Thursday, January 1, 2009

Marley & Me and me

Although I'd read the book--twice, read the reviews which basically panned the movie, scanned the negative blogs and heard from people who couldn't even bring themselves to see the movie because they couldn't stand the idea of watching a badly behaved dog with clueless owners, I still had to go see Marley & Me.

It wasn't because I loved the book. The first time I read it, I thought it was okay, even a bit boring. What was all the fuss? About a year later, I read it again, this time with more interest. I liked the story better the second time, and appreciated Grogan's fine-tuned writing style and humor.

But, my husband and I had to go to the movie because we owned a Yellow Lab, Hudson, who passed away two years ago. And I guess I was hoping that seeing that big oaf of a dog on the big screen would connect with me, would somehow ease the hurt that still lingers after all these years, from losing a dog we loved.

Hudson was not as naughty as Marley, but he was rambunctious, difficult to train, hardheaded and slightly dense at times. He loved to swim, even in the chill of October weather, and although he was a retriever, he was always oblivious to the ducks paddling by. Toward the end, he found it difficult to walk, or get up, or get down. His favorite place to sleep was on my husband's feet, or if my husband wasn't home, Hudson rested his head on Mike's empty shoes.

The movie Marley & Me, unfortunately, did not live up to my hopes, which were very meager to begin with. The puppy Marley was cute, but somehow I never felt the movie gave us a connection with him, at any age. Even the canine actors looked completely different to me. I don't mean the differences from puppy Marley to adult Marley--but even the different scenes of the same age Marley seemed to be played by totally different looking dogs. Although I like Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, they didn't seem to do much besides yell "No Marley" sometimes with a bemused look on their face, and run back and forth across the screen as Marley knocked over lamps/babies/furniture/pedestrians/bistro tables or ate diapers/necklaces/walls.

Slight spoiler alert: if you haven't read the book or seen the movie--and still plan to--don't read this paragraph. I have to admit, there were a few scenes where Mike and I couldn't hold back the tears. But it was not due to the movie plot, which did attempt to jerk every tear out of you it could in one prolonged scene, but because we were thinking about our Hudson. The big, old, yellow dog and, well you know...

Paws for Reflection: We all cried at Old Yeller, too. Right?


  1. I loved the book!As an animal communicator, dog and horse owner/rider, I could relate.
    Don't pay attention to the critics!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Carolyn. Every dog lover should make their own decision, that's for sure. There are definitely parts of the book and movie I could relate to. (And as a writer, I'm discovering it's not as easy as it seems to write about your dogs!) Hey, your photo looks really cool!

  3. Jeniffer Aniston seems to be getting better at giving Brad Pitt a run for his money...

  4. Hi Peg! My friend and I sat down the row from you at the movie and I have to say that you and Mike looked shell-shocked when it ended....That is, from what i could see through my tear-stained, red eyes. I can't say it was a great movie, but I've never cried so hard at any other film.

  5. True,Coffee! Although Benjamin Button is getting pretty good reviews.

  6. Hey M.M., I didn't see you there. Maybe it was because of the teary eyes! I didn't even see you in the ladies room after, where all the ladies were sniffling! It was pretty sad for both of us, thinking of Hudson, because we went through a very similar scene of our own. LOL, I always look a bit glazed at the end of any movie, because Mike has to watch until ALL the credits are done!

  7. Hey Megs!

    Now I'm thinking I will ditch the movie and just read the book--finally. I have a yellow lab, too, named Chase. He is nine now so not a spring chicken anymore. He has the sweetest eyes you've ever seen but we like to say (with affection), "Chase isn't the sharpest tool in the shed." Perhaps an understatement....:)

  8. Yes, Catherine, definitely read the book! I enjoyed it more the second time around. Maybe the first time the hype actually worked to it's disadvantage, causing me to expect something other than what it was--a simple but well-told, funny, sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, story about a dog. Hi to Chase. Labs may not be the brightest, but I know Hudson was one of the sweetest, most loyal dogs in the world. I bet Chase is too!

  9. Jeniffer Aniston seems to be getting better at giving Brad Pitt a run for his money...


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!