Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Rucker Christmas + Marley & Me

Rucker family Christmas tradition has never included the apparently very popular practice of taking the family to see a movie. Typically we spend the morning eating breakfast, then opening presents, then having extended family over and repeating the process of eating food and opening presents. It's worked out pretty well for us.

This year however, was different. I mean we still ate all that food in the morning, but instead of stuffing our faces with more food in the afternoon, we went to a movie with the family instead. And the movie we chose was the Labrador retriever-starring Marley & Me, with Jeniffer Aniston and Owen Wilson.

Having already read the book, I knew that the story would resonate with my family, considering there were 5 dogs at my house on Christmas and 3 of them were labs. One of the pups, my brother's dog, Ripley, even reminds me a lot of Marley because of his.. "energetic" ways.

So first things first: thank GOODNESS we ordered the tickets online because this was definitely the movie of choice for families this Christmas. The movie was sold out and the line to get in the theater wrapped throughout the entire building. It would be no easy task to find all 11 of us seats. But instead of trying to find an empty row of 11 seats, we ended up sitting in several small groups of seats scattered around the theater, which ended up working out fine.

I was really excited about this movie. And I was EXTREMELY pleased with the final product. A journalism professor of mine once said, "You can never go wrong with a good dog story," but I think you can- by taking a good dog story and translating it poorly to the screen. Luckily that didn't happen with Marley & Me.

The movie is based on the book, Marley & Me, by John Grogan. The (true) story centers around Grogan, playing in the film by Owen Wilson, and the love he and his family develop for their rather mischievous dog, Marley. Wilson did a fantastic job as Grogan, the main character (besides Marley) in the story. I was glad to see Owen pull off a slightly more dramatic role than we're used to seeing him in.

Jennifer Aniston also did a great job as Grogan's wife Jenny, who has many emotional ups and downs throughout the story (which is told from the beginning of their marriage, through raising three kids). There were only a couple of occasions where I thought "Rachel!" but then again, who wouldn't? It's Jennifer Aniston.

Most dog movies use cheesy chase scenes and ridiculous scenarios to provide the entertainment, and don't get me wrong, M&M had some of these, but these types of gags weren't relied upon to carry the movie.

M&M is a movie with true heart that will no doubt have you laughing one minute and crying the next.

After it was over and we all took a moment to compose ourselves, the 11 Ruckers regrouped and all agreed: Marley & Me was a fantastic. Everyone, whether they had read the book or not, really loved the film.

You definitely owe it to yourself (and Jennifer Aniston) to go see Marley & Me this weekend.

You'll be glad you did!

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