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Douglas Pratt

By Douglas Pratt

Marley & Me: Bad Dog Edition

Running 115 minutes, the enormously popular 2008 family film, Marley & Me, depicts the full life of a family dog as the family grows up around him. In his younger years, he is especially rambunctious, which contributed to the film’s superb marketing campaign that suggested the movie would be another Beethoven-style slapstick piece. Instead, the film is truly about the role a pet plays in the emotional adhesion of a family unit, and audiences, suckered in by the ad, were then solidly hooked by the movie’s emotional payoff. Owen Wilson andJennifer Aniston, who make a terrific screen couple, star. They play journalists (the source book, a true story, was written by one), back when the profession still had a future, who marry and first obtain the dog as an interim step before babymaking. In effect, the animal prepares them, expertly, for the unanticipated disasters and challenges that children will bring later on. The film tracks their lives and the advances and hiccups in their careers as they do eventually have kids, move a couple of times, and go through the other strains and stresses that test virtually all relationships. The dog is the embodiment and guardian of their love, which he holds for safekeeping until they are mature enough to not let go of it themselves.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has released Marley & Me on DVD and as a 2-Disc Bad Dog Edition The second platter of Bad Dog Edition contains a copy of the film that can be downloaded onto handheld viewing devices, but the first platter also has more special features. Most smartly of all, Fox has also put out a 3-Disc Bad Dog Edition Blu-ray which has the downloadable version of the film on one platter, the BD with all of the special features, of course, on another, and a third platter containing the standard DVD, so that you can have a fancy one for the living room and a spare for the kids’ room.

On all, the picture is presented in letterboxed format only, with an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 and an accommodation for enhanced 16:9 playback. The colors are bright and stable. The DVDs have 5.1-channel Dolby Digital sound, which has a functional dimensionality. There are alternate French and Spanish tracks in standard stereo and optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. The BD had DTS-HD, which has a noticeably fuller and crisper sound, and has three foreign language tracks in 5.1 Dolby, along with six subtitling options, including English. The standard DVD comes with 6 minutes of deleted scenes and 6 minutes of bloopers. The Bad Dog Edition and the BD have 26 minutes of deleted scenes, with an optional commentary by director David Frankel, who talks a little bit about the movie’s production as he also explains why the scenes were dropped (primarily to keep the pace up). Along with the bloopers, there are also 20 minutes of production featurettes (twenty-two different dogs were used to represent the one dog during the different phases of his life and alternate behavior requirements) and a 5-minute segment about adopting dogs. The BD has two additional features, a good 17-minute segment on getting dogs to behave and a subtitling track with even more information about working with and caring for the animals.

– by Douglas Pratt

Douglas Pratt’s DVD-Laser Disc Newsletter is published monthly.
For a free sample, call (516)594-9304 or go to his website at

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon