Air Bud: Golden Receiver

Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998)

Doggie-style film barks up right tree

Dogs are stupid. I’ve never really liked them, and I probably never will.

Before you start sending hate mail, let me say that the above statement is certainly not an attack on the owners of dogs. I know several owners of dogs, and they are fine people. They have just made a horrible mistake.

Think about it – if you had a child who barked, tried to hump your guests legs and had to be taken outside every few hours to defecate, you would probably abandon that child on the doorstep of a monastery. You certainly wouldn’t reward it with a biscuit.

So when I heard about the release of Air Bud: Golden Receiver back in 1998, a movie starring a dog of all things, I was in no rush to see the film. In fact, I managed to avoid seeing the film until just recently.

Air Bud: Golden Receiver poster

I was at the local library last week, using their bathroom to properly dispose of my crack needle, when I walked by the recently returned shelf. What was on the shelf, you may ask? Why it was a VHS copy of Air Bud: Golden Receiver!

I picked it up, and said to myself, “Mr. Gaynor (I call myself that out of respect), you must watch this film. You must use your forum to tell the world what an atrocity this film is, so no others will be subjected to it.” There was just one flaw in the plan – Air Bud: Golden Receiver just happens to be one of the most exhilarating cinematic experiences that I have ever witnessed.

Air Bud: Golden Receiver tells the tale of a golden retriever (a popular breed of dog) named Bud that has the ability to play a variety of sports, including football. While it might be easy to write this off as your typical canine sports flick, there are several other themes and subplots that come together to make this a truly special film.

The relationship between Bud and his owner Josh is certainly the heart of this film. While any other young man might have been humiliated by the fact that that his dog consistently steals his spotlight by outperforming him in every sport he tries, Josh takes it all in stride, allowing his four legged amigo his moment in the sun. When it comes to friendship, Josh truly likes it doggie style.

Another subplot involves a bumbling pair of Russian circus folks, who are hell bent on adding Bud as their latest sideshow attraction, alongside a skateboarding monkey. The last two words in the previous sentence pretty much guarantee that I am going to give this movie a 10/10.

Of course this film wouldn’t work if not for a solid actor, or actors in this case in the title role. Bud is actually played by six different dogs. While I personally found none of them to be likeable actors, I was still very impressed by their performances. They all reminded me of another talented yet not so loveable star, Russell Crowe.

Mr. Crowe is a fantastic actor, and I am a big fan of his work in films such as Gladiator, Master and Commander and Cinderella Man. However, from all accounts, he is a nasty man who would just as soon hit you over the head with a telephone as look at you. However, I am able to put that aside and enjoy his performances regardless, just as I was able to do with the six Buds.

I cannot believe that I deprived myself of eight years of enjoyment by waiting so long to see this film. All those years that I spent avoiding the movie just because it starred a dog, I was truly barking up the wrong tree. Air Bud: Golden Receiver not only scores a touchdown, it also converts the extra point, does a celebratory dance in the end zone, and sniffs the opposing quarterback’s ass.

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