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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Morbid Marley: A Depressing Dog “Comedy”

pc200004.JPGHave you ever gone to the movies and wanted your money back? This week did it for me.

The family set out to see “Marley and Me”, touted in all of the TV ads as a comedy. You know, the dog tries to escape from the car while it’s moving, the dog eats the necklace, the dog is introduced to the new baby as one not to be confused with a soft chew toy. Funny, feel-good stuff, meant to take a load off our minds.

Forget it. Instead we got a film where there is a long, prolonged death of the dog. He runs off in the rain, lies under a tree, stays by the downstairs fire, cannot make it upstairs to bed. We see him at the vet’s, the decision being made, the sad eyes staring up at us, the last conversation, the injection being given, the burial in the family front yard.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Interspersed with this PG-rated gem (?) were highly inappropriate scenes of the couple copulating, the wife taking off her clothes as a “birthday present” for the husband, and going to a country inn in Ireland for more of the same under bedroom religious paintings and statues of popes, after the couple loses a baby in utero who has no heartbeat. Not to mention the foul language here and there.

Umm, all I wanted was a few laughs.

Do I need to pay for this type of stuff? Don’t you think the average person has enough everyday trouble than to go to what we imagine will be a lighthearted comedy and come out sobbing from a melodrama?

In my opinion, the whole theater was similarly shell-shocked: crying, snorting, and honking into their hankies. The dry popcorn stuck in my throat. My hands went cold and shakey. Most of all, my makeup was destroyed with black mascara running down my cheeks, and raccoon-eyes until I got home. That’s scary enough to cause others to have traffic accidents and then you would have to charge the movie with homicide. Our sons were devastated, particularly the more recent arrival who still struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and grief issues. We, and many others, were absolutely blindsided by this “comedy”.

It was a trick foisted on millions of movie-goers. You pulled the chair out from under us. It had been done to Bambi, Old Yeller, and Babar’s mom, so it must be a working “formula” that would keep us coming back for more. Make us feel the pain and cry our hearts out. Why not just kick us in the shins and pull our pigtails? Then give us a wedgie and tape an “I’m stupid” note to our backs.

If you are a dog lover, you know some of the agony of a dog’s last weeks and months. It’s nothing you really want to relive on the big screen.

The supporting cast was fairly unsupportive: a best friend who was a shmuck, urging the guy to get out of his marriage, while borrowing the friend’s puppy and kids as chick-magnets. The editor seemed like a true mentor and no-nonsense newspaper guy with real life advice and one-liners, but then it was back to more early pregnancy tester sticks in the bathroom, possible spouse regrets, and crying kids. The props of Ralph Lauren-looking children, beautiful-people adults, and nice real estate gave the film some hope before it was dashed on the rocks again. Why not just hand out rocks to hit ourselves in the head and get right to the big, throbbing headache and swollen, red face?

If you’re going to pull these kind of shenanigans of non-truth in advertising (or is that redundant?), then at least give out free passes to a therapist at the conclusion of the movie. It took us a couple of days to get back to “normal”, whatever that may be these days. Everyone was grumpy,out of sorts, sad, and on edge. That’s what I’m looking for in our holidays, comfort and joy!

I believe that funny movies can still be produced. Slapstick, deadpan, screwball, satire, parodies—there are so many types of comedy that would be tailor-made particularly for dogs with a sense of humor. It doesn’t take much. I remember as a child receiving postcards from my grandparents. They were pictures of dogs playing poker, dogs riding a train, and dogs in a ballpark, painted by C. M. Coolidge about 100 years ago. (My childhood was slightly after that, for those trying to do the math without a calculator or obviously, a brain in their body.) I have no idea what struck our funny bone, but we would laugh and laugh over every silly detail. Forget the fact that they were actually advertising cigars-! We knew in our heart of hearts that every dog had a human person deep inside of him, despite what Cesar Millan may coach his pet owners about pack mentalities, and animal versus human behavior.

I appeal to Hollywood to stop with the sad-sack endings that are so prevalent in the family genre. Even children’s movies are rife with orphans and loss, dark dramas that scare the socks off of them, causing nightmares for many days following, much like the Grimm fairy tales did when we were growing up. Perhaps they had to warn our naïve little souls that we’d better watch out for wicked witches or big, bad wolves. Today, kids are not so naïve, as they are happy-go-lucky… and in severe need of a strong shot of depression.

“Here, honey, take your dose of cold medicine. And here’s a happy pill for you: have you ever thought of YOUR DOG DYING?”

There’s nothing wrong with a sad movie, as long as you don’t trick us into thinking it’s going to be something else. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding. I should have read the full reviews and story outlines and discovered that this is not the fun family film that the PR team was pushing. More to the point, it’s probably just a case of my dogs being funnier than your dog.

Misha and Grisha, our black Scotties, have been spotted snapping shut mobile phones whenever I walk by. Rumor has it that they are entertaining film offers about the story of their life, full of belly laughs, wild antics, and loving times. No dying allowed, no crying allowed. I think it will be a blockbuster.

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