My Dog Skip (2000)
Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Jay Russell (Director)
Audio Commentary-Frankie Muniz (Act) & Mathilde de Cagny (Trainer)
Deleted Scenes-with Director commentary
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Sided||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Jay Russell|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Smoking||Yes, including cigar smoking|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, there are multiple references to Coca-Cola|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Set in Yazoo, Mississippi around the time of World War II, this film is quintessentially American and features scenes that look like they have been lifted out of a painting by Norman Rockwell, adventures and escapades that could have been written by Mark Twain and an emotional and sentimental musical score (by William Ross) with shades of Aaron Copeland.
Willie Morris (Frankie Muniz) is a shy, slightly-built boy who is short for his age. He is just the sort of boy you expect to be the natural target of a school bully - studious, not good at sports, sensitive and caring. And indeed he does get bullied by no less than three kids - Big Boy (Bradley Coryell), Henjie (Daylan Honeycutt) and Spit (Cody Linley) - who I've decided to nickname "Fatty", "Dopey" and "Dirty." His only real friend and hero is the much older Dink Jenkins (Luke Wilson), the much-admired baseball player who gets enlisted and is shipped to the war zone.
On his ninth birthday, Willie receives a puppy as a birthday present from his mother (Diane Lane) - despite the protestations of his father (Kevin Bacon) who thinks Willie is far too young to be able to take care of the dog. The rest of the film is about Willie's relationship with the dog (who he calls Skip). Skip not only provides the companionship that Willie needs but helps Willie win the respect of the three bullies, the friendship of Rivers Applewhite (Caitlin Wachs) - the "prettiest girl in class" - and ultimately transition from boyhood into manhood with pride and dignity. In between are interwoven more serious themes such as the realities of war and racial segregation.
Throughout the film, we get to hear voice-over narration (Harry Connick, Jr.) from a much older Willie reminiscing about his childhood.
What I really liked about this film is that it deals with the more serious issues in a very understated way and never over-preaches, which is most unusual for an American film. For example, instead of making a big deal about racism in the South, the film simply shows Willie making friends with a black boy, then Skip wandering through both the white and black sections of the town so that we can see the difference in lifestyle and affluence, two lines at the cinema segregated by race, and finally at the end we see Willie and his friends watching a baseball game featuring black player Waldo Grace (Jerome Jerald). That's it - no lectures on why racism is bad, finger pointing or holier-than-thou attitudes. Instead we are gently reminded that even though people may be differentiated by race and economic status - at the end of the day there are more similarities than differences.
My Dog Skip is loosely based on a bestselling autobiographical book of the same name published by William Weaks Morris in 1995. The real Willie Morris was born in 1934 in Jackson, Mississippi, but when he was six months old his parents moved to Yazoo City. After studying at institutions such as the University of Texas at Austin and Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar no less), he became in 1967 the youngest ever editor-in-chief at Harpers (the oldest magazine in the United States). He returned to Mississippi in 1980 as a writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi.
He wrote more than a dozen books including two autobiographies and is particularly well-known for the books and articles in which he compares his experiences and his long and complex southern heritage to America's own history. A sense of history, place and family are significant themes in much of his writing.
Willie Morris was consulted during the filming of this movie, but died in 2 August 1999, following a heart attack in Jackson, Mississippi. He managed to see the completed film a week after it was finished but prior to its theatrical release.
This is a very unusual DVD in that it is a dual sided single-layer disc (DVD-10) featuring a complete copy of the film plus all extras on each side. The only difference between the sides is that they feature different foreign language audio tracks and subtitles.
Contrary to the packaging which states that there are 6 subtitle tracks, there are actually no less than 16 subtitles (spread across both sides). I turned on the "English for the Hearing Impaired" subtitle track and can attest to its completeness and accuracy.
I am just as pleased with the quality of the audio track as I am with the video transfer. As this is not an action-oriented film, don't expect any explosions or rumbling bass effects. Instead we get good clear dialogue, a lush musical score and lots of ambient sound effects across the surround speakers (birds twittering, rain falling, etc.)
|Surround Channel Use|
Interesting, the role of Skip is played by two Jack Russell terriers - Enzo and Moose (Moose also plays the dog in Frazier). I was interested to learn that Enzo and Moose have a pretty stormy and competitive relationship with each other!
They only talk for just under 32 minutes so the rest of the commentary track is basically the film soundtrack.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601|