July 25, 2010 27 Comments
For those movie lovers familiar with this site, you may have come across the Lily the Pug page at the top of the homepage. When I first began writing this blog 7 months ago, I immediately proclaimed Lily to be the honorary mascot of the Magic Lantern Film Blog. Yes, the pug you see here is my sweet and beautiful Lily who I adopted from Pug Rescue in December 2001. And today, July 25th — Lily turns 10 years old!!! Many nights, Lily is comfortably by my side as I sit and watch my many movies. To commemorate this very special day, I promised our mascot that we would post her Top 5 Movie Dogs of All-Time. It may be somewhat biased, but today is her special day so she can choose any pup she wants to!
LILY’S TOP 5 MOVIE DOGS!
Jerry Lee is a German Shepherd who gets assigned to work with narcotics cop, Mike Dooley (James Belushi) to help nail down a drug kingpin. The movie may not be brilliant, but it’s a lot of fun – especially the scenes between the two “odd couple” partners. Of course Mike can’t stand Jerry Lee at first, but a close bond slowly develops. Lily likes him because he does his own thing and has an exuberant personality all his own. Not only is he a good police dog, but Jerry Lee also gets a lot of action, especially with some cute, high-class poodle (the James Brown “I Feel Good” cranks up when he’s done doing his thang). Most of the laughter from this film comes from these two bouncing off one another and the scene where Jerry Lee is laying in the hospital is very sweet.
Very interesting note – Jerry Lee was played by Koton, an actual Kansas City police dog. Tragically, he was shot and killed apprehending a suspect in the attempted murder of a police officer in 1991 (listed on the IMDb website). Rest in peace, Koton!
#4. Frank the Pug (Men in Black, 1997 & 2002)
Frank the Pug was so good in the first movie, that director Barry Sonnenfeld made sure to give him an even larger role in its sequel. He just has a knack for stealing every scene he is in, which is no easy feat when you are opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. In the film, Frank is actually an extraterrestrial in disguise and acts as an informant for MiB, providing them with information on “the galaxy.” Frank supplies a lot of humor here and has a lot of moxie; Lily likes him for his singing chops — remember him barking to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and singing a few lines of the nauseating “I Will Survive”? In both films, Frank is played by a pug named Mushu. I think Lily voted for him just because he’s a fellow pug, but she swears she was being completely objective on this.
Lily is into the classics too (insisting that Toto is way overrated) and feels there is no Top 5 list without this lovable, unforgettable mutt. Critic Jeff Walls stated, “Old Yeller, like The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, has come to be more than just a movie; it has become a part of our culture” — and this is mainly because of the lasting impact that this Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mix has on us long after the end credits roll. Old Yeller comes to this family uninvited really – and develops such a strong bond with Travis and the rest of his new family. How one can watch this movie and not shed a few tears, I will never know. It remains one of the most popular tear-jerkers in cinematic history and that all stems from the love that Old Yeller has for the Coates family and the love that they in turn have for their dog. A funny coincidence here is that James Belushi in K-9, tries to intimidate Jerry Lee by telling him that when he watched the end of Old Yeller as a boy he “did not cry!” Another tidbit of trivia: the dog who played this timeless pup was named Spike. Great job, Spike! Lily feels the Academy snubbed you bigtime!
#2. The Eight Sled Dogs (Eight Below, 2006)
Based on a true story, a sled dog trainer must leave the polar base in Antarctica and ties his eight dogs up so that they may be rescued in short time. But when the mission is called off, the dogs are left to fend for themselves, fighting the unforgiving Arctic terrain for six months. Though the makers tinkered a bit with actual events (and the fate of some of the real-life dogs), the movie is surely an inspirational and heart-warming one. For the film, two Alaskan Malamutes (Buck and Shadow) were used, as well as six Siberian Huskies (Maya, Max, Truman, Dewey, Shorty and Old Jack). Each actor-dog had stunt dogs that pulled sleds and performed various other stunts. In all, 30 dogs were used to portray the eight characters. A credit to the filmmakers, each seems to have his/her own personality. Poor chubby Lily would never be able to survive in the Arctic for a single day, which makes her admire and respect the heart and perseverance of these eight all the more.
#1. Otis the Pug (The Adventures of Milo & Otis, 1986)
Yes, Lily went with another pug for her #1 slot — a shameless sign of favoritism on her part, if you ask me! But if you have ever seen this adorable little film, you can perhaps understand where she is coming from. Milo is the cute little (and lucky) cat — his bestest friend in all the world is Otis, the adorable pug who looks out for him. From tiny kitten & pup, these two pals grow up together on the same farm and get into all kinds of mischief, mostly because Milo’s curiosity always gets the best of him. One day, the two are separated and the real adventure begins – Otis must go off and find his best friend! To do so, Otis must travel far and bear the merciless weather, as well as fight off a few hungry foes. Narrated quite beautifully by the late Dudley Moore, this is a remarkable tale of loyalty and friendship. Both animals are so very cute and it’s fun to watch the two grow up and have families of their own. This is a wonderful, moving film for both kids and adults. Lily just loves watching Otis — he’s her Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. And he remains her absolute favorite movie dog of all-time…