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Marley & Me (Three-Disc Bad Dog Edition) [Blu-ray]
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A New York Times bestseller, Marley & Me is a memoir of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan's life with his yellow Labrador retriever. The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life.
When a dog wriggles his adorable rear end into a human's life, the human will never be the same. And both Marley, the dog, and Marley & Me, the movie, manage to endear themselves deeply despite a few wee flaws. Readers of the John Grogan bestseller already know the raffish charm of the incorrigible yellow lab puppy, Marley, adopted by Grogan and his wife because she's "never seen anything more adorable in my life." But Grogan's simple tale of love, in all its forms, shines on the big screen, thanks to deft comic turns by Jennifer Aniston--in top form here--and Owen Wilson. Their chemistry is utterly natural and believable as Marley's owners, as is their interaction with the very naughty but ultimately irresistible Marley. As Marley grows up, the film follows his escapades--flunking out, spectacularly, from puppy training at the hands of a wickedly funny Kathleen Turner. And as Marley grows up, John and Jenny build their life together and weather some tough emotional blows. Like My Dog Skip, which it resembles in its affection for its subject, Marley & Me is a tear-jerker, but in the sweetest, most lovely way--because it, and its four-legged star, have wriggled into our hearts. Good boy. --A.T. Hurley
Stills from Marley and Me (Click for larger image)
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The day she died, I came home from school, and as soon as I walked in the door, I knew something was off. My mother's eyes where swollen from tears, and when Goldie walked up to me, I knew why.
Her tail was still wagging, but her throat was about 4 sizes bigger then normal. I knew. It was the last day for her.
My mother put me in the car, but I stopped her. I told her "I did not get to say goodbye". Now, Imagine a child running from a car to say goodbye to their best friend.
I remember so clearly my last sight and smell of her. I knelt down on the kitchen floor (which is where she was laying) and I said
Her tail just wagged slightly and she let out a sigh.. That was the last time I saw my best friend. But I know I will see her again over the rainbow bridge. I have too. She was an angel, and was too good for here....
I just watched this again with my now 13 month old Lab Isabel. This is not the greatest movie in the world, but I love it. It made me laugh and made me cry. Isabel is no longer chewing walls, but she has ripped apart the furniture and I will need to completely redecorate once she gets past the chewing stage. Nonetheless, she is the friendliest, nicest, most loving dog ever, and Marley and Me really captures the specialness that is the Labrador Retriever. They are indeed the best dog ever!
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In most other respects, the book is pretty faithful to the book but Marley's sheer lunacy never really leaps out of the screen. Wrecked garages are seen, and shredded furniture, but it all seems rather dull in comparison to Grogan's quality writing in his book.
But, for me, the biggest flaw in the film is the casting of Aniston and Wilson. They were just too safe and obvious a choice. Of the two, Aniston does the better job - better than I expected - especially during the parts of their lives when Jen Grogan lost the first baby and then, later on, when post natal depression took over her life.
Owen Wilson seems to sleepwalk and mumble through most of the film. His performance is almost flat at times and, as is so often the case in his films, he only seems to be Owen Wilson. He seems to be in the sort of character and casting rut that trapped (and still traps??) Hugh Grant. Never once did I see Wilson as Grogan whereas Aniston did occasionally manage to break out of her overly-familiar 'Friends' mode. But on balance you don't ever really see real people who lived a real life with a real and really eccentric dog. You see two actors mostly being themselves.
As for Marley? The various dogs who take his part do a good job and thanks to some exellent trainers, there are many funny scenes - but nothing as laugh-out-loud as happens when you read the book.
So in the end, my advice is - read the book. It's hugely better than this rather limp version and how on earth could they miss out the 'Dad' and 'nappy' scenes? The 'Dad' scene in particular, and what happened before it, is essential to understanding what on earth makes Marley into that 'worst dog in the world'.
Other books that I can recommend which feature dogs and their owners which are very well written and funny are -
Travels with Charley: In Search of America (Penguin Modern Classics)
Marley wasn't the only 'worst dog in the world' though ...
DUDLEY: THE WORST DOG IN THE WORLD.
The latter book has now been updated -
The Complete Dudley: Further Misadventures of the Worst Dog in the World
The book's probably better, but, who cares?