Films about dogs for adults
August 26, 2009 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find more films like Marley and Me--i.e. films about dogs, but made for adults.

For the purpose of this search, Marley and Me is the ideal film as it contains

1. A dog (first seen as a puppy) no bigger than a lab, and does not exhibit human-levels of IQ--nor cause anything beyond normal, realistic dog-related mayhem and

2. A plot/script aimed at adults, with children either absent or almost inconsequential.

I'd like to find more films like this.

I would like to avoid what are most definitely children's films, the kind that parents simply endure while the kids laugh. The sort where the precocious child or children "save the day" and the adults are all incompetent imbeciles, only present to be on the receiving end of tedious slapstick. "Home Alone plus a dog" type films.

In between these 2 extremes are films with children and dogs, but without imbecilic adults, dogs that are extra-brainy and "save the day" (or go on "an incredible journey"), dogs that talk, and people resurrected as dogs. I'm not looking for films with a premise like these, unless you think they're especially good. Or films that seem to promise lots of onscreen dogs but don't deliver (does Must Love Dogs actually have lots of dogs onscreen?)

K9 is a borderline case, but Turner and Hooch is not (Hooch is too big and slobbery). The Truth About Cats and Dogs would be ok if it had two or three times as much screen-time for the dogs.

The Year of the Dog looks like it fits the bill, and so does My Dog Skip and Dog Park. The Shiloh trilogy looks like an acceptable borderline case. Old Yeller is, of course, already on the list.

So....what are some other good films about dogs that are made for adults instead of children?
posted by K.P. to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
In between these 2 extremes are films with children and dogs, but without imbecilic adults, dogs that are extra-brainy and "save the day" (or go on "an incredible journey")

Even though you say you don't want to see movies with dogs who go on "an incredible journey", the original 1963 film by that name, is actually pretty good and doesn't feature talking animals, unlike the 1993 remake.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:45 AM on August 26, 2009

Best in Show.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:02 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

Maybe Bombòn el Perro? (Spanish trailer.)
posted by permafrost at 12:04 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

A Dog of Flanders
posted by invisible ink at 12:07 PM on August 26, 2009

White Fang
posted by invisible ink at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2009

Eight Below
posted by invisible ink at 12:13 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

They will tell you that Babe is a kid's movie, but it most certainly is not just that - laden with adult-friendly metaphor and imagery. And I've never seen more expressive dogs in any film, ever.
posted by jbickers at 12:14 PM on August 26, 2009

Cats and Dogs (not The Truth about Cats and Dogs). Very funny for adults.
posted by bunny hugger at 12:15 PM on August 26, 2009

seconding Eight Below. though it's a Disney movie, i didn't find it juvenile.
as a dog lover, i highly recommend it.
posted by gursky at 12:16 PM on August 26, 2009

Amores Perros
Wendy and Lucy

And though its kid's movie, The Journey of Natty Gann.
posted by susanvance at 12:19 PM on August 26, 2009

We Think the World of You.
posted by brujita at 12:49 PM on August 26, 2009

I know that it has many of the qualities you don't want, but I think you might like this one...

Fluke is ostensibly a children's film about a man who dies in a car crash and is reincarnated as a dog. As a dog, he starts to dream about his prior life in bits and pieces, remembering the people he left behind when he died. It's wildly depressing.
posted by aiko at 12:52 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

What about Disney's The Ugly Dachshund? It's more of a light-hearted comedy, but dogs are very prominently featured. There's a bit of high-IQ present, but it's not to the levels you've described as turn-offs, and the dogs for the most part act like you'd expect. I'll admit that I'm a bit biased with this suggestion because of great danes.

I'll second Amores Perros, as I feel it is a good film, but it is less about dogs and more about "people with dogs." That is, dogs are the plot devices, and as such have a lot of screen time, but I felt the message (for lack of a better term) of the movie had less to do with them than with their owners. Still, might be what you want!
posted by CancerMan at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2009

Seconding Babe, and ESPECIALLY the sequel Babe: Pig in the City. People will tell you they're for kids, but if every kids' movie was that good, I'd watch a lot more kids' movies.
posted by nushustu at 1:35 PM on August 26, 2009

Not only is Babe a great movie about dogs, but dogs love to watch it! My dog sat upright on the sofa during the entire movie, leaning forward and growling during the tense parts, leaping back in alarm at the alarming parts, and never took her eyes off the screen the whole time. I know some people will be sure I'm exaggerating, but I swear I'm not!
posted by HotToddy at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hachi or the original Hachiko.
posted by Kloryne at 1:53 PM on August 26, 2009

road side romeo - bollywood movie
posted by tvjoshi at 2:05 PM on August 26, 2009

The Will Smith character in I Am Legend has a faithful German Shepherd companion, Samantha.
posted by ceri richard at 2:45 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

El Niño Pez was one of my favorite films from last year--not sure how far out of South America it's gotten distribution yet. The dog's presence is absolutely crucial to the plot, but isn't the subject, and it's pretty hard to watch some of the dog-related plot points, but I found it the most satisfying manipulate-me-with-animals films. (Then you look at the novel and it's even better--told from the dog's point of view!). It's a pretty arty film about sexuality, nationality and class, but the dog rocks.
Come to think of it, though the films couldn't be more different, the emotional feeling about the animal isn't far from that in I Am Legend. Hmmm.
posted by Mngo at 4:11 PM on August 26, 2009

If you can wait, Edgar Sawtelle could be amazing; the book was the best dog story I've ever read (Hamlet with half the cast played by dogs).
posted by spasm at 4:11 PM on August 26, 2009

Seconding I Am Legend.
posted by B-squared at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2009

dances with wolves
posted by swbarrett at 8:11 PM on August 26, 2009

I second Best in Show. It's hilarious and definitely not aimed at children.
posted by k. at 8:24 PM on August 26, 2009

Quill. It meets all your criteria.
posted by birdsquared at 10:12 PM on August 26, 2009

about an old man and his dog, umberto d.
posted by hereticfig at 1:50 AM on August 27, 2009

Thanks everyone. Lots of great answers here. I'll be looking into pretty much all of them (at least the ones available on DVD or coming soon) and try to remember to mark best answers later. Except Hachi, which looks like exactly what I had in mind. Thanks!
posted by K.P. at 5:15 AM on August 28, 2009

« Older Good beach vacation for early October?   |   None of this really bothered me until they set out... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.