Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Overlooked Sub-Genre

There are many great sports movies out there, from the inspiring Hoosiers to the comedic Bad News Bears. There are Disney's formulaic, yet heart-tugging based-on-a-true-story stories (Miracle, Remember the Titans) and there are the great sports documentaries like Ken Burns' Baseball or Hoop Dreams. But one often overlooked sub-category of sports films is the K-9 Sports Genre, which today is largely sustained by Air Bud (although I hear Snow Dogs was excellent). Did you know there are now six Air Bud movies? Besides the original Air Bud (basketball), we have Air Bud: Golden Receiver (football), World Pup (soccer), Seventh Inning Fetch (baseball) and Air Bud Spikes Back ("A dog that plays volleyball helps investigators solve a rash of mysterious crimes"). This one inexplicably went straight to video. The latest Air Bud movie marks new territory. It's called Air Buddies (featuring the voice talent of Don Knotts in his last role). When Air Bud and Molly (Air Bud's bitch) are dog napped, their five adorable pups, the Air Buddies, must save the day. I must admit that at first I was concerned with the notion of Air Bud, an institution in the aforementioned K-9 Sports Genre, venturing away from the sports story lines and tackling such a hard-hitting issue as dog napping, but then I got to thinking that if this movie franchise is successful in reinventing itself, the Columbos and Matlocks of the world should be on alert.

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