The Major Flaw In The Air Bud Franchise

This entry was posted on Jun 27 2012

There’s no way that dog should have been allowed to play on that middle school basketball team. There, I said it. Come on, we were all thinking it! But here’s my dilemma. You see, originally when I planned to write this article, I was going to call bullshit on the premise of a golden retriever playing basketball with kids. I might not be able to do that anymore. This is not to say that the dog could not physically play basketball. The idea that a show business dog could bounce a basketball into the air with his head is actually not farfetched enough for me to deny. I’m much angrier that the dog was ALLOWED to play ball with these kids. When Coach Arthur Chaney initially calls for the dog to enter the game, the decision is met with controversy, primarily from the rival team’s head coach and it’s star player’s father. Chaney assures them, as well as the referee, that they would not find any regulation in the rulebook that states a dog can not play in the game. The referee promptly opens the rulebook (which I guess he happened to have on him) to a random page and decrees, “ain’t no rule says a dog can’t play basketball!”

Well, by those standards what the fuck can’t play basketball? I suppose anything is in play really. Because if a dog truly shouldn’t be allowed to play basketball, then of course the author of the rulebook would have written that specifically. The author clearly must have had the foresight to predict this very event, and obviously he would never want that punk Larry Willingham to win the big game! Hey man, I bet it doesn’t say that a ravenous grizzly bear or a hungry crocodile can’t play no basketball either! Timeout ref! We have two subs coming in! The obvious retort to this would be of course that those are dangerous animals and one of the kids could get hurt. But who’s to say that dog wasn’t dangerous? Clearly Buddy wasn’t a threat, but how could they be sure? There are tons of cases every year of dogs that were supposedly very friendly biting the face off a baby. That dog does a few halftime shows for the school and suddenly we’re all supposed to look the other way? Nowhere during Air Bud’s 98 minute runtime does that kid or his mom take that dog to the vet for the proper shots. That dog could have been packed to the gills with rabies! It could have had some dormant flesh eating disease or something. But the refs allow the dog to enter the game without even asking for it’s papers. Once again the outcome of a basketball game is marred by sloppy officiating.

The Pterodactyl only got on the team because his mom complained.

And not to jump to conclusions here, but that dog should have been tested for performance enhancing drugs. Either right there before he entered the game, or afterwards (in which a failed test would result in a forfeit). There’s no way that dog should have been as athletically gifted as it presented itself. Buddy’s diet throughout this film was literally pizza, ice-cream, vanilla pudding, and SpaghettiOs. That dog should have had Type 2 diabetes before the warm-ups. That stupid kid feeds that dog ten plus Vanilla Snack Packs over the course of the film. Do you know how much sugar and fat are in those things? There’s no nutritional value! That emaciated dog should have keeled over after the second vanilla pudding it ate! But no… Not only is that dog apathetic to carb counting, but it doesn’t seem to care much about basic dieting at all! But lo and behold, that dog’s climbing up the rose trellis, jumping on top of the roof, and breaking into the kid’s room! Then he’s draining three pointers and racking up assists! He never even takes a water break. In reality, that dog would have gone into anaphylactic shock before the first jump ball. Well, actually, in real reality, the alcoholic clown would have beaten the dog to death in the first ten minutes. If Buddy really wants to be a champion, it should spent an afternoon with Lance Armstrong and learned a thing or two! Buddy would have trotted back to that dumb kid’s house wearing LiveStrong bracelets on all four legs. And then he would have won the Tour de France. Because why not, right?

Then how'd he hit all those home-runs? Wait, which movie am I talking about?

Alright, let’s look past the fact that the dog shouldn’t have been allowed into the game. He’s in the game now. Why couldn’t these other kids cover him? I concede that the dog is going to be faster than these twelve year old boys, but contest the idea that they couldn’t guard him. Even at their age, they were still like two feet taller than the dog. Just stand over him. No one seemed to be able to cover that dog, and that was made painfully obvious by the Warrior’s coach, whose only line for the rest of the movie would be, “will somebody cover the dog!” Then Larry Willingham is called for fouling the dog. He basically runs him over; it was a good call. But moments later Buddy hits Larry right in the crotch and there’s no whistle. The dog can’t be called for a foul? Or maybe it’s because of the unwritten “star player” rule, right LeBron? If I’m that coach, I recognize that the dog is taking over the game and leading his team to a massive comeback. So, what do you do? You do what needs to be done. Sweep the leg. You Karate Kid that dog. You have your worst player take the dog out of the game. Crush that dog. Stomp it’s leg or chop it in the throat. Whatever it takes. You have a problem with that (no, sensei)? This is middle school basketball, man. This shit is important. Of course that kid is ejected and becomes a social pariah, but at least the dog is too injured to play. And if it doesn’t get injured, you know at the very least it’s animal instincts would take over and it would bite that kid’s face off. In which case Animal Control would promptly arrive to the scene to put Air Bud down, probably at center court by lethal injection.

Now back to my dilemma. Before writing this article, I decided to re-watch Air Bud and takes notes (so I had an accurate portrayal of the movie). What I didn’t expect was how much I still love this movie. It’s heartwarming, dammit! The kid loves the dog and the dog loves the kid and the kid’s dad is dead and the dog’s owner was an alcoholic clown and the clown used to beat the dog and the kid never beats the dog and they play basketball together and sometimes they make out and it’s all so damn touching. They were such a great team, on and off the court. The kid was Scotty Pippen to the dog’s Michael Jordan. I almost cried when the kid is trying to get rid of the dog because the alcoholic clown guy is just going to come back to take him away. He tries to set the dog free, but the dog doesn’t want to go, and it’s beautiful. I guess it touched me because that’s kind of how I view my friends. As dogs. Like, when we all hang out I brush their fur and feed them scraps from the dinner table. Usual best friend stuff, ya know? I started thinking… Man, if I was hanging out with my pals and some deadbeat clown showed up claiming them to be his property and hitting them on their snouts with a newspaper, that’d be a bummer.

So, I’m torn. I don’t want the dog to play in that game because society has a set of rules we should abide by and never question, right Capitol of Panem? But I kind of need that dog to play in the game so he and the kid can keep being friends, and that snot nosed Larry Willingham can go home a loser who gets beat up by his dad later off-screen. And the reason I haven’t brought up any of the sequels to this movie is because those are all too ridiculous to even pretend to take seriously. How could that dog hold a bat in his mouth and hit a fastball? Most PEOPLE can’t hit a fastball, but the dog can hit a fastball? I don’t know, maybe he doesn’t. I haven’t seen it and never will. But bouncing a basketball off his head into a hoop? Not entirely unbelievable. Though I don’t know how much further they can really take this franchise. He’s played all the major sports: basketball, baseball, football, soccer, volleyball. To keep the audience interested it would have to get insane. I want to see Air Bud play rugby or cricket. And those movies better have a cool pun name!

Air Bud: Horsin' Around

Air Bud brought in over $23 million at the box office, making it the highest grossing film of all-time. So clearly America believes the dog should be allowed to play basketball. I don’t know… I’ve always been in the minority with my opinions, so why should it be any different now? Air Bud is a film that transcends time and space. It will live forever because it’s everything everyone has always dreamed of. To play basketball with a dog. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. was trying to tell us, ya’ll. Whether I like it or not, that dog played basketball with kids. And they won the championship because of it. I mean, I’m not sure that game should have ever taken place to be honest. The dog didn’t enter the game until the second half, and they didn’t have enough players before the game started. Don’t you need a certain number of players on your active roster? Shouldn’t they have had to forfeit? The NBA says you need at least eight players dressed before the start of the game. They had seven (and three of them I think I was seeing for the first time). Arthur Chaney was going to work those kids until exhaustion and the school system was going to allow. Which makes Arthur Chaney no better than Hitler, and the school a mirror image of Nazi Germany. This film should have been a political commentary rather than a family friendly romp through the world of middle school basketball. Oh, what does it matter what I think? Bottom line is, I still think this movie would have been better if instead of a golden retriever, they used the pug from Men In Black. And Tim Blaney should have still done the voiceover work. He also did the voice of Johnny 5. Awesome.

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