The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Puppies and prodegies

| Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let’s talk about Air Bud.

Most of us are familiar with the ‘90s film that documents the unexpectedly impressive athletic abilities of America’s most loveable Golden-Labrador mix and the charming human-animal friendship that comes along the way.

Seems harmless, right?

Not quite. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time this semester considering Air Bud through an analytical lens. When you take a step back, disregarding nostalgia for Buddy and his basketball sneakers, the entire concept of Air Bud becomes ridiculous.

First, let’s just think about the premise of the movie itself. The Yahoo! Movies plot summary reads as follows: “Josh meets a Golden Retriever and finds out that he can play basketball.” Even though the plot is based on the athletic abilities of a real-life rescue dog, I’m sure someone must have addressed the fact that it was slightly unrealistic.

But not only did this movie get produced, it became a franchise. As of this year, there are 14 movies in the franchise. Fourteen. Buddy showcased his talents in a variety of sports and produced equally gifted offspring, stars of the ever-popular spin-off series “Air Buddies.” In addition to being canine athletic prodigies, these puppies also conveniently have the ability to talk. What’s even more impressive is that these English-speaking puppies go on adventures, ranging from visiting Alaska to traveling to outer space, even managing to develop supernatural abilities in the 2013 smash-hit “Super Buddies.”

The topic of Air Bud has become way too important to me recently, much to the annoyance of anyone who interacts with me. It’s not that I’m angry that a movie about a Golden Retriever who loves pudding and sports made somewhere around $23 million. I’m not even jealous that a four-legged creature is better at sports than I’ll ever be.

More than anything, I have a newfound appreciation for the film. In a modern society characterized by rationality, it’s refreshing to see the success of a film series based on an absurdly unfeasible portrait of canine athleticism. I’d even go so far as to say the producers of “Air Bud” are cinematic revolutionaries. They ingeniously used the loveable charm of Buddy the basketball-playing dog to distract an entire generation of American audiences from the fact that they were watching a movie about a basketball-playing dog.

I recently discovered that a new “Air Buddies” film is being released in 2015. When asked if I have the desire see what the next outrageous adventure of the canine sports sensations will be, the answer is ‘definitely.’ I’m committed to doing my part in making sure the film legacy of Buddy lives on in all of its blatantly unrealistic glory.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Keri O'Mara

Contact Keri