My Dog Skip

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

My Dog Skip is the true life story of author, Willie Morris. Willie, as told through the voice of an on-screen narrator (who is supposed to be an older Willie) recounts the events of one particular Summer that changed his life forever. The name Willie Morris might sound familar as he was a very successful author, and in fact the youngest publisher of Harper’s Weekly. He is also responsible for another recent movie, Ghosts of Mississippi. While most of his movies (books) take place in the deep south of Mississippi during World War II days. While this is a lot more of a story about growin up, much like Stand by Me, we see that other influences affected the young boy during a particular year. My Dog Skip is his story…

Willie is a typical boy who doesn’t have too many friends, in fact he has none. His father is very overbearing, has lost his leg in a war and has some issues dealing with it. He tries to force his boy to play sports, but at the same time is very overprotective of him, as he doesn’t want him to go through life the way he has…injured. Upon Willie’s birthday, there is much debate as to what to get him for a present. Aside from the usual array of relative gifts (a bow tie among them), his mother (Diane Lane) makes a decision to get him a puppy (much to his father’s dismay). Feeling that Willie is too young and irresponsible, Mr. Morris (Kevin Bacon) takes the dog away, only to return it on a “trial basis” a few hours later. What happens next is the heart and soul of My Dog Skip. Of course, Skip (the dog from Frasier) is the dog’s name. Willie and Skip become best friends and it’s through this friendship that helps him become accepted by the local bullies that have given Willie nothing but a hard time until now.

A subplot of the movie focuses on Willie’s neighbor, Dink (Luke Wilson). Dink is the all star athlete who also happens to be “the towns favorite son”. Blessed with good looks, athletic abilities and a natural charisma make Dink the person everyone wants to grow up to be. Dink is like a big brother for Willie and for a long time is Willie’s only salvation from the other kids. This all changes when Dink is shipped off to fight in the war effort. Not knowing what to do without his only friend, Willie becomes attached to the dog and as mentioned before, manages to fit in socially. Willie even manages to get a girlfriend and life is going great. It’s not long after that Dink arrives back home a changed man and it’s now common knowledge that Dink was labeled a deserter. No longer is the town hero just that, he’s a coward (and now a drunk).

To tell any more of the plot would be cruel, as it’s not that involved. The movie enjoyed success last Spring as a suprise hit. The story is truly great, and even more so because it’s true. While it’s quite possible that this movie could have you in tears by the ending credits, it’s amazing what Hollywood has rediscovered…a great story, with great acting makes a good movie! As a family movie, My Dog Skip is a perfect choice.

Video: How does it look?

Shown in it’s original theatrical aspect ratio, My Dog Skip looks great in it’s 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The colors are bright and vivid, and it’s one of the better transfers that I’ve seen. Warner’s DVD’s have a way of looking a lot more “film like” than a lot of other studios. I suppose it’s the authoring facilities, or it could be that they take a lot more care with their transfers than others…whatever they are doing, they look and sound great and this movie is certainly no exception.

Audio: How does it sound?

Beig a new movie, this of course has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. While the sound isn’t as “in your face” as movies like “The Matrix” or “Saving Private Ryan”, the sound is very discrete and has a depth that I didn’t expect. There is a scene in which Willie and his dad are hunting and the rear surrounds eminate the sound of crickets and a “background noise” of wildlife. I had to pause the movie a few times to make sure my window wasn’t open! It’s the little things like that that make a soundtrack worth listening to. Dialogue is, of course, very clean and there was no distortion to be found (heard). My Dog Skip may not be a test for your speakers, but it sounds every bit as good as a big time sci-fi movie would.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Aside from Warner’s standard offering of Cast Bios, production notes and a trailer, My Dog Skip also features two commentary tracks; that are both very interesting. One note on that, however, I wonder why a Warner family title like this would be given a “Special Edition” treatment and presented in a widescreen format and another Warner family title like “Space Jam” would be presented in a full frame format only. I don’t know how many kids would listen to a commentary track, let alone two, so it must have been included for the older audience. Oh well, just an observation. Aside from the commentaries, there are some deleted scenes with commentary as an opiton. Still needing a few more extras to really be a loaded Special Edition, the extras stop here. The supplements included were more than enough, and at the prices that Warner charges, any edition of this movie is a steal. I recommend it highly.

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