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But does the dog die?
May 29, 2013 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Do you turn off Old Yeller before the end so you can pretend that he lived a long and happy life? Did a cute pet on a movie poster make you think it would be a fun comedy but it turned out to be a pet-with-a-terminal-illness tearjerker instead? Are you unable to enjoy the human body count in a horror movie because you're wondering whether the dog's going to kick the bucket? Have you ever Googled "Does the [dog/cat/horse/Klingon targ] die in [movie title]?" If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then welcome - DoestheDogDie.com is here for you!

(via elizardbits's tumblr (often NSFW); FPP text shamelessly copied from the site itself)
posted by jedicus (142 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
:,(
posted by avocet at 8:45 PM on May 29, 2013


And my husband gets so mad when I look up plot synopses on Wikipedia before watching so I'll know if the dog dies ...

This is even better!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2013


...if it taaakes forever...I will waaiit for youuuu...for a thousand summers...I wiilll wait for youuu...
posted by sexyrobot at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Are you unable to enjoy the human body count in a horror movie because you're wondering whether the dog's going to kick the bucket?

Yes. Necessary. I can't even be in the same room as Drag Me To Hell.
posted by troika at 8:49 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Appeal to your audience! Kill the cute dog!" - Mike, MST3K
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 PM on May 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Website bookmarked for serious usefulness. I felt tremendously upset about the recent tornadoes, but it wasn't until I ran across the picture of a woman comforting an injured dog on the ground that I actually burst into tears. That probably makes me a terrible person, but there it is.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:49 PM on May 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


is it weird that I'm not bothered by animal deaths and such in filmed media cause I know how strict the ASPCA laws are now and I comfort myself with thinking the actual adult human actors tend to have rougher schedules? (aside from YOU Milo & Otis)
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought that was why they invented the Caldecott medal; to brand books where the dog dies.
posted by luvcraft at 8:51 PM on May 29, 2013 [42 favorites]


Excellent. I don't care how many (fictional) people die gruesome, horrible deaths; hurt the kitty cat and it's over.

Now someone has to make this website for all the tv shows I watch, episode by episode, and we're in business.

(Seriously, my friend M and I have a mutual "Animal Hurt Alert" agreement which entails us emailing one another if we ever encounter a scene of an animal being hurt in a movie or a tv show--even if we have no idea if the other person is a fan or ever plans on watching it.)
posted by tzikeh at 8:51 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know it's unlikely that anyone is going to stumble upon Curse of the Queerwolf by accident, but fyi YES. They all die. All the dogs. And that isn't the only slightly problematic thing.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:57 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


A gun in the first act always goes off in the third.
posted by timsteil at 8:58 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Finally! A list which includes C.H.O.M.P.S., C.H.U.D., and C.H.U.D. II outside of my Netflix queue!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:59 PM on May 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


We need one of these for books.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:00 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


...if it taaakes forever...I will waaiit for youuuu...for a thousand summers...I wiilll wait for youuu...

NO. DAMN YOU. That was the most needlessly depressing thing I may have ever seen and I didn't want to be reminded of it. Damn.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It also does not include Cannibal Ferox, which is notorious/can go fuck itself for animal cruelty.

Oh, and Sweet Swetback's Baadasssss Song
posted by louche mustachio at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


(er I mean the AHA, anyway)
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2013


Where the Red Fern Grows ruined me for life.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:02 PM on May 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of a young adult fiction book my English teacher wife had me read:
No More Dead Dogs wherein the young protagonist complains "Why does the dog in every classic novel have to croak at the end?"
posted by cccorlew at 9:03 PM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I mean I am a massive Futurama fan to the point where I consider on and off getting a Scooty Puff Sr. tattoo, and I've only ever watched that episode once and will NEVER watch even a minute of it again. I think it was cruel.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:03 PM on May 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I need more information than this, because, for example, "Marley and Me" is summed up with "Dog is euthanized due to an incurable illness." which does not in any way capture the emotional horror of how much of that movie is devoted to the dog dying.

Dogs dying, I can handle. Dogs dying slowly for the last half of the film was just too much.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:05 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pet Semetary


NO WAY
posted by louche mustachio at 9:05 PM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


It also does not include Cannibal Ferox, which is notorious/can go fuck itself for animal cruelty.

Isn't Cannibal Holocaust the one where they kill all the animals for no reason? One of the two. That is the reason you see those "no animals were harmed" disclaimers, directly because of that.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:05 PM on May 29, 2013


My sister-in-law thought it might be fun to rent a movie about a cute dog for all the kids and us to watch together a few summers ago up at my parents' place.
"It's called Hachi! "
My son was 9 at the time and left the room sobbing at the end, like loud heaving sobs. We had to go into the bedroom and talk him down.
posted by chococat at 9:06 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Toxic Avenger includes a really fake looking and gratuitous scene of a dog getting killed, and Lloyd Kaufman claims he got more hate mail about that than anything he ever did. If you are familiar with the Troma oeuvre, you'll know how odd that is.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:09 PM on May 29, 2013


I have found my people. Come, we will watch many, many films where we delight in the horrible things people do to each other free from the fear that there will be any harm to our furry friends. Thank you, doesthedogdie.com!! Because "I Am Legend"? Fuck that.
posted by the_royal_we at 9:12 PM on May 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


To all the people scarred by "Jurassic Bark,"

GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! You need to go and watch Bender's Game.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 PM on May 29, 2013


GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! You need to go and watch Bender's Game.

That was Bender's Big Score, the first movie, and it didn't help.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:16 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a book. Water... Watersh... I can't tell you its name because saying it makes me sad. Down. Its name ends with Down.

It is very sad indeed.

I have never seen the movie, but its cover scared me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:19 PM on May 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Because "I Am Legend"? Fuck that.

NO KIDDING. Why must they always have the dog yelp when it dies? As if it isn't already ripping my heart in half, they do a yelp sound.

Also, I was going to go see Amores Perros when it came out but specifically did not go and will never see it because someone told me it had bad dog violence. The same thing with some author - I think it might be Iain Banks? I heard somewhere (maybe here) that there's dog/animal violence in at least one of his books, so I've still never read any of them. It's a bummer, because they're supposed to be good, but I just can't.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:21 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


My wife will not watch the great television shows of this golden age because animals are too often hurt or killed to show just how bad human characters are. No Game of Thrones, no Breaking Bad (that poor turtle), no Hannibal, nothing but britcoms for us.

One Foot in the Grave kills two animals rather cruelly but it's for laughs so it's okay I guess?
posted by infinitewindow at 9:22 PM on May 29, 2013


Yeah, Amores Perros is really good, but not only is the violence bad, there is one scene in particular that is absolutely heartbreaking.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:24 PM on May 29, 2013


I did not like reading Where the Red Fern Grows or watching Old Yeller, so when I saw the book Sounder I was all, "Hells no unless the dog doesn't die." So I flipped to the end and read that the dog was howling so I decided to actually read the whole book. *SPOILER* The dog dies and his ghost comes back to howl at the end.

I just looked up Sounder on the website, and it only had the movie, where apparently "A dog is shot and injured in the film but does not die."

I DON"T BELIEVE YOU.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:28 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia, you are missing the best book ever. Think Bunny Odysseus. Yes, there is some sadness and apparentlly the battle scenes were gruesome in the animated movie, BUT, they are such awesome, adventuring, clever bunnies. Good things happen. It s a Good Story.
posted by emjaybee at 9:31 PM on May 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


I can watch Eight Below up until they all get on the plane...then it gets turned off....

I watched it all the way through one time and spent half the movie screaming at those idiots!!!!
posted by HuronBob at 9:31 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


so, for Marley and Me do they have, like, eleven hundred crying dog icons

because really it should, that entire movie should just be called Dead Dog
posted by mightygodking at 9:32 PM on May 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I thought that was why they invented the Caldecott medal; to brand books where the dog dies.

I accidentally wound up working in a children's library in my first co-op placement in library school. (I showed up at work the first day wearing my grey suit and green silk blouse and was directed downstairs to the loudest part of the library. Oh.)

I adjusted fairly quickly during my time there and found out I was pretty good at book talks for the sweet, malleable younger kids. One day, the Grade 6 Class Everyone Else Had Given Up On arrived for their usual movie -- they were not interested in books at all -- but the projector was broken. I was dispatched to give a book talk.

I brought out a stack that included Island of the Blue Dolphins, Watership Down, and some book about a boy coping alone on the family farm after his family dies. I started off with the brief warning, "You should know that some of the wrong people die in these books. I can't tell you who, but some of the wrong people definitely die."

INSTANT attention. TOTAL silence. And every damn book I talked up that day was snatched right up.

I don't know if I would have had the same response if I had warned them of the non-human deaths.
posted by maudlin at 9:32 PM on May 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


Don't get me started on "Marley and Me"... it took me three months to read the last chapter of that book, one damn word at a time...
posted by HuronBob at 9:33 PM on May 29, 2013


>Ctrl-F "red fern"

>was not disappointed

>cried
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:35 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, the dog in Frankenweenie doesn't die. Well, actually, it does, but, you know, un-dies, twice.
posted by lbebber at 9:39 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


As useful as this site will be for me, I'm really curious about who isn't sure whether the dog dies in a movie called All Dogs Go To Heaven.
posted by jeather at 9:40 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Klingon targ

Martok's targ didn't die, his bitchy wife left the door open so it would escape. I always thought that was really crappy of her.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:56 PM on May 29, 2013


no Breaking Bad (that poor turtle)

I dunno, for some reason I found the turtle bomb hilarious. It was so over the top.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:57 PM on May 29, 2013


But what of the dog in Call of Duty: Ghosts?
posted by mrnutty at 9:58 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heck, I don't even want to see March of the Penguins.
posted by Tacodog at 10:08 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


For some reason I wasn't all that depressed by Marley and Me: I think it was because it was so telegraphed that the dog was going to die, it wasn't exactly a shock. Plus the acting just wasn't all that good, I thought anyway. I watched it while nodding in and out of consciousness on a couch after being up all night, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:12 PM on May 29, 2013


Ahem. People. The Fly II.
posted by adipocere at 10:12 PM on May 29, 2013



But what of the dog in Call of Duty: Ghosts?


There's some videogame parody site that has an article about how sad we'll be when Call of Duty Dog dies, but I can't remember the name. I'd be there's about a 90% chance the dog will die.


because really it should, that entire movie should just be called Dead Dog


The prequel to Ghost Dog?

Also what about works where dogs can or can't die? Like you can shoot and skin dogs in Red Dead Redemption, but there's no real reason to.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:15 PM on May 29, 2013


Oh yeah, "I Am Legend."

One afternoon I told my friend John Scane I was maybe planning on watching "I Am Legend" later that evening on streaming, and I said, "Hey have you seen it?" and he said, "Yeah, sure a while ago. It's pretty good," and I said, "It's got zombies, though, right? You know I can't take too much of the gore and stuff," and he said, "Yeah, there's zombies. It's scary, but no real gore. You should be OK," and I said, "OK."

So the movie starts and there's the dog, and I text John and said, "the dog? do the zombies get the dog? Just tell me now," and he lol'd and said, "no the dog will be ok," and I said, "really?" and he said, "it's fine," and I said, "OK, thanks. i can't handle bad stuff happening to dogs"

Eventually it began to look bad for the dog, real bad, and I wondered how the hell is Will Smith gonna pull the dog from the brink of doom here, there's not many options left, when "yelp!" doom overtakes the dog and I got all broken up about it for a minute and switched off the movie and reflected a moment about dogs and doom before I regained my senses and grabbed my phone and called John.

He picked up the phone, laughing, and I said, "Jesus, man, why would you do that?" and he said, "Have you watched the rest of the movie?" and I said, "Of course I haven't and now I won't, because you want me to. Why didn't you tell me about the dog after I asked?" and he said, "Well I knew you wouldn't watch it if I told you. But more than that, nobody warned me about the dog when I watched it, and if I had to go through seeing that, then you should, too" and I said, "What? Christ I should have known better than to ask you," and he laughed and said, "Yeah you should have. It could have been worse. It could have been goatse," and I laughed and said, "OK, well next time I won't ask," and we said goodbye and hung up.

I'll definitely be bookmarking this for future reference.
posted by notyou at 10:21 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:22 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


No "The Dog That Stopped The War?" Boo!
posted by Yowser at 10:24 PM on May 29, 2013


Thanks for the useful link. Mozart's death scene in Amadeus absolutely wrecks me, probably because Tom Hulce looks like a spaniel.
posted by Banish Misfortune at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just yesterday, I was teaching the Coens' True Grit and brought up whether it should be classified as a coming-of-age dead-horse movie. "We must stop. Little Blackie is played out!"
posted by LucretiusJones at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2013


Dog killing is the best Peep Show plot. So there can be comedy in the death of animals.
posted by squinty at 10:27 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I kinda wish The Thing had a special icon.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:27 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know it's unlikely that anyone is going to stumble upon Curse of the Queerwolf by accident

I dunno, I just did. And hey, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 10:34 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Marley and Me" [...] Dogs dying slowly for the last half of the film was just too much.

That sucks because in the book (which is written from the dog's POV, fairly rare for a non-childrens/YA), yes, the dog dies, but there's not a lot of obsessing over it, and I never got the impression that the author was going for the cheap dead-pet tear jerk.

So anyway, sounds like "read the book, skip the movie" is the way to go there.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:05 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm amused by the listing for Cujo.

Their listing for Watchmen makes no mention of Bubastis.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:12 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Related: Many St. Bernards in a forest.

(They don't die.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:13 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


What about movies where the dog gets sent to a farm where it has room to run and play with other dogs?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:14 PM on May 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

Short, glib answer: Characters can trivially be made out to be assholes; the dog never deserves it.

Longer answer: Also at least in the context of action / horror movies, violence against animals, particularly domestic animals, is nearly always pretty gratuitous. It's a cheap shot, coming out of the same bag of overused cliches as "make ambiguously bad guy into really bad guy by making him a rapist." Particularly if the antagonist is an Evil Child, the lazy director trick is always to have them murder the family cat. Not the mark of high filmmaking, IMO.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:18 PM on May 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Iain Banks?

The Wasp Factory has some fucked-up-teen-hurts-animals stuff in it.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:44 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]



Short, glib answer: Characters can trivially be made out to be assholes; the dog never deserves it.


Counterpoint: Cujo, The Thing, this no-budget movie I saw where a whole pack of dogs attacked people, Sam Fuller's White Dog (probably, since the dog is a racist)....
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:51 PM on May 29, 2013


sexyrobot: “...if it taaakes forever...I will waaiit for youuuu...for a thousand summers...I wiilll wait for youuu...
I will cut you.

I also need doesanyonediescreamingcryingoutbeggingfortheirlifeorgetkilledwhilecryingnooooooo.com
posted by ob1quixote at 11:53 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, I'm not the only one who cried for Lassie to make her way home?
posted by JujuB at 11:57 PM on May 29, 2013


I pre-read / pre-screen a lot of stuff for my wife for just this reason.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:26 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would've bet that the obligatory dog dying… but coming back to life (ala ET) movie would be the norm. The preponderance of sad, grey dog icons belies that .
posted by jabo at 12:35 AM on May 30, 2013


So this website can be used by budding psychopaths to watch a ton of films where the dog dies?

Obligatory "you know it's a dog, yeah?"
posted by fullerine at 12:38 AM on May 30, 2013


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

People are often douchebags and therefore there's a good chance that they deserve whatever happens to them. Animals are rarely douchebags and shit often happens to them for no good reason, or at least certainly no reason that they could understand. So when you shoot a man in the leg and he goes down screaming, I really don't feel a need to get all worked up about it. But shoot a dog in the leg and he goes down whimpering and bewildered....yeah. I can't even write about it without getting emotional.

Long story short - it's not exaggerated at all. You're living in a world where your fellow humans don't really care as much about you as you think. :)
posted by ninazer0 at 12:40 AM on May 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


Alien: :D
posted by JHarris at 1:27 AM on May 30, 2013


so, for Marley and Me do they have, like, eleven hundred crying dog icons
because really it should, that entire movie should just be called Dead Dog


So I was wandering through the bookstore and saw on the racks of the kids' section

Marley & Me
The P U P P Y Years!


with the letters scattered around like that in the whimsical fashion common for things that are supposed to be silly fun, but to me it was like those letters were BLOODSOAKED.
posted by JHarris at 1:32 AM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


and I said, "What? Christ I should have known better than to ask you," and he laughed and said, "Yeah you should have. It could have been worse. It could have been goatse," and I laughed and said, "OK, well next time I won't ask," and we said goodbye and hung up.

This calls for revenge. I'm available via MeMail for scheming purposes.
posted by JHarris at 1:38 AM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


One Foot in the Grave kills two animals rather cruelly but it's for laughs so it's okay I guess?
posted by infinitewindow at 5:22 AM on May 30


Oh God, the tortoise! I thought I was going to give myself a hernia.
posted by Decani at 2:15 AM on May 30, 2013


There's some videogame parody site that has an article about how sad we'll be when Call of Duty Dog dies, but I can't remember the name. I'd be there's about a 90% chance the dog will die.

It was actually two articles on Kotaku: I Swear To God, They Had Better Not Kill Call of Duty Dog and Call Of Duty Dog Must Die, So That We May Live.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:03 AM on May 30, 2013


The cat in the window in 'Silence of the Lambs' gets to me.
posted by h00py at 3:12 AM on May 30, 2013


It's off-topic I know, but poor kitty!
posted by h00py at 3:14 AM on May 30, 2013


There's a book. Water... Watersh... I can't tell you its name because saying it makes me sad. Down

Oh man. The last pages of that book made me weep like a babe when I was 14. And 17. And 20 And 25. And 29. And 32.
posted by Jimbob at 3:20 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


That Poor Cat (warning: TVTropes and all the time loss that entails)
posted by zombieflanders at 3:21 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: Seymour:
Hermes: And here's something. [He holds up a fossilized dog] Uh-oh. It's another one of Fry's dogs.
Fry: Did you find something, Hermes?
Hermes: [Hiding the fossil behind his back.] No. [The dog lands in the soup.]
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:50 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

I don't know about other people, but one of my most vivid memories is driving myself and my brother back to our parent's house after a dinner out with friends, and stopping to investigate why a car load of people had just jumped back into their car and driven off right after they saw us approaching down our quiet suburban st.

As the Bard said:


This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'

Poor little Crispian. Actually looked quite like Fry's dog as well.

More detachedly, I think we deal we the death of pets more often, and at an earlier age, than that of people we know closely. And children and pets, particularly dogs, can tend to form quite strong bonds, due to the whole pack psychology domesticated dogs are living within.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:18 AM on May 30, 2013


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

This is definitely a cultural thing. There are many cultures that express bewilderment and/or disgust at how much affection we give our pets, and how easily we turn a blind eye towards the suffering or death of human beings.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 4:31 AM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


So this is the "out yourself as a sociopath" thread?

Kidding! Sort of...
posted by 256 at 4:57 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am really disappointed that this site has a Star Trek Into Darkness entry but doesn't include the animal I was worried about. So here is that spoiler for posterity:

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS SPOILERS


The tribble is okay!


/END STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS SPOILERS
posted by nicebookrack at 5:02 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh boy you really hit a nerve with this one.

When I was eight years old my Mom took me to a matinee screening of "The Green Berets." I watched placidly as men were blown up, shot, and punji sticked to death. But when the puppy ran into the minefield... yep, it was all over for me. Mom had to take me to the lobby, as my hysterics were disturbing the others in the theater.

I am definitely one of "those people." So, thanks for this.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:14 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Joe in Australia, you are missing the best book ever. Think Bunny Odysseus. Yes, there is some sadness and
> apparentlly the battle scenes were gruesome in the animated movie, BUT, they are such awesome, adventuring,
> clever bunnies. Good things happen. It s a Good Story.

I totally agree about the overall story. Awesome wonderfulness start to finish, and a nail-biting page turner to shelve right next to Treasure Island. About bunnies! But Joe, be warned that the destruction of the Sandleford warren (by gas) is pretty horrific, and the animation of it in the movie is worse--especially if you have any hint of claustrophobia in you.

The epilogue about the death (from old age) of hero-bunny and POV character Hazel is also unspeakably sad, not because of Hazel's death but because it's made clear that all the young rabbits born in the new warren take their flourishing, peaceful home entirely for granted and have no clue what Hazel and his mates went through to provide it. They've been forgotten.

There's a WWI monument on the downtown main drag here, a stone obelisk with names inscribed on the pedestal along with the legend "In a nation's memory, her brave are immortal." I read the names and go "Huh? Who?"
posted by jfuller at 5:23 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If only I would have had this site before knowing to even start with "I Am Legend". Still traumatized and enraged. Also: Hooray! I can finally watch "Wendy and Lucy!"
posted by ariel_caliban at 5:56 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was showing "Old Yeller" to my daughter as a kind of antidote to the sassy teenager things that Disney seems to only do nowadays. However, the DVR cut off the last 5 minutes. So after I realized we weren't going to see the end, I turned to her and said, "...and so they shot the dog." It didn't quite tear her up like when I was seeing it as a kid.

Oh, and I needed this site for "Turner & Hooch." I'm still angry at the reviewer who said "It turns out all right in the end." If "all right" means I was physically unable to leave the theatre for bawling through the closing credits, then it was just peachy.
posted by Infinity_8 at 6:02 AM on May 30, 2013


50 Points to the first person who clones this site into "Does Clara/Rory die?" for recent seasons of Doctor Who.
posted by schmod at 6:08 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

I am not normally that person. I actually get pretty emotional at people deaths in movies, too, assuming they are people the movie has made it clear I'm supposed to care about, rather than interchangeable henchmen. And I don't even watch horror movies, because I don't like gore and it makes me ill. I can live with a firefight, but not someone being chainsawed to death and the like.

But man, I just sobbed for like the last half of Marley & Me. It becomes pretty clear well before the dog dies that we're headed toward the dog dying and by that point, if you're the type to get emotionally invested in movies, you are seriously emotionally invested in that dog.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:14 AM on May 30, 2013


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

One reason that hasn't been mentioned is that it's easier to believe that a human has a bigger chance of fighting back than an animal does.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:21 AM on May 30, 2013


Show of hands: vegetarians in this thread.
posted by 256 at 6:24 AM on May 30, 2013


When I was 4 years old, I went over to my friend Ryan's house. We decided to watch a movie, and his mom put on ... Homeward Bound. At the end, when the elderly dog slowly makes it over the hill, I became hysterical and ran home completely unhinged. My mom was alarmed. "What's wrong?! What happened?" "Everyone made it home!"
posted by ChuraChura at 6:30 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing.

For me, at least, it's that I know even the "good guys" in a movie are capable of being bad. Dogs just want to make their people happy no matter who their people are. When they get hurt, they look to their people to make it better even if they were the ones who hurt them. Even mean guard dogs are only mean because they've been trained to be that way.

"I am Legend" is a good example. John Legend is there by choice, his dog is there because his daughter told him to keep the puppy. The dog just wants to help. If he had actually managed to catch a dear in that scene towards the beginning, he would have dragged it around and basked in his leader's praise before giving it to him. After dropping it at his feet, you would have seen a look on his face that pretty clearly asked, "Did I do a good job? I did! HOORAY I MADE MY PERSON HAPPY, I AM THE BEST DOG!"

Later on, the dog sees his person in danger and puts himself between his person and that danger. He doesn't hesitate, it's pure instinct. It wouldn't matter if his person abused him or if his person is good or bad, he will always make that same choice. After the danger is past and he's hurt, he just wants his person to make it better. His reward for being such a good dog is that he gets strangled to death. Even then, he gives a yelp that says, "I don't know what I've done wrong but I'm sorry."

Stupid dusty office.
posted by VTX at 6:45 AM on May 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yep, it was The Wasp Factory I heard about. I've steered clear of American Psycho for the same reason after a warning from my sister.

This thread has also made me think of other animal movies I watched as a kid that made me very sad (even though there weren't any deaths) - The Fox and the Hound, The Last Unicorn, The Mouse and His Child and Dumbo, and I'm wondering.....why are there so many heartbreakingly sad kids' movies??
posted by triggerfinger at 7:16 AM on May 30, 2013


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: "I don't get the whole exagerrated "i feel so bad for the dog but am cool with the human deaths in action and horror movies' thing."

Well for starters, I don't watch horror movies ever and I only watch action movies if they're SILLY (like Star Trek) and it's obviously cartoonish death and destruction.

I will watch movies where adults die, but ALMOST NEVER where pets die or infants are in peril. There are a couple reason; pets-and-infants in peril is often used as an emotional shorthand specifically to get you extra upset, because IT WORKS. Or dead pets are a shorthand for "leaving childhood behind." But it's lazy writing that makes me angry that they're getting this unearned emotion from me. Secondly, I do find pet deaths upsetting in a special and particular way because the pet doesn't know what's happening. I just took my toddler for shots two days ago and my cats go next week; little kids can understand the idea of shots when they're two years old, that it hurts and that sucks but it helps prevent you getting sick. Cats can't. It's so much worse taking the cats to the vet because it's just scary for them, and it never stops being scary. The cats hate the vet who is a scary mean person who tortures them for fun. My kids love and trust the pediatrician even though there's poking and prodding and shots. Something about the fact that animals can't understand what's happening to them makes it awful for me.

If I'm watching a movie with deaths, I'd really like to know that in advance. Like, Gallipoli and Saving Private Ryan, I was pretty clear going in that these were not going to be happy movies where everyone survives. They tore me up but I went into the movie with that expectation. "Eight Below," on the other hand, I went into thinking -- based on the blurb and cover art -- "Oh, it's a Disney movie about dogs having a heroic adventure in Antarctica!" Not, "Oh, hey, it's a TRAUMARAMA about DOGS DYING HORRIBLY AFTER BEING ABANDONED." I'm not sure if I would have watched it or not if I knew what was coming; Saving Private Ryan and Gallipoli both had a lot of artistic and historic importance and were dramatizing particularly horrible moments in history that ought to be remembered; Eight Below had neither the artistic nor historic heft of those movies, so I might have skipped it when I knew it was a mediocre movie featuring animal deaths as major plot points.

Anyway, that's why my rule now is that I google animal movies I've never heard of and skim the plot summary to find out if the animals die. Movies where humans die are usually a bit more straightforward about it, but if I'm not sure, I google. I just want to make an educated choice. As for crime procedurals on television, I just turn off the TV if they start off with an infant-in-peril plot. I don't even want to know. I don't care how plot-advancing it is or how minimally the infant is in peril; I can't watch it anymore.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:18 AM on May 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


VTX, you just made me late for work because now I am crying and I have to be presentable before I go into the office but I can't stop crying because dogs. Damn it all.

256, vegan here, vegetarian before I knew what was good for me...

I'm also a lifelong hardcore aficionado of over-the-top non-realistic gory horror movies (particularly 80s teen slashers). I could sing my love for this website from the rooftops, it is so amazing! I've had it bookmarked for ages and will NOT watch ANY movie without consulting it first.

Why? Well, I've said since I was old enough to talk that I will always love all dogs more than I could possibly love any human, full stop. It's just... different. When I was younger and devouring books by the dozen every single day, it was instructive tomes like Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows that I can credit with the development of my overwhelming, often painful sense of empathy -- certainly for my fellow humans, but mainly for any type of animal suffering whatsoever. I started volunteering at humane societies and wild animal rehab centers and then donating to rescues as soon as I was able.

When I grew up and bought a house with a fenced backyard that allowed me to feel comfortable and secure in adopting a dog, and I wound up with a Boston Terrier (1/2 circus clown, 1/2 snuggly gentleman), well. As soon as I met the little guy, colors seemed brighter, life became more fun, and the world just started to feel more exciting and new and open and full of wonder whenever I experienced it with him at my side. He is a 20-pound brindle Buddha. Life for dogs is just a series of moments -- some good, some bad, all seemingly brand-new and thus exciting and worthy of exploration.
If my dog gets an abrasion on his paw or eats some grass in the yard that upsets his stomach, his "huh, seems like I'm feeling pretty bad right now" does not automatically lead to a "...thus, I will feel bad forever!" conclusion the way it does in the mind of his depression-prone mom. When I am upset, he will climb up to wherever I am sitting and literally rest his head on my shoulder. When I am happy, he actually dances; he can 'feel' my glee and it makes him feel happy, too. He is a better judge of character than I could ever hope to be. He has a weird sixth sense about who is and is not a 'dog person' and joyfully licks/shyly avoids certain folks based on this.

Dogs are more kind, generous, and forgiving than humans. Even a dog who is savagely beaten will go back to the person who beat him to offer affection and a wagging tail. For this and many other reasons, I cannot bear even the idea of any dog anywhere suffering in any way. It psychologically destroys me. I don't know how else to put it. I can't even think about it in an abstract way without crying.

So, yeah. People who need this kinda thing? Y'all are my kinda people. All you crouton-petters, too. Endless thanks to the creators of this website for saving us from needless psychological trauma.

P.S. CiS, is there any way you could possibly temporarily refrain from doing the "animals are inherently inferior to humans, people who think otherwise are misguided and/or inscrutable" thing? TIA.
posted by divined by radio at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


I like rewinding the movie in slo-mo so the dog is resurrected.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, I feel like maybe I haven't been engaging entirely in good faith. It's just that, like Charlemagne in Sweatpants, I find this entire phenomenon incredibly confusing.

I'm a vegetarian. The reason I don't eat meat is because I believe that the amount of suffering caused to animals by the livestock industry is morally inexcusable.

And yet, in a trolley problem situation where there was a box of twenty innocent puppies on one track and a person (even a known horrible person) on the other, I wouldn't be able to kill those puppies fast enough. I can't help but feel that anyone who would do differently has got their moral compass on fundamentally backwards.

On the other hand, if it's just that in the specific context of fiction, something about an an animal dying is more triggering than a person dying, despite a rational understanding that a person dying is the more distressing event, well I guess I can understand that. We're not accountable for our emotional triggers. I tear up at wide-angle landscape shots with bombastic orchestral music.

So I am legitimately curious about what percentage of people who find "Marley and Me" harder to watch than "Boys Don't Cry": a. Are vegetarian; and b. Would find that trolley problem difficult (or would find it easy to sacrifice the person)?
posted by 256 at 7:51 AM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had an absolute meltdown reading Water For Elephants, and was shocked, shocked that none of my friends, Amazon reviews or Good Reads shouted the animal abuse warning from the rooftops.
posted by tatiana131 at 7:54 AM on May 30, 2013


This list should be separated into three catagories: "Pet in danger / pet killed to demonstrate evilness of evil villains" in teevy or movies rarely gets to me because 99 and 44/100 percent of the time, it's not integral to the story; it's movie people trying to emotionally manipulate me. If they're that lame, I wasn't emotionally engaged anyway.

The other .54 percent is Old Yeller, where the event actually means something (at least it does in the book). I think it's telling that The Mouse would now censor that aspect of one of their earlier 'products' to suit contemporary sentimentalities. The story would be the worse for it, as Infinity_8 observed.

On the other hand, I was initially affected, too, by Frye's dog in that ep of Futurama. I thought, "you bastards" (meaning the writers, of course).

But then I realized, why? From our omniscient, synoptic viewpoint, yeah, It seems sad that the dog waited for him and that Frye never knew. Bogus for Frye, maybe. But would that guy have been happier knowing the truth?

From the dog's perspective: In a 10 second long pre-credits tag, they showed us that he'd lived a long life, had a place to stay where he was accepted, and got fed. Better, he had a job: waiting for Frye to return.

The dog died at, what, fourteen, and never saw Frye again. That's not optimal, but it's far from sad. He was living a dog's life doing what dogs do. The real heroes are all people who fed him and allowed him to hang out there, all the people around (neighbors, shoppers, cops, etc.) who would have had to cooperate on some level to make that long life of vigilance possible. The star's supporting cast, if you will, without whom . . .

In passing, it's pretty clear that they got the story idea from the more or less true story of Ol' Shep of Fort Benton, Montana, IRL.

Touching, not sad.

----------
* National Lampoon's Vacation. You were a cruel and ultimately unfunny person, Michael O'D.
posted by Herodios at 7:57 AM on May 30, 2013


On the other hand, if it's just that in the specific context of fiction, something about an an animal dying is more triggering than a person dying

I think this is part of it for me. That in a movie I expect there to be a range of human experiences including maybe bad things happening to humans (and in some movies I totally expect that) but I find that in most cases the decision to put an animal in harm's way--if it's not the central point of the plot, which it sometimes is--feels deliberately manipulative, like an attempt to get emotions out of people in a somewhat cloying and maybe unfair way.

In somewhat the same way, I don't watch movies where the central plot point hinges on whether the hero's virginal daughter is going to maybe get tortured/molested/raped by the super bad guy and you spend big chunks of the movie being like "Is this the part where she's going to get raped?" I find that to be a trope that will get my blood boiling but it's tired and worn out (and part of rape culture) and encourages a whole host of knee-jerk reactions that are based on societal stuff outside of what is actually happening in the movie. It's sort of hard to explain why I react so strongly to it. It feels (again, outside of movies where it is an important part of the plot) like something tossed in to tug at heartstrings in a clumsy and often hamfisted way.

I see similar things on facebook where people post photos of starving/abused animals to raise awareness for animal charities. I'm sure it works on some people but I'm haunted by those photos for the rest of the day/week in a way I am not when I am looking at war photography. And maybe this says something bad about my moral compass (supportwise, I'm more likely to give money to my food bank than PETA) and I am okay with that but the "can't unsee!" aspect of some of this and the way it worms into my psyche and turns itself into bad dreams is something I'll spend a small amount of time protecting myself from. And I am not a vegetarian.
posted by jessamyn at 8:04 AM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


256: Here's how I see it. Dogs are pack animals, who by their nature think of themselves as one part of a larger whole. Many humans become attached to things that do work well, like a favorite wrench, or boat, or car. Combining those two factors with the additional plus that dogs are just so reflective of our emotions (and cute and loving and whosagooddog-yesyouare), and the bond between human and dog becomes like between a human and a human's arm. You just come to completely rely that the dog will still be there tomorrow, still being the dog.

So the situation you talk about is like: Would you give up an arm to save a person? Most people would, even arm lovers. (Heh.) Although for an exceptionally bad person and an exceptionally good arm, I might choose the arm.

I say this having a dog who lived a long full life, a cat who was a great friend but had to answer the Call of the Wild, and two wonderful children. The bond with the dog (equal to but completely different than the bond with any of the others) is nothing I would ever trade, even knowing that the best thing you can hope for when getting a dog is to be horribly sad in 16 years.
posted by BeeDo at 8:12 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


256, surely you understand that there is an impassable canyon between films like "Boys Don't Cry" and your average action and/or horror flick? That seems like a fairly substantial goalpost shift.

The genres under which "Boys Don't Cry" (which I could not watch in its entirety because of Reasons) could be slotted include a specific type of very real psychological and physical horror, but it is not the type that people are talking about here.

I'm vegan. The reason I don't eat eggs or dairy is because I believe that the amount of suffering caused to animals by the livestock industry is morally inexcusable. But we all -- vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike -- still have blood on our hands as the result of our dietary choices: It's not black and white, it's a matter of degree.

And as much as I loathe trolley problems, particularly when they are presented specifically in hopes that the presenter will be able to deliver some variation of "So you DO care about animals more than you care about people, you amoral monster!" -- I'd almost certainly save the puppies.

Oh god, I love puppies. PUPPIES FOR ALL!
posted by divined by radio at 8:23 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh yes, absolutely. It was just the most emotionally affecting horrible-things-happening-to-people movie that immediately popped to mind, and I didn't really think of this thread as being specifically about horror/action movies. Substitute "Hostel" if you think that's a more appropriate comparison.

And I'm not really trying to create a "you amoral monster" framing here, but I admit that I do find the puppy-saving perspective a very hard one to reconcile with my own.

Oh, and I tremendously respect your veganism. I agree that the relative harm we all cause by all our choices (dietary and otherwise) is always a matter of degrees and priorities. I did not mention my vegetarianism to claim a moral high ground, I mentioned it to set the context that I was coming from a position of feeling strongly enough about animal welfare to let it affect my life choices. And that, despite this fact, I always weigh a human life as more valuable than a dog's.
posted by 256 at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2013


I'm an omnivore, but I'd send that trolley directly at the person without hesitation. Morals, values, and our relationships with humanity and the rest of the animal kingdom are complex and personal.
posted by tzikeh at 8:41 AM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


To answer your question. I eat meat.

If it's bad person vs. innocent puppies, I save the puppies. It might not be rational but it's true. If I start to think rationally about it I have to start thinking about how bad a person has to be before I value their life more than the lives of some puppies.

Put in a more realistic context, if there were a situation in which some stranger threatened my dog and I have to kill the stranger to save my dog, I'd kill that person in a heartbeat, moral/legal repercussions be damned.
posted by VTX at 8:46 AM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) [weeping dog icon]

Eh?

A targ, the Klingon version of a dog, is killed by shrapnel from a torpedo attack.

A targ.

I don't know whether to think, "Very thorough, clearly they've done their research" or "They're out of the vulcan minds!"
 
posted by Herodios at 9:01 AM on May 30, 2013


I gave up meat a couple of years ago, and yes, it is mostly about the way animals are raised and killed in the factory farm system that got me there, via a slow path that involved more and more locavore meat eating until I finally said the hell with meat. And in reality my diet now is mostly vegan.

And yes, I have a terrible time with movies where animals die, particularly when it seems gratuitous. I was truly scarred by Panic in Needle Park, not by the dreadful lives of the addicts it depicts, but by the scene a puppy is let loose to run off a ferry. Marley and me made me weep buckets (on an airplane, sniffling over my Ipad, embarassingly), but that is a different deal -- I'm OK with movies and books that are about a fully realized relationship with a beloved animal.

And I contribute to a lot of animal charities but rarely open the letters they send me at home because I really do not want to look at and think about and brood about and get randomly teary about all the graphic pictures of suffering animals.

Since I care plenty about my fellow man, I tend to feel my love for animals is not a choice situation -- I just love animals too.
posted by bearwife at 9:07 AM on May 30, 2013


Herodios: 'A targ, the Klingon version of a dog, is killed by shrapnel from a torpedo attack.' I don't know whether to think, "Very thorough, clearly they've done their research" or "They're out of the vulcan minds!"

While the site's name is "Does the Dog Die?", the site's purpose is to warn for any kind of animal/pet injury or death in movies.

For example:
Jurassic Park (1993)

A cow and a goat are both eaten by dinosaurs. We see three dinosaurs die: one gallimimus and two veliociraptors. A dog appears for a few seconds at a restaurant in Costa Rica. No other pets are seen.
posted by tzikeh at 9:09 AM on May 30, 2013


While the site's name is . . .

Thanks, Captain.

Cows, goats, and dogs exist. Dinos, too, I guess. The targ thing in ST:III was handled so lamely, I didn't even remember it until reading the entry here.

I'd tell you not to teach granny to suck eggs, but I don't want to further offend the Vegans [nor the Centaurans or Tau Cetians].
 
posted by Herodios at 9:27 AM on May 30, 2013


Herodios: Thanks, Captain.

My mistaken assumption was that you didn't understand why they put a "Klingon" dog on the site with "Earth" dogs, while missing the broader point of the site: many people are upset when animals in movies are harmed or killed.

It's a pet--analogous to any pet you, or I, or any other audience member has had. It dies. All movies are imaginary.

But please continue to be snide for the sake of being snide. I'm sure you feel much cooler today for it. You're obviously way cooler than I am!
posted by tzikeh at 9:35 AM on May 30, 2013


So this is the "out yourself as a sociopath" thread?

For some time, I've been trying to recall the title and author of a short story in which that literally happens.

As much as I can recall: A cold-blooded multiple murderer (of his own family, maybe?) at large reveals himself to the detective chasing him (who for some reason doesn't know what the murderer looks like) -- reveals himself, in part, by his reaction to the death of a dog (or perhaps it was a horse being whipped in the street).

I keep thinking it was Borges (the plot sounds exactly like Borges), but I haven't been able to find it again after reading it years ago.

I doubt it was ever made into a film.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:03 AM on May 30, 2013


So I am legitimately curious about what percentage of people who find "Marley and Me" harder to watch than "Boys Don't Cry": a. Are vegetarian; and b. Would find that trolley problem difficult (or would find it easy to sacrifice the person)?

Not sure about Boys Don't Cry I do get upset at many human movies but absolutely lost it with Marley and Me and avoid many animal movies.
a: Not veggie.
B: With an average normal person that I don't know, kill the puppies and feel super shitty that life made me have to choose
With a known bad person it would get harder. Would depend on how bad and what sort of bad I think. Serial rapist, serial killer, child abuser, genocidal types. Puppies would more then likely end up living.

I am the type that finds it very hard to watch animals, particularly dogs get hurt or experience cruelty and will get more upset and emotional then seeing the same thing happens to humans. It's a reaction that I've wondered about too. I also find it really hard to watch animal shows about what humans do to wild animals with regards to habitat and things like poaching. It upsets me a lot. I'm okay with hunting for food if the animal's population can support it. Not okay with hunting just for bits or killing for fun.

I think VTX's comment about dogs loyalty and making people happy no matter what is part of the reason why. Some of my pondering this question has led me to feel that I have this underlying cyncism of humans in general regarding how we act as a whole in our respective societies to each other and to the rest of the world around us. I haven't pinned it down entirely but in many cases it seems I get more upset at humans doing things to animals because they are outside of and incapable of 'fighting back' in the same way humans are.
posted by Jalliah at 10:04 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can go through life never seeing Marley and Me.
posted by stormpooper at 10:10 AM on May 30, 2013



Thinking a little more about the question. Marley and Me was upsetting not because the dog died. All dogs die and all pet dogs die. Marley had an awesome life. It was upsetting because it made me think about all of the great dogs and cats that have been in my life and died and my own current dogs who I love to bits. The suckiest part about dogs is that in human terms they don't live super long and I know for a fact that I will be saying goodbye to the big teddy bear of dog that's cuddled up beside me right now sooner rather then later. With humans there is a lot more possibility of life though now that my parents are getting older the sooner is catching up with the later and can be just as upsetting if I think about it too hard.

With my dogs however I know that with one I've got at most 5 years and my other around 8 no matter what happens.
posted by Jalliah at 10:20 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's easy enough for me: the "humans" in movies, especially horror movies, aren't real people. It's obvious. They are play acting.

The dogs are real dogs.

I was looking forward to seeing I Am Legend until I first saw the trailer and the dog. Before hearing a word about it, I *knew* that dog was destined to die and probably in a horrific manner. It especially didn't help that my childhood dog was a German Shepherd.

And I will probably never watch that movie, despite the whole fighting vampires in a post-apocalyptic wasteland being totally up my alley. It's my happy place.

Same thing goes for Seven Psychopaths, which came out last year. Saw the trailer in the movie theater, and despite all of the excellent actors that kept appearing, despite what looked like masses of hilarity, I saw the Shih Tzu and told my friend that he would need to see it first to confirm a lack of dog abuse.

Futurama's "Episode That Shall Not Be Named, Yea Verily Nor Ever Mentioned Again If We Can Help It" was a total emotional beating for me. Just a baseball bat to the heart.

That's not to say animals dying can't be funny. A Fish Called Wanda popped into my mind immediately -- the dogs (of the old lady who Michael Palin is trying to kill) keep meeting horrific and hilarious demises, but they do not affect me in the least. Maybe because the violence is cartoonish.

Ironic how the cartoon Futurama was not cartoonish in the Episode Not Named. Those bastards.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:41 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


OH MY GOD I wish I had seen this site before we watched Miranda July's The Future a few months ago.

Warning -- spoilers and profanity below.

The movie centers around this sort-of-lost couple who dither about their lives and decide to adopt a cat, which of course will be the answer to all their problems. The cat, who's named Paw-Paw, is waiting in a kill shelter and is given a heart-wrenchingly scratchy voice by Miranda July.

The movie putters along, and after awhile you realize you don't really like either of these narcissistic people or care about what happens to them. The only character you care about is the goddam cat.

And then, per DDD:

"Paw-Paw the cat dies before his new owners pick him up."

As in, he dies because they forget to pick him up -- and we find this out from Paw-Paw's own heart-wrenchingly scratchy-voiced narration:
In the moment before it happened, I kept thinking, "But I'm theirs. I belong to them." And then it happened. I died. Really. But even dead, I stayed in my cage, because I just couldn't believe it. I wasn't done waiting for them. Just let me wait forever, knowing they will one day come.
I was so taken aback/surprised/REALLY FUCKING UPSET by this that I instantly started sobbing, I mean loud snot-filled crying to the point of hypervenitaling. Maybe it's because I volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter and have adopted feral/unadoptable pets (including one named by the fine folks here in the blue). Maybe it was the incredibly manipulative filmmaking that made me feel tricked into feeling so intensely sad. (Is that depth of viewer response a sign of effective filmmaking? I don't know, and I love discussing that [and cinema in general], but this movie hit too fucking close to home for me to be impartial on that score, oh and by the way, Miranda July, FUCK YOU.)

Either way, just writing this is making me upset and angry all over again, and I want to go back in time, check the DDD site, and drop that shit from my Netflix queue faster than you can say narcissistic manipulative claptrap.

/composes self
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:04 AM on May 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


I watched I Am Legend by myself without knowing much about it and was completely unprepared for the dog scene. I had random flashbacks for a couple of weeks, usually when I was in the shower.

It was all well and good that Futurama went back and fixed the waiting dog situation, but I am still definitely in the crowd of people who can never watch the original episode again.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:08 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been reading the Iron Druid books and honestly I had my heart in my throat the whole time because I thought Oberon was going to die.

(SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.)

But I heard part of the author's talk and he was saying that the publisher or editor or someone was like "Yeah, everyone's favorite character is gonna be Oberon. You can't kill him."

And then I felt better.

The dog does get hurt by a bad guy to prove WHAT A BAD BAD MAN HE IS but it makes the protagonist go all "Dude, you hurt my dog. I don't give a shit about anything about you. You are going down, fucker." but then the dog ends up OK so it isn't a dog in a refrigerator, it's just a temporarily incapacitated dog in a vet's office for a while.
posted by NoraReed at 11:24 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I disagree with the Happy Dog Face for Dark Skies. The listed spoiler detail:

We don’t see anything bad happen to the German shepherd or the cats that appear in the film. (A large number of wild birds crash into windows and die.)

Guys, not only is the birds' death scene legitimately, deliberately upsetting (ogod the bloody thunks), they put that shit IN THE TRAILER.

I have a friend with an actual phobia of dead birds. When I first saw the Dead Skies trailer on TV it was 11PMish on a work night but I was calling my friend within 30 seconds anyway. "There's a new movie called Dead Skies and you don't want to see it, but meanwhile if you see any commercial with Keri Russell then DO NOT WATCH IT. TURN OFF THE TV." Friend thanked me profusely.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:39 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It becomes pretty clear well before the dog dies that we're headed toward the dog dying and by that point, if you're the type to get emotionally invested in movies, you are seriously emotionally invested in that dog.

I think both the book and the movie are grossly manipulative, but I can forgive them because Marley was a real animal, and in a sense all of us grieving for an animal is a greater tribute to that dog's wonderful soul than many of us humans, who all of us go through not a little suffering ourselves, will get in life.

And children and pets, particularly dogs, can tend to form quite strong bonds, due to the whole pack psychology domesticated dogs are living within.

This is going off into JHarris random musing territory here so feel free to ignore. There's a subtle bias here in the terms living within, as if there's some greater, objective psychological profile outside that of dogs in the terms of which they can be compared, that dogs are somehow victims of their pack mentality. Looked at that way, we humans are victim to at least as many of those things as dogs. We see it like this as observing creatures looking from without, but to say it is rooted deep is an understatement. So to speak, it is not written on the dog, but of the paper on which the dog is written.
posted by JHarris at 11:46 AM on May 30, 2013


Is there a special section on Tim Burton?
posted by kewb at 12:08 PM on May 30, 2013


Is there a special section on Tim Burton?

Oh god Frankenweenie was really really a mistake for old cries-at-cat-food-commercials me.
posted by jessamyn at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


256, fair enough. I can't get behind the 'torture porn' subgenre of horror, either -- "Hostel," "Saw," "Human Centipede," etc. -- albeit singularly due to general squeamishness. It honestly has nothing to do with the fact that the cartoonish violence is inflicted upon humans rather than animals, it's just tedious to watch anything made with the specific intent to gross out the viewer. And it's likely that my personal experience/background has deeply colored my absolute rejection of the premise that human beings are superior to or more worthy (?) than any/all other species. To that end, I am something of a biocentrist, and philosophically weighing the life of n non-human animals vs. 1 human animal doesn't trouble me much. Takes all kinds.

Some reasons that any display of violence inflicted upon dogs (even imaginary ones) quite literally haunt and/or psychologically scar me, and why websites like DtDD are very useful for folks who feel like me:
* dogs cannot reliably pinpoint or verbalize their feelings about anything, let alone the infliction of pain or terror
* dogs cannot even nominally rationalize what is happening or why (perhaps this is for the better, and perhaps thinking that is more than a touch anthropomorphic, but still)
* with some clear exceptions, dogs cannot defend themselves against human-wrought violence
* dogs exist to love, serve, and protect us -- it is their calling, their destiny, their purpose; it is why we started bringing them into our homes tens of thousands of years ago
* dogs' lifetimes are very short compared to humans'; IMO, this means we should endeavor to make their time here as pleasant and enjoyable as possible
* I love my dog with a fierceness and totality that I did not think was even possible before he so magnanimously agreed to be adopted into my family, which makes me feel something like "All The Love, For All The Dogs" quite often

I am of the opinion that we owe it to all living things everywhere to be as kind and gentle as possible, but that opinion really kicks into high gear when it comes to any and everything humans tend to consider 'weaker' or somehow otherwise 'lower' than ourselves.

Now if everyone could just take a moment to sit back and enjoy their daily puppy...
posted by divined by radio at 12:20 PM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


nicebookrack: “[T]hey put that shit IN THE TRAILER.
This really bothers me about horror movies in general. I'd really like to know how they get away with putting all the screaming and crying and show everything right up to the actual nano-second a person gets killed in the television commercial for these movies. Not late at night during [adult swim] or something. During unrated or TV-G ESPN talk shows during the middle of the day. Editing out the gore but leaving in all the screaming doesn't make it safe for TV you assholes. If I wanted to see a horror movie I'd actually watch one.

Then again I almost had to turn off the new Discovery 'sweeps-umentary' North America—not because its heavy-handedness with the Americanism overshadows the natural history on offer—but because it looked like they were going to show a baby goat get swept away from its mother by a rushing mountain stream in the first five minutes. I don't mind animals-eating-other-animals as much—especially as long as the audio isn't graphic—but I don't need my heart broken about it either. I can deal with, "Nature, red in tooth and claw." Just don't manipulate me emotionally with it.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:04 PM on May 30, 2013


I love my dog with a fierceness and totality that I did not think was even possible before he so magnanimously agreed to be adopted into my family, which makes me feel something like "All The Love, For All The Dogs" quite often

I wonder how much of it is this. I have had dogs that were faithful companions but I don't think I've ever had as close of a relationship to one as some people obviously have. On the other hand, I'm a father, and when I read things like the Drawbridge Keeper variation on the trolley problem my instant reaction is "I bet I'll feel guilty about killing all those people" despite having no problem with the kill-one-to-save-five solution in the standard version.

When I see kids in peril in film, I don't always project my own daughter on to them, and I can watch abducted children movies without freaking out, but I do get it, my mind does start to rebel a bit
posted by 256 at 1:16 PM on May 30, 2013


Books can do it too, and I almost killed a friend who sent me a book where something sad happens to a pet (it was the right way for the story to go, but still) knowing that it was a book I was planning on sneak-reading on my phone at work.

The book was great but it was far too upsetting to reread, which I normally do time and again.
posted by jeather at 1:22 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Books can do it too, and I almost killed a friend who sent me a book where something sad happens to a pet

Absolutely. Someone once sent me a copy of Doris Lessing's On Cats. BAD IDEA. Early on, she talks about killing unwanted kittens, by drowning I think -- I don't remember because I stopped reading the book, and left it behind the next time I moved. I'm not saying it's not a part of people's reality or doesn't happen. I just can't deal with it, and would like to know ahead of time if, you know, kittens die, before investing personal time and emotional energy into something.

Rational? Don't know, don't care, because YAY KITTIES.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 1:31 PM on May 30, 2013


One of the most bizarre things I have ever seen on the internet is a story on David Attenborough crying over seeing animals die painful death in his films.
posted by bukvich at 3:18 PM on May 30, 2013


I didn't have a TV growing up, so whenever I did watch a movie or something, I was enraptured and so engaged and often overwhelmed. Arguments in lighthearted sitcoms would make me cover my eyes.
I watched Black Beauty at my neighbors house when I was about five. It destroyed me.
As a result, I'm not allowing myself to watch Warhorse. The previews made me tear up.
posted by Grandysaur at 3:36 PM on May 30, 2013


Yes to this. And HELL yes.

I will not watch films or TV shows that feature animals, esp. dogs, dying. It started with a viewing of the animated version of Animal Farm and the death of a noble animal in it. From there, it's just gotten worse. To where, like others here, I will avoid films that I even suspect have dog suffering in them.

The Futurama episode noted above was the worst sucker punch I've ever gotten in this respect. From a goofy story about Fry and his dog in the past to...what...the music is sad...and, oh God, the dog thinks that... Just tragic. My then-wife and I were watching the episode over dinner. The meal did not end well, what with the weeping and crushing sadness.

[I had a long bit here about the nobility of dogs. Short form: Dogs love us with a devotion that is unique, in my limited experience. And they make it so easy to love them. Shorter form: NO HURT DOG.]
posted by the sobsister at 4:25 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]



If only I would have had this site before knowing to even start with "I Am Legend". Still traumatized and enraged.


As a fan of the original book, i was also 'traumatized and enraged' by the movie.


For me, at least, it's that I know even the "good guys" in a movie are capable of being bad. Dogs just want to make their people happy no matter who their people are. When they get hurt, they look to their people to make it better even if they were the ones who hurt them. Even mean guard dogs are only mean because they've been trained to be that way.


Huh? I think of it the other way. Even 'bad' humans have the capability to be good. Animals are all instinct, so they're as likely to attack you as befriend me. Most of my interactions with dogs involve them barking at me from behind fences and reading about them attacking people, so I guess I see them more like horror movie monsters. Even the nicest one can turn on you.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:29 PM on May 30, 2013


I guess I see them more like horror movie monsters. Even the nicest one can turn on you.

Huh? This is exactly how I view humans... and yet, I live among them, and indeed am one myself. Scary stuff! But kudos for at least admitting that most of your interactions with dogs involve not interacting with them at all. This makes your assertions that they are "all instinct" and "as likely to attack you as befriend me" seem much more reasonable.
posted by divined by radio at 4:59 PM on May 30, 2013



I can see how someone who hasn't had much interaction could see them like that. One of my dogs is a german shepherd with uber protective instincts. He's trained well but sounds like he would bite your face off when someone comes in the driveway. At least until I tell him it's okay and to shut the hell up. I wouldn't want to be an actual intruder breaking into the house and attacking me. It would not be pretty. With me he is the biggest baby and those he knows he's a total suck up. He's like a big goofy lug who whines like a little forlorn kid when he thinks he needs something. He would be lost without his daily dose of hugs and cuddles. I can see how the difference can seem to some people.
posted by Jalliah at 5:12 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dogs will bark at you if they feel afraid or threatened. It is never out of malice.

but that opinion really kicks into high gear when it comes to any and everything humans tend to consider 'weaker'

I've been thinking about this thread today and trying to put my finger on why I am (in general) sadder about dogs dying than humans dying. I think the "weaker" thing has something to do with it. They are weaker, they are dependent on us and the love and trust us always. If they don't love and trust us, it's because the dog has been so horribly abused by humans that it's scared of us, but that's not the dog's fault.

I almost think of it like a toddler, who is dependent on us and as cute and adorable as a puppy. If I can imagine a toddler that is always happy, always sweet and loving, and I imagine something painful happening to that baby, I would be just as devastated as I would be if it were happening to a dog. And I do find violence toward children very upsetting the way I do dog violence. And then I try to think about a snake. I'm not going to be as haunted by a snake death as I would a dog death, but I do love all animals, so if a snake were tortured and killed I would find that pretty viscerally upsetting. Maybe it's because animals never want to intentionally hurt us - they're only trying to mind their own business or ensure their own survival. They have no ill will or hatred or malice towards us. They're just trying to do their thing. They don't hunt us for kicks. They don't torture, they will not do a thing to us unless it's something they need to do to survive. Humans are not like that. So animals are....harmless? Innocent? Something like that. And you combine that with the fact that dogs are unique in the animal world because in addition to all of that they actually love us pretty much unconditionally and that's what makes it so hard to see animals hurt or killed and especially so with dogs.

Reflecting on all the nature programs I've watched where animals aren't killed by humans, but by other animals - I get sad when one dies but I understand that's how nature works, so it's not such a devastating, visceral sadness. Even if it's a wolf that looks like a dog. So it doesn't bother or haunt me quite as much as a human killing an animal does. So I don't know. Something to do with animals being weaker, innocent and generally helpless and humans (as a species) being none of these things and having the capacity for evil - I think that's why it upsets me so much. And I'm a little taken aback at the suggestion that my moral compass is fundamentally backwards (though I can follow 256s train of thought), because I would have thought it would be the opposite - that someone who wouldn't feel just as sad at the death of an innocent and basically harmless creature as they would a human has something wrong (I do not think that anyone in this thread feels that way).

But overall, reading this thread, with just the talk of dogs dying or suffering has given me such a heavy heart today.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:22 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, I do eat meat. But the treatment of animals at factory farms is appalling enough that I only buy meat that I know is from a farm that treats the animals humanely and slaughters them humanely. It's expensive enough that I ultimately end up eating less meat, but there's my contradiction. After going to the state fair and petting the pigs and seeing them wag their tails at me and learning how smart they are (smarter than dogs!) I had a come to Jesus moment about eating pork. And I didn't swear off pork, but I can't eat it now without a great deal of cognitive dissonance (though I don't remember the last time I ate it). But I'm generally fine with humans being omnivores if we would treat the animals humanely. A few quotes about eating meat that I love:

I’ll never stop eating animals, I’m sure, but I do think that for the benefit of everyone, the time has come to stop raising them industrially and stop eating them thoughtlessly. - Mark Bittman

Most of us think of vegetarians as nuts and I’m not a vegetarian but I wouldn’t be surprised if we came to a time in 50 or 100 years when civilized people everywhere refused to eat animals. I could be one of them. - Andy Rooney
posted by triggerfinger at 6:25 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


[extended derail on the dangers of animals removed, maybe return back to the subject of dogs dying in movies?]
posted by mathowie at 6:52 PM on May 30, 2013


God, we couldn't read any books in middle school if there wasn't at least least one dead pet in them. Except for Sarah Plain and Tall, every damn book killed a dog, except for The Cay that killed a cat. FUCK GREAT LITERACHOOR for always having to be depressing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: no wonder kids don't like to read when that's what they give out.

Cheers for this site, y'all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:05 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Epilogue to my earlier comment: I went to DDD's Facebook page and commented that the listing for "The Future" neglected to mention that the cat dies because the film's protagonists forget to retrieve him from the animal shelter. In a shocking example of actual humans working behind the curtain, an admin responded saying they've since updated the listing, thanks to my note. In fact, the admin (who seems to be one person) is making a ton of updates based on user comments.

Anyway, if this small tweak saves one other person from watching this drek, then my work here is done.

P.S. Miranda July, still, FUCK YOU.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:22 AM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, yes. Thank you. I remember throwing a book violently across the room after the second or third scene when the author decided to show how OH SO EEEEVIL the bad guys were by… y'know, never mind the details of what they did. I threw the book across the room, despite having grown up in a family that darn-near venerated books.

And FWIW, I'm not overly fond of violence toward human characters either. It's just that somehow, even with my hands over my eyes and me humming la-la-la-it'll-be-over-soon, I'm unable to block out violence against animals long enough for my sweetie to say "Okay, safe to look now."
posted by Lexica at 11:43 PM on May 31, 2013


I notice no one here is standing up for the rights of screenwriters and directors to emotionally manipulate us with cheap beloved animal deaths, unspoiled. Who will speak up on behalf of hack screenwriters and directors?!?!
posted by JHarris at 12:18 PM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Counterpoint: Cujo

Cujo is, if anything, actually an example of both the author (in the case of the book) and the director (in the case of the movie) going out of their way very explicitly to explain that Cujo the dog didn't start out violent or evil, but ended up that way as a result of an external factor (bitten on the face by a rabid bat). And that prior to getting infected, he's a sweetheart.

In the book, at least in the version that I remember reading, there's even an epilogue which serves to redeem Cujo somewhat, saying basically that he was always a good dog. It also, IIRC, describes Cujo's owner getting a new puppy, one that's vaccinated against rabies. Taken together, I've always thought it was something of an indictment of Cujo's owner, who is previously illustrated to be an asshole and avoids harm altogether throughout the story.

I've always wondered whether that epilogue/postscript was part of the original novel, supposedly written by King when he was blitzed out of his mind, or if it was added later in a more sober moment to add an additional layer of complexity to the story. The net result seems to be that after cheering for Cujo's death for ~200 pages as he menaces the main character, we're reminded that it wasn't his fault, but we're not given any particularly satisfying resolution. Bad things happen to good peopledogs; we live in a shitty universe devoid of natural justice. If that was always original to the story, it's some pretty impressive drunkwriting.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:11 PM on June 1, 2013


Kadin2048, King mentioned in On Writing that he really likes Cujo and wishes he could remember writing it.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:58 AM on June 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


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