We all have keepsakes from childhood. For some it’s a grandmother’s locket; others safeguard a stuffed animal or a special blanket with their name embroidered into the fabric. But for most of us, the treasure is simpler, humbler—and yet more magical.
For most American twentysomethings, childhood is wrapped up in the film Air Bud and its ensuing franchise of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs. Whether it was the O.G. Air Bud—the first saga in which we together realized that “ain’t no rule says a dog can’t play basketball”—or any of the brilliantly titled films that followed, including the football epic Air Bud: Golden Receiver, the baseball thrill-ride Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, or any of the carefully plotted Air Buddies films, such as the self-explanatory Snow Buddies, Space Buddies, or Super Buddies, we as an audience were all-fucking-in.
But it seems not everyone has kept the faith concerning straight-to-video movies about dogs playing sports. There’s been a spate of seething, one-star reviews of the various films on Amazon, and we here at the Daily Dot are confused and dismayed. And we want answers.
For starters, Amazon user “lmichaelscott” has this to say about Air Bud: “Please just imagine if you were Fernfield basketball player that lost his job to a golden retriever. I mean, maybe a border collie, but if you want me to believe a dog off the street shoots about 70% from the field?” Another user who chose to comment anonymously (have the courage to name yourself, detractor!) said simply, “Even innocent little kids will be horrified by this one.” One man’s inspiration is another man’s horror.
In “S Mcqueen’s” single and only Amazon review, he or she claims that the foremost flaw in Golden Receiver is that “Dogs do not play football people play football. I think this movie is mocking those young athletes saying that “A dog can play sports better then [sic] you, so give up you failure.”
In reviewing World Pup, Amazon user “Vinny” confusingly makes the claim that it “is not really the best movie. I’ve seen it but then I stopped watching it forever and ever. I’m not really into soccer movies.” Not into soccer movies, Vinny? Are you also not into friendship, animals, magic, or the heart-wrenching struggle between nature and aspiration? Or maybe you, like Sisyphus, simply object to any task that lasts “forever and ever,” BUT NO ONE IS ASKING YOU TO WATCH IT FOREVER, VINNY. Everyone gets Bud fatigue now and then.
In his or her one-star review of Snow Buddies, “syrgal” perplexingly wrote only “super,” and a number of reviewers complained that in Santa Buddies, children are filmed praying to Santa. As “4girlymom” writes, “It never mentions the real reason (our Savior’s birth) for Christmas, but has children praying to Santa. Children are drawn in by the cute dogs… Even Santa is reduced to a hopeless weakling without the power of a dog.”
Real vitriol. We have to wonder, though—are these people not misconstruing the spirit of Air Bud? Isn’t the lesson we’re meant to take away from Buddy and his progeny that rules are made to be broken, records shattered, and expectations defied? If the Air Bud films were intended to be unexceptional, they’d never have caught our attention in the first place. They’d be about a dog who can’t play basketball.
That film is called My Dog Skip, and it is fucking heartbreaking.
Conclusion? Air Bud haters simply have no room in their hearts for wonder. Or object to the deification of Santa Claus. Maybe half and half.
Photo via @AIRBUD/Twitter