Listeria: The Top Ten Scenes from Marley & Me (I Hope)
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 29, 2008
To be perfectly clear on this: I do not care for dogs. Not even a little. The way they smell, the way they yip, the way they have no concept of personal space, the way most of ’em could probably kick my ass if they wanted to–just an all-around unfan of the species. It might mean I’m not a real man, it probably means that I’m dead inside, and it almost definitely means that if I was ever in trouble down at the old mill, Lassie wouldn’t lift paw one to save me. Regardless , I prefer the cold, independent, mutual respect of cats to the disturbingly subservient dynamic of a dog-human relationship.
That said, I find myself utterly hypnotized by recent ads for Marley & Me. It just doesn’t make sense that they would make such a big-budget movie–a Christmas-weekend blockbuster-to-be, and one that seems geared towards adults, no less–out of the antics of a disobedient pooch (I mean, I loved Beethoven as much as anyone, but they really seem to be swinging for the fences here). I know people love dogs, I know the book was a best-seller…but really, do people actually want to see a movie with 90 minutes’ worth of “Boy, Marley, you sure are the world’s worst dog!!” type jokes?
The answer of course is yes, and in fact I even count myself among their number. It’s rare you get a comedy so unabashedly corny these days, one so willing to court mawkish sentimentality and cliche without so much as an aging-in-reverse gimmick as a hook. And it’s even rarer when you get a movie whose preview actually has a clip of the two protagonists chasing their dog around a big-league stadium (uh-oh!!) I don’t imagine I’ll end up seeing it in the theaters, but that doesn’t matter, since I’ve already watched the entire movie in my head. With that in mind, here are (what I imagine) the top ten scenes from Marley & Me to be:
10. As Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston pick Marley up from the pound, they walk down the hall in slow motion, whiel “O Fortuna!” or something equally fire-and-brimstoney plays in the background. As they approach his cage, the pound lady yells out “Hey Marley, we finally found a family crazy enough to take ya!” The camera slowly pans up Marley’s body to his evil, half-open eyes. He looks at Owen and Jen, shrugs, and turns back around, unimpressed.
9. Owen and Jen take Marley out for a walk in a dog park, and see Marley get visibly excited at the sight of a frilly-loooking femmedog. “Awww, he’s in love!” Jen coos. Marley quickly puts this theory to bed by growling at the bitch and attacking its jugular, resulting in the two getting a lifetime ban from the park. (“MAR-LEY!)”
8. Owen and Jen try to be “intimate” for the first time since acquiring their new bundle of love. Partway through, they hear a loud thump sound from downstairs. “Should we check on it?” asks Jen. “No, no, I’m sure it’s fine,” responds Owen. “We’ll check on him after.” They then hear the sound of breaking glass, followed by an alarm going off, followed by a loud wail coming from their neighbor’s house. Jen and Owen look at each other, stunned, then stimultaneously bury their heads in their pillows.
7. Owen is watching TV with Marley on a lazy sunday. As he flips channels, he comes past The Aristocats, sending a previously docile Marley into a stark-raving fury. Marley pounces on the TV, knocking over the cable box and breaking it, then chewing through all of its cables just to be on the safe side. (“MAR-LEY!)”
6. Jen makes Marley a cute little doggy t-shirt that says “I got my looks from my mommy” on it. Marley takes one look at it, squints at Jen, and bites the shirt out of her hand, tearing it to complete shreds in a matter of seconds. Jen collapses on the couch in shock and then sobs quietly.
5. Owen and Jen decide they need a break, and hire a seen-it-all babysitter to keep an eye on Marley while they’re out to a nice dinner. They come back to find the babysitter on their front porch, frazzled and chain-smoking furiously. “That dog is sick, man! SICK!” she shrieks at Owen and Jen. “Hey, sorry. We’ll take him to the vet before next time,” Owen promises. The baby-sitter stares back with a look of terror and disbelief that says no way in hell will there possibly be a next time. “He doesn’t need a vet. HE NEEDS A FREAKING EXORCIST!!!!!”
4. Starting to groove a little bit with his new Best Friend, Owen puts on a copy of Doggystyle in his car stereo while driving with Marley. Eventually he gets to “What’s My Name,” and Marley starts to start to sing along with the chorus: “Bark–Bark–Bark–Baaaaa-aaaaaa-arrrrrkkkk!!!!!”
3. Marley plays something jazzy on the piano while wearing sunglasses. I haven’t quite worked out the details to this one yet but I’m positive that it happens at least once.
2. After Owen has a long period of bonding with Marley–much to the annoyance of Jen, to whom Marley is still fairly cold–Jen confronts Owen, yelling at him (in front of Marley) “You know, sometimes I think you care more about that damn dog than you do about me!” Owen tries to assuage her fears, saying “Baby, no, of course I don’t–” He glances at Marley, who is starting to eye him angrily. “Seriously, come on, how could you think that–” Glances back at Marley, who is now giving him a puppy-ish pout. “I mean, uh…” Jen throws up her arms and storms out of the room. After watching her leave, speechless, he goes over to Marley and rubs his coat a couple times. “I know, buddy, I know…”
1. After having officially won over both Owen and Jen, Marley is now lying peacefully in the back seat of the two’s car as they had off as a family for a nice weekend at the beach. As the strains of light MOR rock raise in the background, Marley turns to face in the camera, and says (in the voice of Dennis Leary): “See? I told you they were trainable!” The car speeds off into the horizon, and roll credits.