Saturday, August 31, 2013

Does the Dog Die?

Ever reach a point in a movie when you’re scrounging for the last three kernels of popcorn at the bottom of the tub while onscreen there’s a killer on the loose? A loveable pooch stumbles upon the crime in progress and wags his tail, panting happily. The murderer stares him down and an unwelcome thought creeps into your head—hold on a second—they’re not going to kill the dog, are they?

If a human meets an untimely cinematic demise, we hardly bat an eyelash. In fact, the audience has come to expect it. Most men will be disappointed if someone isn’t blown to smithereens in an unsightly manner (apologies for the sexist comment). In addition to possibly entertaining the males in the audience, human deaths create plot points and add crucial conflict to the story.

But killing the family pet? Why is it such an affront to animal lovers? Is it because they’re only innocent bystanders with zero culpability? Come on, people! IT’S JUST A MOVIE.

If, like me, you’re still upset over “Old Yeller,” refuse to see “Marley & Me” or were on the edge of your seat for “Zero Dark Thirty,” praying nothing happened to the fearless military dog on the mission (true story, after all), there’s an ever so helpful Web site called  

“The most important movie question…” the site’s banner reads. Find approximately six hundred movies alphabetically or by using the search box. A smiling yellow dog face means the animal lives happily ever after, a frowning brown face means the pet is injured but lives, or—horror of horrors—a sad grey face means—well, you know what it means. Don’t make me spell it out, the site does that for you while succinctly summing up the circumstances.

My second book in the Randi Sterling mystery series (working title A-Framed) features a plethora of dogs and, to put your mind at ease, none of them were harmed in the creation of my tail. Pun intended.

What's your take? If the dog dies do you want to throw your popcorn at the screen? Demand your money back? Tweet nasty things about the screenwriter? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

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