Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Oh My Disney!

I took the Which Disney Princess Are You? quiz on Oh My Disney. Watch to find out which Disney Princess I'm most like and if I agree with the results: 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Jean Therapy

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Director: Ken Kwapis
Cast: America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, Bradley Whitford,
Released: June 1, 2005

I have never read the book this movie is based on, but I would be curious to check it out (literally as I would most likely get it from the library) as I am not beneath reading young adult fiction. Maybe on my next trip to the library I will get it, though that will be awhile as I currently have seven books checked out.

This movie is about four high school-aged friends who will be spending their summer apart and they stay connected with each other through a pair of jeans that just happens to fit all of them perfectly. The four friends are Carmen (a pre-Ugly Betty America Ferrera) who seems to be the main character as she narrates the film (though they really all pretty much share equal screen time); Bridget (a pre-Gossip Girl Blake Lively) who is sporty, outgoing, boy crazy, and seems to be the leader of the group as she is the oldest (only by a week, though, we'll find out); Tibby (a currently on Joan of Arcadia at the time (this was the only show from the four main actresses that I never watched) Amber Tamblyn) who, despite being sullen and sarcastic most of the times, has a good heart; and Lena (a currently on Gilmore Girls at the time Alexis Bledel) who is the quiet and sensitive one of the group and likes to sketch.

We learn that the four girls have been friends since birth because all their mothers met in a pre-natal aerobics class (I know; I'm rolling my eyes too) and they were all born within the same week. I know, it's absolutely absurd. The way they "met" is way too cutesy. Why couldn't they just have met in middle school and still be friends as sophomores/juniors in high school? There, it's simple and not overly ridiculous. I assume the book goes into more detail about their friendship when they were younger, but the movie just sort of skims over important details that happened before their summer of separation (not that I'm complaining or anything; if anything, I appreciate it!) like Carmen's dad leaving his family and Bridget's mom dying.

During that summer, Carmen will be visiting her dad in Charleston, South Carolina (I've been there!); Lean will be visiting her grandparents in Greece (I have not been there!); Bridget will be attending soccer camp in Baja, Mexico (never been there either!); and Tibby will be staying put in their hometown of Bethesda, Maryland (I've been to many places in Maryland including Baltimore and Annapolis, but I have never been to Bethesda). where she works at Wall-Mans, an obvious knock-off of Wal-Mart.

The girls are in a boutique the day before they are to go to their separate ways and find a seemingly normal pair of jeans which Carmen encourages Tibby to try on. When she does, Lena gushes how great they look on her (seriously, they're just a pair of jeans, I have never in my life seen anyone get so excited over a pair of jeans) and Tibby tells her to try on the jeans since she loves them so much. Even though Lena prefers skirts or linen pants to jeans, she does and they fit her perfectly too. Now these two girls are pretty much built the same, so it's not really a huge stretch that the jeans would fit both of them. Then Bridget, who is easily two to three inches taller than everyone else decides to try on the pants, and, guess what? They fit her like a glove! Please! Those pants should have looked like capris on her! The girls are all amazed by this and persuade the curvaceous Carmen to try them on, and, of course she's skeptical, but even though she does have a bit of trouble getting into the at first, they fit her perfectly as well. Yes, you could say this movie has a touch of magical realism to it. The girls take this as a sign and buy the pants which they decide they will all share during the summer, with each one having a week to "own" the pants before they ship it to the next girl. They make rules up rules such as they aren't allowed to wash the pants (as they believe that will make it lose its magical powers) and you aren't allowed to wear a shirt tucked into the jeans (who even wears their shirts tucked into their jeans? Reveal yourselves!) The last rule is pants = love. Love your sisters, love yourself. Awww.  They decide that Lena will be the first to be in possession of the jeans since she will be the furthest away.

I think we can all agree that Alexis Bledel got the best storyline of the movie as she got to film in the beautiful Greek isles (can you imagine if that was actually all filmed on a Hollywood sound stage with backdrops?) and gets the best wardrobe with these beautiful linen tops and pants and skirts and dresses. One day, while she is sketching (and wearing the jeans) on a dock, she sees a cute boy on a boat and to get a better look, tips the chair she's sitting in until she falls into the water and the pants catch on a chain and she is unable to free herself. Hmm, those pants might not be so lucky after all! Fortunately, the cute boy saw what happened and dives in to rescue her. On second thought, maybe those are lucky pants; that is sure one way to get a boy's attention! Lena finds out his name is Kostas and he is fluent in English because he lived in Chicago with his parents until he was 12, then moved back to Greece to live with his grandparents when his parents died in a car accident. He is here to help them out during the summer, but attends the university in Athens. When Lena reveals to her grandmother about the boy she met, her grandmother is furious, telling her she must not engage in any socializing with him as their family and the boy's family are in some feud over money or something. Apparently one's grandfather sold the other's grandfather fish that made his restaurant patrons sick. We have a little bit of the Montagues and Capulets going on here. Of course this is very old-fashioned thinking and the grandmother is being quite ridiculous as this so-called feud goes back decades and neither Lena nor Kostas have anything to do with it (since it began even before they were born!)  They begin to see each other in secret until her grandmother finds out and makes a big fuss over it, but then her husband, Lena's grandfather, makes her come to her senses and they allow Lena to see Kostas even though this will be just a summer fling as they live on two different continents.

Since Lena likes to sketch, she ends up sketching Kostas and one of the sketches is of him laying in her bed with his shirt off (but he has pants on). Ooh! Scandalous! Nevertheless, I still wouldn't want my grandmother finding that which is what happens to Lena. Seeing those sketches reminded me of that scene in Titanic. ("Lena, I want you to draw me like one of your Greek boys.")

Bridget probably has my least favorite storyline. She is disappointed the soccer camp she is going to is an all-girls camp, but luckily for her she finds a college-aged coach she starts flirting with. First of all, this guy isn't that cute. I mean, he's okay looking if you like bland, but he's no Ryan Reynolds. And second of all, why did they cast someone who looks like he could play Blake Lively's older brother as they both share the same sun-kissed flowing blond hair? She seems to go after him because he's the only guy (within her age) around and she reeks of desperation as she tries to get his attention. But since she looks like Blake Lively, he is into her and they have sex (off screen and he did try to hold back for as long as he could because he knew it was wrong for coaches to hook up with the players!) and she feels like she may have made a mistake, but then he apologizes to her and tells her that they can still be friends and that she should give him a shot when she's 20. Ugh. We learn that Bridget has this reckless behavior because her mother committed suicide. Why did she kill herself? I'm not sure, but I assume we learn why in the book. Is there such a thing as suicide shaming? Because they totally shamed this woman for committing suicide. The priest at her funeral says, "It only makes her choice that much more unfathomable. What measure of despair compels one to commit such an act?" Well, obviously she needed help and was unable to get said help.

Speaking of death, Tibby meets a twelve-year-old girl named Bailey who has leukemia. She first comes in contact with her when she finds the girl has become unconscious at the drug store she works  at and an ambulance picks her up. She later properly meets her when Bailey comes to her house with the pants. They were accidentally sent to her house because they live in the same neighborhood and have similar house numbers, so the pants bring them together as Bailey will later point out. Tibby doesn't find out she has leukemia until Bailey's neighbor tells her. When she starts treating her differently (i.e. more nicer) Bailey knows she knows because she used to treat her like an annoying kid sister. Tibby is working on a documentary which Bailey helps her with as her assistant. This has to be the most boring documentary ever because it's about working at the drugstore. But, spoiler alert, it will end up being something completely different.

I always assumed it was Stranger Things that brought the '80s video game Dragon's Lair back into the pop culture conscience, but this movie actually has a scene of a kid playing it (at a gas station, no less) and Bailey thinks he would make a good subject for Tibby's film.

Of course, Bailey dies (off screen) and it is a very sad scene when Tibby goes to visit her in the hospital for the last time. She brings the pair of jeans because she believes their power will help her get better, but Bailey tells her the pants already did their magic which was they brought them together.

Carmen's dad (played by Bradley Whitford) drops a bombshell on her when he introduces her to Lydia (Nancy Travis), the woman he is to marry and her two (very blond!) kids, Paul and Krista. Carmen is hurt that her dad never told her about his upcoming nuptials or the fact that he was engaged to someone. She feels like he loves his new family more than he loves her and feels very left out. It's very weird how he met his future new wife: apparently he called the wrong number (hers) and ended up asking her out. I mean, who does this? Not Josh Lyman! Josh Lyman would never do that!

Just a small note: I have been to Charleston in the summer and you do not want to wear jeans in Charleston in the summer! Way too humid for denim!

She ends up going back home early, not intending to attend the wedding. She does eventually call her dad and pours her heart out to him, telling him she's angry with him for not telling her about his new family and how she feels like an outsider. It's a very heartbreaking scene. America Ferrera and Amber Tamblyn definitely get the heavy-hitting storylines. So does Blake Lively, I guess, with her dead mom storyline.

When Carmen, Bridget, and Tibby pick Lena up from the airport, the girls have a surprise for Carmen which is that they're driving to Charleston to attend her dad's wedding. Carmen protests, saying she has nothing to wear and ends up wearing the magical jeans. In the end, her dad will stop the wedding before it even starts when he sees Carmen sitting in the audience and tells his new wife that there's a member of their family that should be up there with them.

The worst thing about this movie is easily the music. Oh my God, the music is horrible. Music from the mid 2000s was just the worst, especially from 2003-2006. Now to be fair, the only song I recognized from this movie was the super popular "Unwritten" from Natasha Bedingfield, which I admit, is a catchy tune, but it is also the theme song to the sucky show on MTV with Lauren Conrad. (The Hills?) So therefore, it sucks by that association. "Pocketful of Sunshine" is a much better song, anyway. The other songs I didn't know but they were SOOOOOOOOO bad. There were a lot of sappy stupid songs that played, like when Lena and Kostas kiss for the first time. My eyes nearly got stuck in the back of my head.

I guess all four actresses are still friends in real life which is super cute and there's going to be a third movie. The second movie came out in 2008, so it's been over a decade since they made a movie. Here's a photo of them that was taken last year, I believe:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Toy Story Thoughts

As you know, Toy Story 4 is coming out this summer. It's probably my most anticipated summer movie. I recently re-watched the first three films and would like to share some observations and thoughts I had. Now I already reviewed these films back in 2010 (click the Pixar label to find it), so think of this as a little bonus!

1. Sid: Psychopath in the making or misunderstood kid? Of all the humans in the Toy Story universe, I find Sid the most interesting. There are some concerning things about him such as he loves blowing up his toys (he even has a sticker on his bedroom wall that says "I 🖤 explosives") and his door has about seven deadbolts. Seriously, where are his parents and why aren't they checking his room (probably because there's seven deadbolts!) or the boxes of explosives he's ordering? Are they even aware that he's ordering explosives? The only parental figure we see in that household is the father (I assume it's the dad; you only see the socked feet of someone on a recliner) who seems to be passed out. I heard a really grim theory that the father is an alcoholic who beats Sid which would explain his morbid fascination of being cruel to his toys and why he has so many deadbolts on his door...to keep out his abusive dad. However, being that this is a family friendly Disney/Pixar movie, I doubt that's the case. In any case, his parents are not being very parental as they seem to let him skateboard by himself at night to Pizza Planet and back home. I wasn't aware that Sid is supposed to be the garbage man  in Toy Story 3; I guess the telltale sign is that he's wearing a shirt with skulls and crossbones, much like the shirt he wears when he's a kid. For someone who had to go through the horror of seeing his toys come alive, he sure seems like a well-adjusted young man.

2. That claw has some mighty powers. Indeed, in Toy Story 3, we will find out that the claw does have some mighty powers as it will save our toy heroes, but I'm sorry, there's no way in hell that a claw in a toy machine could grasp the slippery plastic helmet of a Buzz Lightyear toy. No way in hell! It would have slipped right off. Not buying it! Maybe Sid is just good at controlling the claw; he did manage to get an alien before he grabbed Buzz and Woody. When I played the claw machine as a kid, I was lucky if I barely grasped a little stuffed animal. Those things were the best way to lose money, but there was something so enticing about them.

3. Why is Andy not the least bit suspicious? We know that Andy has been looking for Woody and Buzz for about twenty-four hours and we know that he's looked everywhere. I'm pretty sure that includes the box that is sitting next to him in the car when he makes the move with his mom and sister. As we all know, Woody and Buzz fall into the box ((a, they're lucky the sky roof was open) and (b, how did Andy not hear two large thumps or see two of his toys fall from the sky?)) and that is how Andy just suddenly discovers them. He just accepts that they were there the whole time when he's been looking everywhere for them. If I were him, while I would be happy that I found my two favorite toys, I would be asking myself such questions as, "How did these toys get here?" and "I checked everywhere a million times and suddenly they're in this box right next to me? What's going on here?" It would just drive me absolutely crazy. If there isn't a logical explanation to why something isn't working or if something isn't adding up, I drive myself mad trying to figure out why.

4. Emily is Andy's mom? This is a theory that's floating around the web. As you may recall in that super sad scene from Toy Story 2, Emily was Jessie's owner who loved her doll and had a lot of fun adventures with her, until she started to grow up and forgot about poor Jessie who was collecting dust under Emily's bed for years before Emily eventually donated her (and some other stuff from her childhood that she didn't want/need anymore). Cue tears. There are some good reasons why this is a theory: the time period lines up, Andy's mom would have been the same age we see Emily as a teenager; Emily is wearing a hat very similar to the one Andy wears. While this is a fun theory, I don't think it's true because it's way too convenient. Also, wouldn't we have known? Wouldn't Andy's mom tell her son that she had a Jessie doll when she was younger? Wouldn't Jessie have recognized her pervious owner?

5. I don't like the bloopers at the end of Toy Story 2. When I saw the movie the first four or five times, yes, I did enjoy the bloopers and thought they were quite funny, but now I don't like them because they don't make any sense. The characters of the toys are acting like they're making a movie and they're actors, not toys who actually belong to Andy. If that's the case, then what's the point of these movies? They should have done what they do at the end of Toy Story 3 did where you see a little montage of what's happening with the toys at Bonnie's house or you see what's up with Barbie and Ken at Sunnyside Day Care. I think it would have been fun to see Stinky Pete with his new owner, the "artistic" Amy and we could have seen Andy playing with his new toys.

6. Big Baby is creepier than any of the disfigured toys Sid had. Enough said.

7. Does Lotso deserve all that hate? Hearing Lotso Bear's backstory is pretty heartbreaking. To remind you, he belonged to a little girl named Daisy, who, while one day at the park, left him along with Big Baby and Chuckles the Clown. (Chuckles the Clown was also creepy...what is up with this little girl and her creepy toys? Though I will admit Big Baby wasn't creepy here). Daisy falls asleep and her parents pick her up to put her in the car. You think they would see her toys too, but nope, they just leave them. They eventually find their way back to her house, Homeward Bound-style, but by then Lotso discovers he has been replaced when he sees Daisy with another Lotso Bear. They eventually make their way to Sunnyside Daycare where Lotso becomes a dictator deciding where toys are going to go. When all the toys are in the landfill and about to heads towards certain death, Woody does the right thing and saves Lotso when they're about to go through the shredder, but when Lotso climbs a ladder to a button that will stop the incinerator, he doesn't push it and just leaves the other toys to burn. So yes, Lotso deserves all the hate. Lotso is a piece of sh*t. Who happens to smell like strawberries.

8. I love the callbacks. Of course in the first movie, we have Woody telling Buzz, "You are a toy!" and Buzz will reiterate that point to Woody in the second movie. There are several little callbacks in the movies, but my favorite is probably The Claw. ("The Claaaawwww!") Of course a huge claw would rescue the toys right before they're about to go into the incinerator. If they didn't worship The Claw before, they certainly do now!

9. What happened to Bo Peep? I guess we will find out in Toy Story 4! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Looking Back at Tragedy

We Are Columbine
Director: Laura Farber
Released: various dates in 2018 at different film festivals

The twentieth anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings was not that long ago (how is that possible? It seems like the ten year anniversary was only last year!) and I found this documentary on Hulu. The director is a former student of Columbine and she graduated in 2002, so, if you do the math, she was a freshman when the murders occurred. She interviews four of her former class of '02 classmates (two boys and two girls), a teacher who started his first year at Columbine as a freshman English teacher during the '98/'99 school year (yikes!), but is still teaching there, and Frank DeAngelis, who was the principal from 1996 to a few years ago when he retired.

So before you're wondering if any of the former students interviewed were in the library where ten of the thirteen murders and the two suicides occurred, no, they were not. Three of them were in their classes and one of them was in the cafeteria. The girl who was in the cafeteria tells the director it's very hard telling her memories of this horrific event, but she's only doing it because the director is her friend (she was also eating lunch with her that day) and she knows what she went through that day. As far as I know, she (or anyone else interviewed) didn't see anyone get killed in front of them, but if she has a difficult time talking about this, then there's no way someone who was in the library would want to relive their memories. I'm not saying that they had it "easier" because they're weren't at Ground Zero, because if I put myself in their shoes, where, if I was a freshman at my high school and two seniors brought guns to school and killed twelve students and one teacher before offing themselves, yeah, I would be pretty shook up and freaked out too. I'm surprised they returned to their school to finish their next three years of high school, because, honestly, I don't know if I would be able to do that. One girl said she knows where all the exits are anywhere she goes in case of something like that happening again and that any loud noises like fireworks or a balloon popping makes her anxious. I would also imagine a fire alarm going off also puts them all on edge since one was going off that day. I've never been in a situation like that and fire alarms make me anxious; I can only imagine what it does to them! 

The four former students go through their memories of that day. The girl who was in the cafeteria says she heard loud shots and thought it was a senior prank and then a teacher told everyone to get under the table, which she did with the other students she was sitting with. They later ran to a nearby house where the man who lived there called the police. She would later find out that one of the two duffel bags with a bomb inside was placed under the table she hid under...yikes! But luckily it didn't detonate. If you didn't know, this wasn't supposed to be just a school shooting: it was supposed to be a bombing that would rival Oklahoma City. Their plan was to "top" McVeigh and kill as many students and faculty members and then each one would be in a different parking lot with their guns and shoot any survivors streaming out of the doors, then they planned to kill any media and police that would make their way to the school. Yeah, their plan went a bit differently... In fact, DeAngelis points that out, saying they could have lost hundreds of people that day and that's how he knows there's a God. 

One of the former students who was in a locked classroom talks about how they were in there for hours (three or four, maybe by that time) before the police came in and told them to put their arms locked behind their heads and run out of the school. Unfortunately the police came right at the time he said he and a few of the other boys in the class had to use the bathroom so they got a trashcan to urinate in and right when he was about to go (in as much privacy the corner of the room could offer him), that's when they barged in. Understandably, that's the only humorous part of the film. He also says when they were locked in the classroom, he heard keys rattling in the door and a teacher came in without his shirt on, covered in blood, and rummaged through the cabinets before running out again. I have to wonder if he was helping the teacher who was shot and would eventually die? Or a student who was wounded when they got shot? We don't really find out what that was about.

The title of the movie comes from their rally cry which was created in 1989 by a coach. One of the interviewees said he thought that had transpired after the shootings, which, I can't blame him, as it has more of a poignancy. Before the shootings it jut sounds like an obvious statement. Also, he probably doesn't remember anything from his only normal year of high school, plus, as he adds, he was probably getting stoned somewhere!

Another former students says when he was running outside and a policeman told them to get away from the school, he had asked him if they had to return to class later that afternoon. He says now he realizes how ridiculous that was, but in that moment it was just a confusing and surreal moment. 

I never really though about it before, but the Columbine class of '02 had it pretty rough. They had one normal year of school before everything turned to hell and during their next three years, security was heightened to the max. That school probably became the safest school in America, ironically. They had all these security measures that was super frustrating for them. Think of the airports after 9/11. Remember how people used to be so lax about airport security? DeAngelis says that he knew the students hated the ridiculous security measurements, but the parents insisted on them. They also talk about how the media would always be harassing them for interviews and how tour buses would pull up to their school with tourists. Look, it's one thing if a couple of young idiots drive there in their own cars if they're into ghoulish things, but a tour bus? Someone is making money off of this? Ick. One of the girls was on the track team and volleyball team and when she would wear her uniform people at the other schools she was competing at would ask her if she was there THAT day. I won't lie; if I ever met someone that attended Columbine, I would probably think, Oh, they go to THAT school. (Why I would ever be conversing with a teenager from Littleton is beyond me, though!) 

As one of the girls says, "It's not a normal experience". Despite this, all four former students (who are in their mid-30s) have normal and stable lives. A couple of them are in steady relationships and they all went on to have some sort of career. One became a teacher at Columbine and he says he's one of five teachers there now who were students on the day of the shootings. Another became a social worker, another one is in the medical field, and one became a recording artist. One of these things is not like the other! Would it surprise you if I told you the stoner kid became the recording artist?

In this hour and a half documentary, there's probably really only about twenty minutes of interesting information. I find that even if you had never heard of this massacre, you really wouldn't be surprised by what the former students were saying. It's really more about their experience that day (though they don't really go that much into depth about it) and then how the rest of their high school career was like living after tragedy. If you are interested in the Columbine school shootings in much more detail, I would recommend two books. The first is called Columbine by the Denver-based journalist Dave Cullen. It's probably the most well known account of the shootings and goes into a lot of detail before, during, and after the tragedy. It's vey disturbing, insightful, fascinating, and while I was reading it, I would go, "What?...What?....WHAT??" Because there were a lot of things that shocked me; either things I didn't know or had forgotten or vaguely remembered. If you're into true crime stories, it's worth checking out. The other book is A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy and it's by Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters. Her story about what happened that day is much more interesting and devastating than any of the class of '02 graduates who were interviewed. The parents of the shooters went through absolute hell and she talks about what it was like. She's only started sharing her story within the last few years and the book is really quite interesting. Not surprisingly, she is an advocate for parents checking their kids' bedrooms. I think it's a terrible idea for parents to snoop through their teenagers' stuff, but of all people, I can understand why she would insist parents to do that. It's probably never a bad idea to check under your kids' beds or in their closest just to make sure they're not hiding any guns or bombs. Both of those books made me cry while reading them; this documentary really didn't evoke any emotion from me. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Doggone It

Director: Brian Levant
Cast: Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Dean Jones, Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt, David Duchonvy, Patricia Heaton, Nicholle Tom, Christopher Castile, Sarah Rose Karr
Released: April 3, 1992

When you hear the name "Beethoven" and think of a St. Bernard before the dead classical composer, then you might be a child of the early '90s. I remember seeing this in theaters...I think my dad took my brother and me. Seeing it again in a very long time, I forgot how dark (especially for a kids' film!) it is! I remembered there's a bad guy and that Charles Grodin, who was the only one in the family who doesn't care for the dog, saves Beethoven from said bad guy. However, I didn't remember that the bad guy was going to flat out MURDER the dog; my memory was foggy and I thought he was either dognapping or at the worst, going to injure Beethoven. When I realized what the bad guy's motives were, I was like, Holy crap, THIS is in a kids' film??? But we'll get to that later. This movie gets SUPER DARK, y'all!

But first...let's start with something everyone loves....PUPPIES! We first meet our dog hero (whose name isn't Beethoven just yet) as a puppy in a pet store. Oh. My. God. HE IS SO FRICKIN' CUTE!!!!  Cuuuuute! Suuuuuper Cuuuuuuuute! I want a St. Bernard puppy! They're so adorable! I mean, what is wrong with Charles Grodin? How could he not want this dog? But before the dog meets his new family, he is first dognapped by two bumbling minions (Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci) who are working for the bad guy who wants them to bring him puppies. Two dogs manage to escape: the St. Bernard puppy and a Jack Russell terrier. The bad guys chase them, both dogs get away and go their separate ways. The next morning the St. Bernard follows Charles Grodin into his home as he's getting the newspaper and he's so preoccupied looking at it, that he doesn't even notice the puppy. His wife (Bonnie Hunt) and two oldest children don't notice the dog either, but when he hops into the youngest daughter's bed, she hugs the puppy and when her mom and siblings see her, she exclaims, "Look! I dreamt I had a puppy and it came true!"

Bonnie Hunt and the three Newton kids (who include 13-year-old Ryce (Nicholle Tom aka the oldest kid on The Nanny); 10/11-year-old Ted (Christopher Castile aka Suzanne Somer's son on Step by Step); and 4/5-year old Emily (Sarah Rose Karr), want to keep the puppy, but Charles Grodin isn't too keen on the idea, but finally gives in when they tell him it will teach them responsibility. He tells them they're only keeping the dog until they can find the owner (good luck with that, Charle Grodin!)

The Newtons are trying to come up with a name for the newest addition of their family and nobody can agree with anything. Ryce wants to name the dog MC Hammer (terrible) and Ted wants to name him Ultimate Warrior (stupid). Finally, when Emily plays a few chords of Beethoven's (the composer!) Symphony Number 5, the puppy barks along to it. You know, the one that goes da-da-da-da! I'll sing my cat's name to those notes when I talk to him, "Mi-mi-mi-lo!" They take that as a sign and the puppy is christened "Beethoven".

Oh, hell no! 
I have to wonder, though, if the name "Beethoven" was chosen for the dog because of the song, "Roll Over, Beethoven", which will be played in a montage scene. I can see it now in the pitch meeting: they already have the idea for the movie, they just don't know what to name the dog. Someone says, Hey, you know that Chuck Berry song, "Roll Over, Beethoven?" Well, dogs roll over so let's call the dog Beethoven and we can use that song in a montage!" I bet you exactly that's how it happened! Of course during the montage (where we see Beethoven grow from a puppy to a full grown adult), we see the kids having fun with the dog while Charles Grodin is cleaning up after him. There's a funny scene where he's just come in from the rain and there are muddy paw prints on the front and back of his clothes. The montage ends with an extremely muddy and wet Beethoven (btw, not a cute look for any dog!) on the master bed and when Charles Grodin comes in and shouts "YOU!", Beethoven gets up and in slow motion we see him shake all the water, mud, and dog drool all over the place. It's really gross. I would have been so mad! Speaking of dog drool, my memory of it is that there was a lot more, but they really only show it a couple times during the montage. Maybe I was thinking of Turner and Hooch; doesn't that dog drool an excessive amount? (I just looked back at my review for that movie and just answered my own question! Yes, that dog drools a lot).

Beethoven sleeps in his doghouse which is inside its own little fenced in area in the backyard. However, he has dug a hole (which is super obvious, but yet nobody knows about it) and when the kids are at school, he meanders through town, getting treats and pats from the local people. You can tell this is an everyday occurrence because everybody seems to be expecting him. Beethoven gets a treat at a bakery and we see him bring it to a back alley where he gives it to the Jack Russell Terrier who had escaped from the dognappers with him and is now making his life on the streets as a homeless dog. I was super impressed they got a dog to carry a treat in his mouth without eating it! Beethoven visits a park where he shares an ice cream cone with a little girl. It's super gross; he slobbers all over it and she willingly puts it in her mouth!

Beethoven is a super smart dog. He seems to understand the English language (and more than just "Sit!" or "Stay!") and we will see this throughout a few times. One of the first times is when he comes to meet Ryce at the end of school (who doesn't seem at all surprised to see her dog, so this must be a regular thing too) and when she starts telling him about Mark, the boy she likes, and how he likes this other girl who's super popular, Beethoven grabs a stick and walks over to Mark and brings him over to Ryce. Ryce is ecstatic that he knows her name (of course he does; your name is Ryce! Who would forget a name like that) and exclaims quite loudly, TWICE, "He knows my name!" Honey, why don't you at least wait until he's out of earshot? Oh, here's the best part: this so-called "most popular girl in school" was wearing a completely dorky outfit: a pink sweatshirt with white hearts on the bottom and pink jeans with blue, purple, and white flowers. Even I wouldn't be caught dead in this atrocious outfit in the early '90s. (Although I'm sure I wore some pretty terrible stuff!)

Charles Grodin is in the air freshener business and he has a snooty married couple (played by a pre-Everybody Loves Raymond Patricia Heaton and a pre-The X-Files David Duchovny) who want to invest in his firm and who are trying to swindle him. When Charles Grodin invites them over to a barbecue at his house to sign the papers, we learn about this when the Newtons are out of earshot and the couple are talking, but luckily Beethoven is in the yard and he hears every word...and seems to understand what they're saying! He's on a long leash to roam around in the backyard and winds it around the table the snooty couple are sitting at. When Charles Grodin throws a ball for him to chase so he'll leave them alone, he ends up taking the table and the two chairs the couple are sitting at with him and they fly over the fence when Beethoven jumps over it. It is absolutely ridiculous, but maybe not as ridiculous as another scene where Beethoven sneaks into the house one night and gets in the bed before Charles Grodin gets back in after investigating things. What Charles Grodin doesn't know is that his wife is in the bathroom, so when Beethoven starts licking his ear, he thinks it's her. Okay, seriously, how do you confuse your wife with your dog??? Dogs tongues are absolutely disgusting...you can tell a dog's tongue from a human tongue.  And there are other ways you can tell. He dismisses the smell by thinking it's him since he spends so much time around Beethoven cleaning up after him. Yes, very stupid scene and seemed highly inappropriate for a kids' movie!

Bonnie Hunt is going back to work and has the kids go to an older woman's house in their neighborhood even though Ryce is old enough to watch after her younger siblings. The woman likes to sing showtunes and while she and the two older kids are inside doing their homework, little Emily is outside playing with a bouncy ball by the pool. The camera ligers on the pool for a second so you know something is going to happen, like, I don't know, the little girl is going to fall in it! Well, guess what? She does! She screams for help and Beethoven saves her. I was confused by the geographic layout of where they were. At first I though their backyard faced the baby-sitter's backyard and that's how Beethoven saw her, but that doesn't seem to be the case as he runs along a sidewalk, then jumps over a few fences. He must have really good hearing. After he brings Emily to the pool steps, she tells him he needs to go home since he might get in trouble for leaving the yard. As far as I know, she will never tell anyone that if it hadn't been for Beethoven, she may have drowned. Remember that. I thought it was a bit unbelievable that her siblings didn't notice their little sister thrashing around in the pool. Yes, I know the piano was (supposedly) drowning (haha, unintended pun!) out her screams, but they were right in front of the glass door and while they weren't looking outside directly, there is something called peripheral vision and they would have definitely noticed! In fact, Ryce only has to tilt her head a fraction when she notices Emily sitting on the pool steps after Beethoven has rescued her. (I guess they thought she managed to swim to the steps). Needless to say, the woman is fired.

I haven't even touched on the bad guy yet! So the bad guy (Dean Jones) is...get this...a VET. Not just any vet, but Beethoven's vet. He is in cahoots with a gun manufacture who wants him to acquire a dog with a large skull (like a St. Bernard) and SHOOT IT IN THE HEAD to see "how messy it is". WHAT. THE. F**K!!!! What kind of sick bulls*** is this? This is in a kids' movie?!? Wow, good thing I didn't remember this or maybe it just went right over my head, cuz this movie should have traumatized me as a kid! This seems vey extreme...why can't they just shoot a watermelon to see how much of a mess the bullet makes? Why do they even need to know "how messy it is"? After Beethoven has a routine checkup with Dr. Evil Vet, he wants to keep the dog overnight for "observations", but the kids say no, that he'll be too scared. He does put a seed in Charles Grodin's head that St. Bernards can be dangerous dogs and to watch him closely. Here's what I don't understand about Dr. Evil Vet: did he become a vet after he went into this shady business? He is being paid (seemingly) lots of money to murder dogs, but why would you go through veterinary school for all of that? Was he already a vet when he was approached with this offer and because he is so greedy, he has no qualms about murdering one (or more!) of his client's pets? I'm very confused...and troubled about this whole thing. I was listening to a podcast about this movie and the hosts were saying this should have been a test for vets to see if their license should be renewed or not. The gun would be a blank and if you actually went through with it and shot at the dog, you would be dismissed as a vet! Might I add, that they should also be sent to jail for attempted murder!

Dr. Evil Vet pays Beethoven a "home visit" telling Bonnie Hunt that he just wants to check on their dog to see if everything is okay. I would be highly suspicious because there is no reason for a vet to pay a home visit, especially if there is nothing wrong with the animal, as in their case, but she just lets him into the yard. Nobody is paying any attention except for Emily who is playing upstairs in her room. (With a stuffed St. Bernard animal! It is so cute! Ryce is a bit of a traitor as she has a poster of a dalmatian in her room. ) The Evil Vet puts fake blood on his arm. I don't think Emily saw that part, but she defintely saw the moment when he hits Beethoven (obviously filmed in a way where the dog isn't actually hit). He eggs Beethoven on to attack him and when he does, the Evil Vet calls for help and everyone comes running out. Emily tells her parents that she saw him hit their dog, but Evil Vet dismisses her by saying of course she would want to defend her dog. He tells the Newton parents that they must surrender their dog and he must be put down at once! While they're not happy with this news, they do what the man says without any questions. At this point I'm thinking, why isn't Emily telling them that Beethoven saved her life? Also, don't they think it's a little weird that they've never once had a problem with their dog, but all of a sudden this vet makes an unannounced house call to "check on their dog" and allegedly gets attacked by him while unsupervised? Also, why aren't they listening to their own daughter? Bonnie Hunt will bring this up to her husband after they've surrendered Beethoven. I understand if you think your dog is dangerous, you definitely don't want him around your children, but I think they should have gotten a second opinion! I thought it was a little weird that they didn't put a muzzle on Beethoven when Charles Grodin drives him to the vet to be put down. At this point, they think he's just attacked their vet, so if you think he's dangerous, why are you just letting him ride in the backseat of your car? Charles Grodin does seem genuinely upset that he has to put down the family pet. The receptionist tells him that they won't put down the dog until the next day, so he will have to pay for an overnight stay. There is a bit of a humorous moment in this depressing scene where all the dogs in the waiting room look down at the floor when Charles Grodin walks past them as if they know why he's there. When he returns home, his kids won't look or talk to him except Emily who calls him a "Dog killer!"

Bonnie Hunt tells him that she thinks they were too rash and they should go and talk to the vet. The kids, who were eavesdropping, tell them they're going too. When they get to the home of Dr. Evil Vet (how did they even know where he lives?), they see he has no fake bandage on his arm like he was wearing when Beethoven was taken to the vet earlier that day and there are no bite marks on his arm. The vet tells him it's too late; that the dog has already been put down, but Charles Grodin knows it's a lie and they follow him to his lab. Charles Grodin climbs up to the roof with a glass ceiling and right when the evil vet is pointing the gun at Beethoven, he jumps through the glass and right on top of Dr. Evil Vet. He's about to shoot the gun at Charles Grodin, but the Jack Russell Terrier (who was caught earlier in the movie) saves the day by running up and biting Evil Vet in the groin. And if you think that's the worst thing that happens to him, think again! The kids are still in the car, waiting for their mom who is calling the police. When they hear gunshots, Ted drives the car through the wall and hits a table that sends fifteen syringes filled with god-knows-what flying and they all land in the chest of Dr. Evil Vet, who somehow manages to survive this. I don't think so. However, the evil vet's minions are still loose and all the caught dogs (who are freed by the kids) run after them. We're supposed to think the dogs are menacing and are out for vengeance, but in reality these are cute and friendly dogs who just want to play. I laughed so hard when they run through an outdoor market and a bunch of cabbages roll out on the sidewalk and one of the dogs is running with a cabbage in his mouth! You can tell he just wants to play!

Beethoven is reunited with his family and at the end of the movie we see he is sleeping at the foot of the Newton parents' bed. The camera pans down and we see the Jack Russell Terrier that they've named Sparky. (If I had a dog, I would totally name it that). So I'm thinking, that's cute, they gave a new home to Beethoven's friend. But then the camera pulls down even further and we see that they have brought home ALL of the dogs. I think it's safe to say they brought them to the Humane Society the next day. They also probably double checked the credentials for Beethoven's new vet!