Thursday, September 27, 2012

Benji forever

Back in the day, I was first in line when a new Benji movie came to our neighborhood cinema. I was probably the scrappy little mutt's biggest fan. That Benji was so funny! Remember the scene in the first movie when he gobbles up the crook's SnackPack? And the bad guy is like, what...? Butterscotch SnackPacks were my favorite. Mmmm. SnackPacks.

(Okay. I just googled SnackPacks to see if they're still available. They are still available, but apparently they're "nutritious" now and no longer served in a catfood-type can so they're not the SnackPacks of Proustian memory and therefore not worth revisiting.)

Anyway, when I spied a 5-DVD set of Benji movies in the $5 bin at Target, naturally I snapped it up. My kids love dogs, ergo, they will love Benji. So much better than that total bummer Marley & Me, which I so would not let my kids watch. Or the one with Richard Gere where the dog meets him at the train station every day till one day he...doesn't. And don't even talk to me about Old Yeller, a movie for masochists if ever there was one. Benji never dies!

But silly me did not consider the fact that Benji was made in the ’70s, a grittier time, for sure. Benji isn't exactly Serpico but there is a kidnapping plot and random acts of violence, like when Benji's girlfriend, a Maltese named Tiffany, gets kicked into unconsciousness by the criminals whose shenanigans are the motor of this plot. My kids haven't cried so much since The Beast was pursued by a pitchfork-wielding mob. Now Benji collects dust in the DVD closet, right next to Beauty and the Beast. I doubt we'll ever get to For the Love of Benji, probably my personal favorite, or that we'll read this 1975 paperback novelization. (Fun fact: these are the same kids who are mad at me because I won't let them watch or read The Hunger Games.)

If you're a Benji fan, check out this video. It's a trailer that features on-the-street interviews with "real" people who've ostensibly just seen the film. Too funny.

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