We don’t want to spark a debate here but dogs are by far the most desirable pets on this planet. They are simple-minded, loyal and obedient beasts (compared to those scheming cats who explicitly expressed their intentions to rule the world). “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” See? Even the known humorist Josh Billings agrees with us.
If you’re that kind of ‘dog person’, you’ll be glad to know that our fluffy friends have long been a favorite subject in cinema. In fact, last August 26, in line with the National Dog Day, Universal Pictures unveiled the first trailer to their newest offering, A Dog’s Purpose. Directed by the Swedish director Lasse Hallström (Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, The Hundred-Foot Journey), the story revolves around a dog who is yet to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners. Damn, those onion-cutting ninjas already had our extinct human tails wagging in excitement. Check out the trailer below:
Now, to give you guys a treat (we’re not playing fetch here), we at F.P.R. compiled a list of our favorite doggy films perfect to binge-watch this rainy season. The films included can be of any genre, but the dogs should be a central part in the story. Hence, cats (whom we’re also fond of but not as much as we do for dogs) are excluded in this list. Give some love to man’s best friend and check the list below!
Amores Perros (2008)
This may not be a child-friendly film to start off but the mention of Academy Award winning director Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu should prick up your ears. His Mexican drama thriller Amorres Perros (Eng. title: Love’s a Bitch) showcases his expansive use of color amidst the gritty reflection of cruelty towards animals. Featuring three stories that all focus on the concept of loyalty (as dogs are most associated by this trait), this value plays a major role among the lives of its characters.
Come to think of it, Bolt could be Disney’s version of The Truman Show. Confined to a Hollywood set in his entire life with no awareness of the real world outside, the titular puppy believes that he is a super-dog with real superpowers just like in his hit TV show. This criminally underrated piece of family entertainment may be overshadowed by some Pixar films, but its solid character development and outstanding voice cast earns Bolt a right to more than a single viewing.
Essentially a reimagination of the classic film Frankenstein, Frankenweenie is a story of a boy who electrifies his beloved dog Sparky back into life with unexpected monstrous consequences. True to the form of Tim Burton version 1.0, this first ever motion-stop film brandishes a noir cinematography, a chilling voice cast, and a social satire doused with odd elements and wicked humor — a bracing reminder that children long to be frightened by cartoons too.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Is there a better film that gives light to the loyalty and devotion of dogs than Hachi? Yet another tearjerker, this film definitely pinches your heart and gives you all the more reason to love not only your dog but also the other ones out there. This film tackles the bond of Hachiko and his owner that transcends through time. This is a simple, yet moving story that will leave you crying in a fetal position.
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Flawed yet endearing, Lady and The Tramp stood against the test of time with flying colors. This animated classic of two worlds-apart dogs helplessly falling in love with each other brims of heartwarming innocence that is lacking of from the romantic films of today. If anything else, we can learn from this infamous Bella Note-spaghetti scene that sharing pasta strands and nudging meatballs using your nose can actually be a form of a romantic gesture.
Marley & Me (2008)
Marley a.k.a. The World’s Worst Dog crashes through screen doors, flings drool everywhere and eats nearly everything his mouth can get around. Just as how Marley refuses to limit his behavior, his love and loyalty for his adopting family knows no boundaries too. Through the years, we see Marley slowly becoming a steadfast nucleus of his family unit. This is the type of dog film that makes you think it’s a comedy for one and a half hour but then you’ll be surprised how it emotionally breaks you apart in its final moments.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
What will happen if a dog tries to adopt a kid? This film gives a new perspective to the human-dog relationship by placing Mr. Peabody as a a parent to Sherman. An animated feature that deals with family, friendship, and even history and time travel, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a fun ride, as it should be. Often looked down by the people in the industry (not so great reviews, guys), this is a great depiction of how humans can learn from dogs and vice versa.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Well, it’s quite obvious by now that Disney scores high in this category. One Hundred and One Dalmatians as one of Disney’s finest “old-school” animation may be minimal in execution but it is highly-distinctive in style. This vintage blends the global issue of animals being hunted for fur to an emotionally engaging story showcasing a force to be reckoned with villain with a strong sense of fashion (Cruella De Vil). Sometimes it pays off if you skip the remake and watch the real deal.
Umberto D. (1952)
In Umberto D., director Vittorio de Sica’s hires a particularly unfazed dog named Flike to accompany non-professional actor Carlo Battisti. Umberto D. Ferrari is a retired government worker who works his way amidst life’s troubles, often with the help of his dog Flike, and a sympathetic maid. When push comes to shove, he contemplates suicide but then when Flike seemingly interferes, we’re left with one of cinema’s most heartbreaking yet endearing endings of all time.
Uh oh. Did we miss your favorite doggy film? Bark them in the comments below!