Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.

I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.

The rules are as follows:

  • The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
  • The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before

Today’s unseen ‘90s movie is…

Air Bud (1997)

And so it comes to this – a movie about a basketball playing pooch. No, seriously.

Here’s the official synopsis for Air Bud (courtesy of Amazon): “A lonely boy’s life is transformed when he befriends a ‘wonder’ dog who teaches him to play basketball.”

That description should tell you everything about this movie, as well as everything about why I have never watched Air Bud before today. Don’t get me wrong, I do love dogs, but a dog that teaches basketball? Really?

REALLY?!

So yeah, I’ve never watched Air Bud before today and I’ve never had any interest in it either. I’ve also avoided all of the sequels/spin-offs, of which there are many (around 14 I believe).

My impression of the Air Bud movies is that they are a cash cow for Disney in the same way the Land Before Time films are a cash cow for Universal. The studio can just keep wheeling them out safe in the knowledge that someone will watch them regardless of their quality and that means they don’t have to be very good.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and Air Bud could be the Citizen Kane of dog movies. I suppose I will just have to find out for myself.

I think I will need a drink (or two) to get through this movie.

*Takes a large swig of wine*

*Takes an even larger swig of wine*

*Clicks the play button*

45secs – There’s an actor in this movie called Eric Christmas. What a name! And how appropriate that I should be watching this around Christmas time and Eric Christmas pops up!

*Takes another swig of wine*

1min – I wonder how much money the dog got paid to appear in this film. They paid him, right?

1min 10secs – He’s a very cute dog, I can see why this film is popu….

1min 20secs – No. No. No. I see what’s happening here. The makers of this film think I will buy into this crap because of the cute dog; well no – it ain’t happening. No, sir.

2mins – Oh he is cute though. Look at his little face.

Image: ©Walt Disney Pictures

*Swigs more wine*

3mins 30secs – The dog catches balls in his mouth. Wow. I once knew a guy who could catch balls in his mouth too. He was very popular. Never short on dates.

*Swigs more wine*

8mins – When’s the dog coming back on screen?

14mins – So, the gist of this movie is that Kevin Zegers – who will later appear in such movies as 2005’s Transamerica – is a sad, lonely kid who is struggling to get over the death of his father. His mother – in her infinite wisdom – has decided that the best way for Kevin to deal with this traumatic event is to move house, switch schools and make him learn how to play the trombone! This is actually the plot of the movie – I’m not making this up.

18mins – Kevin Zegers has just befriended the dog. To win the dog’s trust he’s given the mutt a yogurt.

18mins 20secs – Dogs are so easily bought. If I was that dog I would have held out for an ice cream or a Mars bar or something like that. At the very least I would have expected a Müller Corner.2

27mins – The dog has just had a bath, but got over excited and has now wrecked the house. Oh, the silly sausage. Did I mention he likes yogurt and basketball? This is the cutest dog ever and…

27mins 30secs – …gah! Stop trying to win me over with the cuteness factor. I want a strong narrative; I want character depth; I want punchy dialogue; I want… to see this dog eating more yogurt!

*Swigs more wine*

42mins – Time has moved on and it’s Christmas! Does this make Air Bud a Christmas movie? Is this why Eric Christmas is in this film?

42mins 30secs – Oh I wonder what Kevin Zegers is getting for Christmas?

42mins 40secs – Really?! OH COME ON! Kevin’s mum has just given him the dog as a Christmas present. Er… hang on a minute, the dog is already living in your VERY LARGE, VERY EXPENSIVE house and you try and give him as a gift? Jeez… get the kid a Nintendo, you tight cow.

*Swigs more wine, while serving up a disapproving look*

44mins – The dog has just demonstrated his basketball skills. He’s like a hairy Larry Bird. Someone sign this pooch up.

45mins – Hmm, I wonder, is this dog good at other sports?

*Googles Air Bud*

Jeez, according to Wikipedia this dog has a fine sporting career throughout the sequels, becoming an American football player in the next movie, then a football player in the third film, followed by a baseball player and finally a volleyball player! Hang on, back up a minute – a baseball playing dog?! What?! How the heck does the dog hold the bat?

*Opens another bottle of wine*

52mins – OK, so the dog has just proved himself to be a star on the basketball court. His dribbling skills are off the chart.

*Waits for laughter*

I said, his DRIBBLING skills are off the chart.

You see, he’s a dog and dog’s tend to drib…

…oh forget it.

I’m wasted here.

1hr 1min – Kevin Zegers and the dog are forming a very close friendship… so according to Dog Movies 101 something bad is due to happen soon.

1hr 3mins – Yep, the dog’s owner (who is an arsehole by the way) has just turned up to take the dog away. This man is not trust worthy.

Image: ©Walt Disney Pictures

1hr 9mins – Kevin Zegers has just stolen the dog back from his owner. Is that legal?

1hr 11mins – After (questionably) stealing the dog, Zegers has now decided to free his best friend to ensure he can live a better life away from his abusive owner. I WILL NOT CRY. I WILL NOT CRY.

1hr 11mins 30secs – Zegers has just given the dog a yogurt as a reminder of the good ol’ days…. as he says goodbye.

1hr 12mins – I WILL NOT CRY. I WILL NOT CRY.

*Gulps wine*

1hr 13mins – The dog doesn’t seem to understand, so Zegers has just thrown a basketball into the distance, so the dog will follow it, allowing him to leave the dog behind.

1hr 13mins 30secs – I WILL NOT C…

*Bursts into tears*

1hr 14mins – Stupid emotional film.

*Pours more wine*

1hr 20mins – That was so emotional. I don’t know how I will get over this. Oh, the dog is back. Already? It’s only been six minutes!

1hr 20mins 30secs – And now the dog is playing basketball.

1hr 22mins – I’m not sure the dog is actually playing basketball. He appears to be drooling and running about. I mean, we can all do that.

1hr 25mins – To be fair, the dog is better player than most of the kids on this team. I’m not sure what that says about the kids.

1hr 27mins – Oh crap, the dog’s owner has just turned up again and wants the dog back (again). I dislike this man.

1hr 28mins – And now there’s a court case over the ownership of the dog!

*Pauses film*

My husband has just walked in the room and is questioning the legitimacy of these court rooms scenes. He says this isn’t an accurate representation of a court case and certainly doesn’t reflect how laws are passed.

I’ve just had to explain to him that this is a film about a basketball playing dog.

*Swigs more wine*

*Presses play*

1hr 33mins – Kevin Zegers has won custody of the dog! Hurrah! As if there was ever any doubt. Now maybe the dog will get a shot at the NBA.

*Clicks stop*

Air Bud was very, very predictable and clearly not aimed at anyone over the age of eight, but the dog was cute and the film was inoffensive. I’m finding it difficult to say it was a pile of crap.

Back in 1997, when Air Bud was released, I was too old for this movie. In 2018, I’m now waaaay too old for this movie, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not OK.

That’s not a recommendation, but sort of a justification for why this film has managed to spawn 14 sequels. Parents can sit their kids down in front of Air Bud safe in the knowledge that nothing bad will happen.

Plus, the dog is so cute!

Did I just defend Air Bud? I think I need another drink.

Or it’s possible that I’ve had too much.

Right that’s 62 films done – just another 28 to go. I shall work my way through the final 28 in 2019.

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: Robin Hood (1991)Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)Hercules and Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus (1998)Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)F/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991)Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)Showgirls (1995)American History X (1998)North (1994)Jack Frost (1998)Psycho (1998)A League of Their Own (1992)Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)Patch Adams (1998)My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)You’ve Got Mail (1998)Sleepless in Seattle (1993)Graveyard Shift (1990)Johnny Mnemonic (1995)Striptease (1996) Indecent Proposal (1993)My Girl 2 (1994)The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)Poison Ivy (1996)Body of Evidence (1993)Turbulence (1997)Fatal Instinct (1993)True Romance (1993)Newsies (1992)Contact (1997)The Pelican Brief (1993)Natural Born Killers (1994)Shakespeare in Love (1998)A Perfect Murder (1998)Quigley Down Under (1990)Of Mice and Men (1992),Friday (1995)Mannequin on the Move (1991)She’s All That (1999)Double Dragon (1994)Stay Tuned (1992)Murder at 1600 (1997),Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993)My Own Private Idaho (1991)Wagons East (1994)In the Line of Fire (1993)Postcards from the Edge (1990)Universal Soldier (1992)Passenger 57 (1992)Mo’ Better Blues (1990)The Client (1994)Good Will Hunting (1997)Pump Up the Volume (1990)Mr. Nanny (1993) Fargo (1996)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).