My Dog Skip – Day Seven – #40movies40days

mydogsk2I decided on some lighter fare for my day seven viewing–  A whole week now!  My Dog Skip is based on an autobiographical book by Willie Morris.  Morris grew up in the small town of Yazoo Mississippi in the 1940’s.

He was scrawny boy, shy and small for his age, more interested in reading than playing ball.  It was not a good combination for making friends or being socially accepted in the South.  

When town high school sports hero and kindly next door neighbor, Dink Jenkins (Luke Wilson), enlists in the Army, Willie (Frankie Muniz) is bereft.  His determined charismatic mother (Diane Lane) defies her husband (Kevin Bacon) and buy a dog for the lonely child.

Skip teaches Willie some of life’s greatest lessons: how to be a good friend, how to engage with and be curious about others and the world around us, the power of forgiveness and how to be brave, loyal and true.  He helps Willie make the difficult transitions from childhood to boyhood to manhood with confidence, optimism and joy.  At one point, Willie almost loses Skip in selfish and traumatic incident and that only makes their bond stronger.

ec34x2wjpfcx432xMy Dog Skip is a great family film, which I missed on its initial release.  It is an instant streaming film on Netflix and a worthy addition to your queue.  It reminded me of my own first dog, Penney. She was a darling beagle pup who grew into a faithful companion.  

I too was a shy kid, most comfortable in my room with my nose in a book.  Penney got me outside and like Skip, she attracted other kids. We spent hours teaching her to do tricks and putting her through her paces on elaborate obstacle course I built out of croquet hoops, small garden objects and cardboard boxes. She was ever patient, ever enthusiastic and ever willing to try new things.  Just exactly the way I wanted to be.  I still think about her.

A small note about the author.  Willie Morris was a writer and teacher of writing and had a wide circle of friends, including Yazoo City childhood buddies and well-known writers like James Jones (From Here to Eternity), Winston Groom (Forrest Gump’), William Styron (Sophie’s Choice), John Knowles (A Separate Peace), James Dickey (Deliverance) and Irwin Shaw (Rich Man, Poor Man). Another of his books Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood was made into a TV movie entitled The River Pirates.

My Dog Skip won the Broadcast Film Critics Award for “Best Family Film” for the year 2000, Silver Medal Giffoni Film Festival Award, Best Cast Young Star Awards, Silver Angel Award winner, ArkTrust Genises Award and the Christopher Award for Best Family Film.  It  came in at number 4 of Variety’s “dollar for dollar” most profitable films of the year 2000 and remained in Variety’s Top Ten video sales charts for five months after its video release.

Willie Morris, the book’s author, suffered from a heart attack right after the film was completed in 1999. Morris saw a preliminary screening of the film in New York and praised it as “an absolute classic.” Morris died a couple of days later and never saw the final cut. The film is dedicated to his memory. That sad fact gives the opening an even more poignant tone.  This is wonderful Power of Idealism film dealing with memory, loss and coming of age.
The first few minutes are below:

1 Comment

  1. Reply Elka1732 26th August 2011

    Just added a breed list of small dogs that stay small. I hope it helps thos who want to do more research, as well as inform me if I have forgotten any.

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