Marley (Maggie) & Me

About a month ago, Jenn first mentioned the movie Marley & Me and how much she wanted to see it. At first, since I had no clue what she was talking about, I told her I would probably hate it. But after time passed and I saw the previews, I knew it would be a perfect date movie. So last week, we went to go check it out.

There will be spoilers below, so if you want to see the movie but haven’t yet, don’t read any further. Because I’ll kind of ruin it for you. And then, for the rest of your life, or day, you’ll be thinking about how much you hate me. I can’t have that weight on my shoulders, so read no further.

First off, the advertising for this movie is very deceiving. The movie comes across as a “feel good family fun movie” or a “dog lovers unite!” type story. The kids will love the crazy canine antics, and the parents will stay for the story.

No. The movie should have come with a warning, “don’t watch this if you currently own/previously owned/plan to own a pet, especially a dog.” I never, well, RARELY, get emotional in movies, and this one had me wiping my tears and doing my best to keep my man card intact. Fortunately, there were only 6 other people in the theater, and none of them were men, so I probably just came across as the “sensitive & thoughtful” boyfriend.

Frankly put, this movie punches you in the emotional gut, keeps its fist there and then digs in and twists it around until you can’t take it anymore. After fully converting your emotional stability into mush, it ends. No happy new puppy at the end for you. Marley is dead. Get over it. (Yes, there is that whole “family” aspect and touching dialogue at the end, but it was only a small band aid on multiple gunshot wounds to your heart.)

This is not a “dog” movie, really. I would consider Marley & Me to be more than that. It’s really a story about family, and finding happiness in what you have in front of you. The dog just makes it all possible, and in the end it makes you realize that you don’t really own a pet, you bring in a member of your family.

Considering that Jenn’s Golden Retriever Kenzie is only 10 months old and beginning to exit the puppy-stage, for the majority of the movie I was thinking of Kenzie whenever Marley would do something crazy, because that’s what you’re supposed to do in movies like this. Draw comparisons to your own life.

But then something funny happened that made the movie harder to watch altogether. I started thinking of my own dog at home, Maggie. You see, she’s been around since 3rd grade when my dad brought her home from the vets after calling us and telling us to “put some newspaper down in the family room.” (BTW, way to ruin the surprise, Dad.) Now she’s at least 13 years old, and as you can imagine, starting to slow down.

When Marley started to show his age in the movie, it reminded every bit of Maggie. The way he dragged his feet, or lay on the floor, or struggled to get up stairs, all of them started to flash images of my Maggie instead. Talk about a gut-check.

When they made the decision to put Marley down, that all too familiar lump in the throat appeared. But that wasn’t enough. The oldest child had to watch home movies of himself, and in every scene Marley made an appearance. You realized, at that point, that like I said before, a pet is more than that, he’s a member of the family. And as I thought of Maggie, well, you can imagine why a guy like me would get choked up.

So, go hug your dog. I did.

Not the best picture, but it's the one that's available right now.

Good old Maggie...not the best picture, but it's the one that's available right now.

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Posted on January 12, 2009, in Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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