On a Sunday afternoon in sixth grade, my parents took me and my buddy Jessica to see “My Dog Skip.” For nearly a month, I’d begged them to let me watch the major motion picture because it featured “Malcolm in the Middle” heartthrob Frankie Muniz.
As much as my mom and dad enjoyed the TV series, they thought my celebrity crush on Frankie Muniz bordered on “Fatal Attraction” creepy, especially because neighbors started asking why I carried a magazine photo of the actor with me wherever I went. When I headed to the neighborhood greenbelt to do cartwheels, my Tiger Beat cut-out of Muniz tagged along. Before P.E. class everyday, I whipped out the pic of Muniz for moral support. When I tuned in to Disney Channel original movies, particularly “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century” and “Model Behavior,” I hoisted the magazine clip high on my couch.
My parents didn’t want to enable my unhealthy infatuation by letting me see a movie starring Frankie Muniz, but they eventually caved and predicted that I’d move on.
Based on Willie Morris’s memoir, “My Dog Skip” highlights the author’s childhood adventures in a sleepy, small Mississippi town. A lonely boy growing up in the World War II era, Willie’s parents get him a dog, who becomes his BFF.
Considering Muniz is a Jersey native, he did a great job feigning a southern drawl for “My Dog Skip.” He was barely a teenager during filming, so I was pretty impressed by the accent. Muniz’s acting ability is often overshadowed by his reported rage issues, but boy was he a quality performer back in the day.
“My Dog Skip,” which premiered more than a decade ago, remains a treasure and quality family flick. When I first saw “My Dog Skip,” I was most interested in the relationship between Muniz’s character and the pooch. Now, I’m intrigued by the historical significance. The little boys play war games, pretend to combat Hitler, and idolize the town pretty boy Dink Jenkins (Luke Wilson), who returns from the war a different person. At age eleven, I thought Dink’s character was just a coward. Revisiting “My Dog Skip” as a pseudo-adult, I see he suffered PTSD. “My Dog Skip” is a timeless movie, which is why I bought it for $3.99 at CVS this afternoon.
As I watch it now, I can’t help but laugh at old inside jokes my friends and I developed from the movie. We memorized each line, background song, and change of inflection. It’s funny how all that useless information stayed with me throughout the years. After such a long period of time, why did my brain reserve space for kids movie quotes? Then again, Crystal, her younger brother, and I can recite “Home Alone” verbatim and have no regrets about that, so it makes sense that I’ve retained knowledge of B-list movie “My Dog Skip” after all this time.
“My Dog Skip” influenced my mom and dad to get me a Jack Russell Terrier for my twelfth birthday. Up until then, my father was adamantly against getting us children a canine. As kids, my older brothers briefly had a male dog who couldn’t shake the biting habit, so he had to go. After that, my dad only wanted felines around the house. For many years, we had a feral cat named Toonses who tried to emulate Spider-Man by climbing up walls, spent her days hiding at the top of the garage furnace, and ran away from all humans. Toonses was a boring pet, so we got Roxy at a Modesto farm.
How fitting to watch “My Dog Skip” the evening before my flight back to northern California, where my good old eleven-year-old pup Roxy resides. A while back, I vowed to pen a “Marley and Me” inspired blog post about Roxy, and perhaps I’ll fulfill this promise during my trip home. I might even do so with Roxy at my side…That is, if she can sit still. Roxy isn’t one to obey. Undisciplined, shrill, hyper, and jumpy she may be, but Roxy is the sweetest animal I’ve ever known. All thanks to “My Dog Skip,” I had the idea to choose her from all the other pups in the world.