Today is National Dog Day, the annual event where we honor man's best friend.
Although man's best friend has done some pretty crummy stuff to man, come to think of it, if you look at sequels to dog movies. Dog movies are generally not that great anyway, but a sequel is just death.
For instance, these five doggie follow-ups:
1. Soccer Dog: European Cup
First cameSoccer Dog: The Movie
, which demonstrated at least that the filmmakers kept to the basics when coming up with titles.
The trailer gives you all the info you need. Soccer Dog came from the lab, we are told, with one goal: "To bring a father and son together." Cut immediately to Dad telling heartbroken son to give up soccer.
Crimes against humanity: The voice-over tells us "He's fetching it like Beckham!"
"Now get ready," he continues, "for the family movie that proves...." -- oh, what terrific soccer pun is coming? -- "...every dog has his day."
Never mind. Soccer puns are too hard to come up with.
2. Beethoven's 4th
Beethoven, a movie about a big, slobbery St. Bernard, only scratched the surface of all the humor potential available from a kind-hearted but overly active dog. Nor could two movies limn all the hilarity; nor yet could three. It turns out it takes six. So far.
Beethoven's 4th stars Judge Reinhold and Julia Sweeney, who occasionally concentrate on the movie while spending their paychecks in their minds.
Crimes against humanity: Opens with dog wreaking havoc inside a nice house and Reinhold wailing "Who let the dogs in?" See, `cause the popular song is "Who Let the Dogs Out."
Does a dog romp over tables at fancy outdoor party? Oh yes. The film, we are told, is "A movie that will make the whole family howl." In pain.
3. Air Bud Spikes Back
Air Bud is another series, much like Police Academy or Beethoven, which requires hours and hours of low-budget, badly acted, barely written film time to make sure it has explored everything there is to offer in the given genre. In Air Bud's case, the genre is "Dog movies where you don't even try to make sense."
Crimes against humanity: Women's beach volleyball outfits were apparently designed by very shy Amish grandmothers.
Believablity of volleyball action involving not only Air Bud, but scenes limited to actual humans: Nil.
Also, in case your intelligence is not quite insulted enough, Bud solves jewelry heists in his spare time.
4. White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf
You all remember White Fang, don't you? We hope so, because we don't.
But apparently the producers believed two things: 1) The public demanded a sequel; and 2) The plot to the original was among the most unmemorable ever put to film.
The results are the world's laziest attempt at exposition. The movie opens thrillingly on an intense scene of someone writing a letter, while a voice-over brings us all up to speed at tedious length.
Crimes against humanity: That voice-over includes this -- "Dear Henry: All I can think about is White Fang and Alaska...My heart is with White Fang." Sounds...odd. To us, anyway. But then again we've never looked deeply into White Fang's soulful eyes.
The soundtrack, byt the way, is from Generic Westerns R Us.
5. Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco
The original Homeward Bound featured three creepily voiced animals (options were limited before CGI), travelling across country to find their owners. So the sequel, naturally, repeated the plot in....San Francisco?
Sure, why the hell not?
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Crimes against humanity: The whole thing. The director doesn't even pretend to have the animals mouth the lame words, so it's like watching the most badly dubbed movie ever.
In the above clip, the dogs are hiding in an alley. In San Francisco. Suddenly two men furtively come down the alley. Why? We're not told. Maybe they just like dark alleys?
Then, a dognapper goes after a poodle. (But of course.) As he tries to grab it, we watch from behind as he bends over and his pants split. In San Francisco.
Happy Dog Day everyone, but stay away from the sequels, okay?