Sunday, December 28, 2008

Marley and Me

I've become a crier. For sure. Never used to be, but these past few months have done me in. Marley got to me, as to be expected, but I did not expect to like it as much as I did. Holly asked this morning if I would blog about Marley and Me, knowing that I would say no. Its not my standard blog-type movie, nor the type of movie that I would choose to go to these days. But I'm at home in Beatrice and the whole Butler fam loaded up and went to the Holly Theater tonight and came home crying and laughing together. Its just a great movie.

We have a lab, Bella (or Belle, we call her both. And I call her Belly.) We chose her because of the white spot on her forehead and she loved us because that's what dogs do. I named her after the movie we were watching that night, La Vita e Bella, or Life is Beautiful. We told our Dad that we were naming her after Cabelas, his favorite store, so it worked out for all of us. There is nothing better than a lab puppy and that was a fantastic summer because of it. Before Belle we had Sport, a chocolate lab, who we had to put down when he was about 13 and was very sick. Needless to say, this movie touched the Butler's because we too have had a couple Marley's.

Marley and Me is predictable just as life is predictable and unpredictable because life is unpredictable. There isn't a huge plot nor a grand climax, and the film moves along smoothly and completely enjoyably. Its a movie that chronicles the life of a dog as told through his family. Jen and Owen were totally believable in this story, especially in their interactions with a dog who is forever in their face. If you have a dog, specifically a big dog, you understand the annoyance of the jumping, the chewing, the wet nose.

The movie is also about making plans and watching your life unfold anyway. Up until this point, I've pretty much navigated my own way in this world. I've done exactly what I've wanted to do and have purposefully avoided situations that may cause anything other than a happy ending. But like Jen says at the end, what you end up with, no matter the outcome, its better. A good lesson for those who prefer complete control.

It didn't preach family verses job, although that was of course a central conflict. The best friend role turned out happy as well, as a forty year old bachelor living in New York and writing for the Times. John and Sebastian took different paths and each ended up settled in a true happiness, one with the family, the other with the career. There isn't one way, the movie taught us. But there is your way, and that way is perfect too.

It was also a story about dogs. Obviously. It was about unconditional love because that is the great goodness of dogs. As told at the end of the film, they don't need expensive cars or nice clothes. They don't care if you are rich or poor or smart or dull. Even when you yell at them, or leave them alone with a babysitter for the weekend or don't always have time to play. They will always be there to welcome your love back and give it hurriedly in return. They love you unconditionally the moment you take them in. Because you feed them? Sure, haters. But I think its something more. Its an innate sense of unrequited loyalty that we could all benefit from observing.

I want a dog, I do. I love them. New York City has done that to me, maybe because without yards, we see dogs more. They are out and about with their owners and bounce around like Muppets on leashes. They breathe a little extra life and spunk into the city. Good for the soul, that's what I say. But I'm smart enough to know that I'm too selfish and too busy in my life to have one in the near future.

Marley and Me is simple, uncomplicated, and true. Well done with the Christmas release, and well done with the laughter and the tears. Go see this movie before the New Year brings new business and the chance passes you by. You'll like it too.

1 comment:

Ho said...

I need to see it. ohmygoodness! I've also been trying to call you an tell you about Benjamin Button. You are the girl in that movie.