Buddy Movies

Buddy Movies: Introduction

Posted by on Dec 21, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 10 comments

Buddy Movies: Introduction

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – C.G. Jung The boy-and-his-dog is a popular standard in Hollywood’s career of children’s movies. It’s a simple formula of combining one cute subject, a child, with yet another cute subject, an animal. I much prefer to call them buddy films to avoid over-generalizing, but I digress. It’s a simple formula of combining one cute subject, a child, with yet another cute...

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The Black Stallion (1980)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

The Black Stallion (1980)

Disclaimer: No violence, no swearing, and no nudity, just a boy and his wild horse. Viewers and critics will not be able to avoid mentioning National Velvet and The Black Stallion in the same sentence. If you ask me, it’s a warranted but unfair comparison as one could just as easily compare it to Titanic, Cast Away, or Seabiscuit. While National Velvet is the stereotypical girl-and-her-horse movie with a blend of underdog-sports plot, The Black Stallion offers a rich, one-of-a-kind aural and...

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Old Yeller (1957)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Old Yeller (1957)

Disclaimer: Its famously depressing conclusion has been known to make the toughest souls on the planet weep like infants. There’s some racism as well.   Even if you haven’t seen the infamous conclusion of this classic Disney flick, chances are you know what happens. If by chance you’ve been cut off from civilization for half a century, then perhaps you should skip down to the next paragraph. Perhaps you know the conclusion because Phoebe’s mother on Friends stopped the movie short so she’d...

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The Jungle Book (1967)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

The Jungle Book (1967)

Disclaimer: May mislead children into thinking bears, wolves, and panthers are friendly. Unfortunately most people know The Jungle Book for being the last film overseen by Walt Disney as he died early in its production. Along with his death came skepticism about the future of the studio’s animation department, but the exuberant flick did so well at the box office that animation secured its position at the Disney studio. This adaptation is one of at least a dozen in existence, and unlike most...

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Ratatouille (2007)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Ratatouille (2007)

Disclaimer: Some drunkenness, but otherwise quite nutritious. Ratatouille is quite possibly the strangest boy-and-his-pet story ever told, as it couples two species that have been sworn enemies for centuries. But this Brad Bird-written and co-directed feature may also be the most insightful, refreshing, and believable treatment of the sub-genre that filmmakers typically reduce to a long-overused formula. The Pixar flick follows Remy (Patton Oswalt), a rat who lives with his thousand-member...

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Disclaimer: A 13-year-old is involved in brutal hunting scenes, some sexual innuendo, and illegal activities—but it’s all really heartwarming. You might know Taika Waititi from What We Do in the Shadows, Flight of the Conchords, or Eagle vs Shark. His comedy is understated, clever, and the timing is spot-on. There’s rarely a pause before his punchlines; instead, they usually come as a surprise and hang for a slight moment. A perfect example is his lone scene in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, where...

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Kes (1969)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Kes (1969)

Disclaimer: Some crude language, violence, and a naked boy. Like the film’s young protagonist, Kes is a film that nearly no one thought would succeed. Even in its home country (England), distributors feared the authentic Yorkshire accents would turn viewers away. So when I say that America passed on screenings almost entirely – despite garnering its share of awards at film festivals – it shouldn’t be a surprise. And even today, unless you’re blessed with an excellent local library, Kes is...

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Fly Away Home (1996)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Fly Away Home (1996)

Disclaimer: One or two instances of swearing. Fly Away Home completes a man-and-nature trilogy for director Carroll Ballard that wonderfully began with The Black Stallion and continued with Never Cry Wolf. Just as before, Ballard brought on cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (actress Zooey Deschanel’s father). Deschanel’s visionary work earned him an Oscar nomination, but no statue – just like the four nominations that preceded it. Together they handle this movie with a determination to avoid...

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The Yearling (1946)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

The Yearling (1946)

Disclaimer: A little bit country, and quite a bit melodrama. The Yearling is a truly beautiful film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, noted for its Technicolor beauty and empathetic story about the hardships on the Baxter farm. Though lesser known than Old Yeller or Bambi, The Yearling is more affecting than both films combined (ironically closer in that respect to The Deer Hunter) as all of the lead character’s friends perish, except for his father (who...

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National Velvet (1944)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

National Velvet (1944)

Disclaimer: Some mild sexism and a dangerously cute Elizabeth Taylor. National Velvet is known for being two things: the quintessential girl-and-her-horse movie and the film that launched Elizabeth Taylor’s career. While it’s set up like a love story (girl falls for beautiful horse), National Velvet is more concerned with hope and pursuing a dream no matter the cost. As the film unravels, we follow a jaded jockey named Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney), who is traveling the English countryside looking...

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White Fang (1991)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

White Fang (1991)

Disclaimer: Some scary animal attacks and dog fighting. White Fang is my first clear memory of an experience that made me realize the power of cinema. I was eight and my brother six when we watched this Disney release with our parents and baby sister. Before that moment, I’d only accrued memories of my own reactions to movies and how they affected me (probably how much they made me laugh or want to be an action hero). But when I saw tears pouring down my brother’s face at the conclusion – a...

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Free Willy (1993)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Free Willy (1993)

Disclaimer: Though empowered, the stereotypical Indian character is a bit – oh, what’s the best way to describe it? ah yes – horrible. The very moment the title appears on the screen, thereby ruining a dramatic plot twist at the end, Free Willy sets the tone for a predictable and sentimental boy-and-his-dog story. However one of the few breaks from conventional stories of this kind, the inclusion of a killer whale instead of a dog, proved so successful that moviegoers caught a phone number for...

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Buddy Movies: Other Recommended Titles

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Buddy Movies: Other Recommended Titles

Born Free (1966): This woman-and-her-lion story based on the true story of Joy Adamson is mostly known for its original song, but led to two sequels, two TV series, a made-for-TV movie, and made activists out of its stars. Ernest & Celestine (2012):  The wonderful French-Belgian collaboration, based on the book series by Gabrielle Vincent, is the most comforting, heartwarming animated film of the past decade. The style recalls a Little Golden Book, with thin and wavy penciled lines and...

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Buddy Movies: For Adults Only

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in Buddy Movies | 0 comments

Buddy Movies: For Adults Only

Life of Pi (2012): This fantasy-adventure from director Ang Lee is a tale of an unlikely duo forced to share a lifeboat after a shipwreck. The story of an Indian boy and a Bengal tiger, from the novel by Yann Martel, is topically perfect for kids and its visuals are, too (they’re purposely over-the-top on artifice). But its running time (127 min) and overt spiritual message won’t hold their attention. Mary & Max (2009): This Australian claymation feature from...

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