Who doesn’t love dog movies? I, this is who. OK, not all dog films, but many get thumbs down right away. “Is the dog dying?” is usually my first question. People in one form or another in a crisis? Yes, I feel a range of emotions. But the dog? Why?! I seldom feel like a hard, ugly and bitter cry. (Emphasis on “ugly”.)
But enough of my ultra-modern anthropomorphism. What movies would dogs see? Your first question would be: “Does the person die?” “Is there free treatment involved?” “Is someone being neutered?” “What about the cat?”
Here’s just a fraction of the dog-centric movies that are both paw up and paw down.
1. Buddy movie
American Bulldog Chance, Golden Retriever Shadow, and the worried cat Sassy all tell a story of growing fear to people who see Homeward Bound, but our pets likely see it as an exciting, “We can do this!” a fun adventure shared by three friends.
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2. Revenge film F
Why can life be so senselessly cruel? (Spoiler alert, and you’ll need this one.) Kill the dog his recently deceased wife gave him? Dogs (and their people!) Watching everywhere want revenge. You want action. They want John Wick to get these fools and pay them for what they did to this pup. No prisoners.
3. All feelings
Dogs would probably like A Dog’s Purpose, Marley & Me and something like our Steel Magnolias, Beaches or My Girl. Relentless tearmakers should remove the deepest worries. The worst? Where the Red Fern grows, where the Redbone Coonhound siblings Old Dan and Little Ann don’t just die, one of them is mauled by a mountain lion and the other dies of something equally bad: a broken heart.
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4. Animated splashes, chills, romance!
Unrequited love! Jealousy! Adventure! A gang of canal residents led by a psychotic rabbit! A sausage factory sequence! This film has it all – and everyone is alive! However, dogs watching The Secret Life of Pets are likely to share lots of laughs and moments of wellbeing while providing comments to the canine audience about the veracity of pet life, much like Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Other popular animated films are of course One Hundred and One Dalmatians, where Primadonna Cruella has hers, Pongo and Perdita save their children and 84 other cuties and the new songwriter Roger buys a “Dalmatian plantation” in the country.
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Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and a handful of the best comedies plus dogs ?! Give me the popcorn, Stat! Best in Show is a collapse of tangible tension, mounting excitement, and fierce competition as hundreds prepare to face one of the greatest events of their lives: the Mayflower Dog Show. What follows? Uninterrupted serenity.
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I Am Legend paints a horrific, heartbreaking picture:
People: “Oh no! Sam was bitten by an infected zombie dog! “
Dogs: “Oh no! Neville is in danger! Sam will save him! “
Both: “Oh no! Sam was bitten and succumbs to the zombie virus! “
What’s next is a heartbreaking scene that both dog and human wish they couldn’t see and forget. Cujo is not much better: man’s best friend becomes his worst enemy. Nobody wants to see that either. Ever.
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7. Buddy crime
With a common goofball star like Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch, a dog would think he had a lot to do on his back and stomach exposed laugh, right? There is plenty of it everywhere, but then – bam! – this dog-sacrifice-self-for-human genre flick hits people and dogs in the heart. We don’t want a puppy that looks like Hooch! We do, but we also want Hooch! Dogs everywhere agree. Especially mastiffs of Bordeaux.
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8. Vintage drama
Lassie Come Home, Old Yeller, White Fang and Call of the Wild are films for canine purists who love straightforward, classic stories about loyalty, the pull of nature, overcoming great obstacles and the personal search for identity. For serious dogs only. Like German Shepherds.
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9. Science fiction / adventure
On the Isle of Dogs, when all the dogs from Megasaki City are banished to a giant garbage dump island, a young boy sets off alone in a miniature prop plane and flies across the river in search of his dog spots. With the support of a pack of newly found mongrel friends voiced by an almost perfect cast, he begins an epic journey that (spoiler alert!) It is precious, meticulously detailed and wonderfully expressionless. The “Treatometer”, not to be confused with the “Tomatometer” from Rotten Tomatoes, gives it five stars!