One sentence review: Old Dogs plods on and, therefore, was aptly titled.
I scrubbed my brain of that movie by watching Up without really picking up on the canine tie-in until it was over. Which got me thinking about all of the awesome dogs out there that could have done as good a job as Up in repairing the reputation of pop culture pooches.
1. Gromit, Wallace & Gromit
Not only is he Wallace’s best friend, he’s likely the smartest fictional dog to ever be created (Brian Griffin might have some well articulated words to say on the matter, I’m sure). Despite being clearly craftier than his owner, he’s loyal enough to follow him into any fray (even if that takes him all the way to the moon for some cheese) and he always has his back.
2. Dug, Up
Disney has brought us tons of lovable dogs: Old Yeller, The Ugly Dachshund, Duke & Turk (Swiss Family Robinson), Copper (Fox and the Hound), Pongo & Perdita (and their 101 progeny), Lady and the Tramp, Oliver and Company, and most recently Bolt. And while all of Muntz’s dogs were cute and Alpha was admirably evil, Dug was the top dog of this Pixar powerhouse. He had the most quotable lines, and defined exactly what it is to be a perfect dog. “I have just met you, and I love you.”
3. Verdell, As Good As It Gets
Much like Dug, this pocket-sized puppy brought an old OCDog (as it were) back to life with just a few strips of bacon. That’s love.
4. Samantha, I Am Legend
She was the best and only friend a person could have in a post vampire/humanoid pandemic ridden Manhattan. Her final scene is possibly the saddest animal death in the history of cinema. Seriously, Old Yeller has nothing on Sam.
5. Hooch, Turner & Hooch
A better, goopier, more destructive dog/partner has never existed–He’s like the lovable Cujo (see below). Well, Beethoven was a close second, but second nonetheless. Bonus: the Hooch puppies at the end of the movie! (Another thing Hooch perfected before Beethoven was a twinkle in the unimaginative eye of the Beethoven creators).
6. Cujo, Cujo
Speaking of Beethoven, he gets one-up’d again on this list by a far greater (and tougher) St. Bernard. I feel for Cujo, it wasn’t his fault that stupid bat bit him on the nose and turned him cuckoo-nutty. He might have become a killer, but after car camping with Tad the wonder whiner, wouldn’t you want that sweet puppy to put you out of your misery?
7. Digby, Pushing Daisies
Poor Digby. He gets hit by a car in the first few minutes of the pilot of Pushing Daisies only to be brought back from the dead by his loving master, Ned…only to realize that his loving master can never touch him again, because it would result in his death. He makes the most out of his new lease on life, and learns to enjoy being pet by Ned via homemade contraptions (like a mannequin hand on a stick). There are plenty of tv dogs out there from Odie to Scooby to Snoopy to Santa’s Little Helper, but none of them are as endearing as Digby. (Well, maybe Odie…putting up with that moody Garfield and manic depressive Jon Arbuckle.)
8. Hubert, Best in Show
All he wanted to do was road trip with his BFF, the delightfully dim Harlen Pepper, and put a hurtin’ on them yankee dogs. How could Hubert lose out to Winkie?! He can say ‘macadamia nut!’
9. Baxter, Anchorman
He speaks Spanish, he is a bear ambassador, and he is a survivor above all else. Death by punting? Not for this jammie wearing fella. Life without Baxter might send me into a glass case of emotion, too.
10. The not actually dog dogs:
- Chewbacca, a Solo man’s best friend
- Stitch, an Earthling’s best fr…well he got his act together eventually
- Indiana Jones, Sean Connery’s best friend
- Falkor, the next best thing to Artax in Neverending Story (bonus: dragon dog?! Woo)
A special shout out to the matchmaking dogs, Bart and Hank of Kate & Leopold and The Truth About Cats and Dogs, respectively. Because who wouldn’t thank their pooch for setting them up with Liev Schreiber, Hugh Jackman, or Ben Chaplin?
Being a Rottweiler owner, I have to also give a ‘holla’ to the vampire rotties in Blade Trinity, the killer rotties of The Dark Knight, Leslie the gay rottie in Legally Blonde 2, the dumb rottie in Over the Hedge, the protective rottie in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the robot rottie in Rottweiler, and the stoned rotties in Without a Paddle.