SXSW 2019: Who Let The Dogs Out

Who Let The Dogs Out

Who Let The Dogs Out seeks to get to the very bottom of just who was it that wrote the lyrics to the song made famous by The Baha Men.

Had Ben Sisto not happened upon the song’s Wikipedia page, it’s quite possible that this film doesn’t happen.  It’s all because of one name: Keith.  Sisto sees the lack of a last name but only notices that Keith is a hairdresser.  He does what any rational person–if we can call him that–would do.  This would be find out Keith’s name.  Naturally, one thing leads to another.  The next thing we know, Sisto is on a wild goose chase.

Even though there is a lot to take in, it’s still pretty short for such a documentary.  Don’t worry if you find yourself losing track of who did what version and when.  Ben Sisto is sure to repeat it later on when he compares all the versions to each other.  This is for better or worse.

The song was so popular that Seattle Mariners then-promotions director decided to play the song for backup catcher Joe Oliver’s walk-up music.  A few days later, Alex Rodriguez asked that it be his walk-up song.  It was so popular that the team would play it in the locker room.  Moreover, the song soon becomes their anthem for the rest of the 2000 baseball season.

The song went on quite the road before The Baha Men made it popular.  Anthem Douglas is credited with writing the song.  Jonathan King would next cover the song and release it under the name Fat Jakk and his Pack of Pets.  King then tells Steve Greenberg about the song.  Finally, it was directed towards The Baha Men.  But before this?  Well, Ben Sisto takes us on a wild ride.  I stress Sisto rather than filmmaker Brent Hodge because this is very much Sisto’s passion.  Ben Sisto may very well be the most knowledgable person when it comes to “Who Let The Dogs Out?”  He even has a live stage show that he takes on tour under the name of Who Let Who Let The Dogs Out.

Somehow, Sisto’s journey takes up to Dowagiac, Mich.  It turns out that the roots weren’t in a song but rather a chant for a football team in this small Michigan town.  Sisto chats with Coach Bernard Thomas in hopes of finally setting the matter.  Coach Thomas tells Sisto about the football team and their history.  I don’t think anyone could have possibly thought it would have roots in high school football.

It’s funny how some songs really have quite the history!  The documentary is both fascinating and entertaining.  It works the way it does because of Sisto’s live show.  Without the live show, it could still be compelling but wouldn’t quite have the same appeal.

Who Let The Dogs Out offers quite the history behind the song but good luck with getting it out of your head.

DIRECTOR:  Brent Hodge
FEATURING:  Ben Sisto, Isaiah Taylor, The Baha Men, Steve Greenberg, Keith Wainwright, Jonathan King, Anslem Douglas, Gregg Greene, Lita Rosario, Ossie Gurley, Patrick Stephenson, Leroy Williams, Manny Mohr, John Diemer, Joe Gonzalez, Brett Hammock, Mamado, István Fábián, Adrian Michna, John Michael Davis, Bernard Thomas, Christopher Hodshire

Who Let The Dogs Out holds its world premiere during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in the 24 Beats Per Second program. Grade 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.