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The Independent Critic

Dane Andrew, Miles Egstad, Rascal and other "ugly" dogs
John T. Beck, Don R. Lewis
59 Mins.
Breaking Glass Pictures (DVD)

  • Outtakes
  • Director's Commentary
  • A short film from Director John Beck and Don R. Lewis "Drag King"
  • SPECIAL BONUS: "Winston Gets A Wheelchair"

 "Worst in Show" Review 
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Each year, the town of Petaluma, California plays host to what may very well be the most unique contest involving man's best friends. While we're all used to dog shows, cat shows and every other kind of show capturing the very best of domesticated animals, this is the contest for the "World's Ugliest Dog."

Co-directed by John Beck and Don R. Lewis, Worst in Show is far more than simply a look at this annual competition and the incredibly unique but, for the most part, incredibly loved dogs who are entered into the competition. Worst in Show not only examines, albeit lightly, our society's obsession with competition and being a winner at something, but it also becomes an almost psychological, and again lighthearted, exploration of the quirky characters who just so happen to own, adopt and even seek out these "ugly" animals.

The film is largely centered around the larger than life character of Dane Andrew and his multi-award winning dog Rascal, a Chinese Crested with a permanently protruding tongue. If you've followed this competition at all, then there's little doubt that at some point you've stumbled across Rascal who, even by this competition's not so lofty standards for physical appearance, is practically the definition of an "ugly," and yes, adorable dog. Andrew is, for lack of a better term, a bit of a media whore when it comes to this competition and the attention it and his dog attracts. Andrew, while bringing quite a bit of attention to the competition, has also made a few enemies along the way including Miles Egstad, owner of 2009 competition winner Pabst, a rescue dog per Egstad's own report.

The film's most touching story may very well be that involving Kathleen, the proud owner of a seemingly unsightful chihuahua who became, if you will, a therapy dog for Kathleen after the suicide of her partner. It is in this scene that Worst in Show transcends its novelty status and becomes an involving and moving documentary.

Worst in Show is now available on home video from Breaking Glass Pictures. For more information, visit the Worst in Show page on the Breaking Glass Pictures website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic