Alpha Dog | EW.com

Movies

(Alpha Dog: Darren Michaels)

Alpha Dog boasts plenty of hip-hop, herb smoking, and handsome young faces, not the least of which is pop superstar Justin Timberlake at his most jovial. At first look, it could be the latest entry from the folks who brought you American Pie or Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle — were it not for the fact that the film is based on true events that led to the murder of a teenage boy. ”My intention was to make a movie where it seemed like a party that, after a while, you really wanted to get out of,” says the director, who drew his plot from the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Nick Markowitz, 15, in 2000. Cassavetes was so intrigued by the story of Jesse James Hollywood, the suspected real-life drug dealer who allegedly ordered the execution, that he set out to re-create all the beats that built up to the tragedy — even at the risk of glorifying Hollywood’s pseudo-gangsta exploits. ”I hope I didn’t do that, but I believe it’s fair to say that these kids probably had some good times before things went bad.” (April)