowboys & Aliens.” Just put Clint Eastwood and John Ford out of your head..

Waayy out.

Oh, and I’ve got a little bet going on with Larry Larsen who talks with me about movies every Friday on WMLB at around 9 am. There’s a very noticeable dog in the picture. and both of us are still puzzled as to why the dog was there (It gets plenty of close-ups).

To save Craig’s Steve McQueen look-alike?

To save Harrison’s “half-breed” son?

To turn into an alien a la the sled dog in John Carpenter’s version of “The Thing?”

We couldn’t figure it out, so if you can, please leave me a comment below, and then I’ll tell Jeff Davis and WMLB.

Eleanor Ringel

Eleanor Ringel, Movie Critic, was the film critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years. She was nominated multiple times for a Pulitzer Prize. She won the Best of Cox Critic, IMAGE Film & Video and Women In Film awards. An Atlanta native, she graduated from Westminster and Brown University. She was the critic on WXIA’s Noonday, a member of Entertainment Weekly's Critics Grid and wrote TV Guide’s movie/DVD. She is member of the National Society of Film Critics and currently talks about movies on WMLB and writes the Time Out column for the Atlanta Business Chronicle.



  1. MahatmaCoy October 14, 2011 8:27 am

    Who (what) better than a dog to observe man’s peculiarities, from (b)anal probing to film making, than a dog. Jon Favreau’s nod to Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain”Report

  2. John V Langston February 19, 2021 5:48 pm

    The dog is the unnamed STARReport

  3. Michael Foxworthy April 29, 2021 10:55 pm

    My theory: the dog screen-time- love is because that is Harrison Ford’s personal dog and BFF.
    Fast-forward 6 years from the 2011 cowboys and aliens film and there is what looks-like the same dog, …aged 6 years,…playing Harrison Fords BFF again in Blade Runner 2047(2017).


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