As a child in the '90s, you had everything. Clip on earrings from Claire’s, tie dye everything, and a Spice Girls CD that was turning your whole world upside down. But your parents were probably a little stricter when it came to giving you the pets that you wanted. And it’s not like the entertainment industry helped much; there were so many ‘90s movies that made you want a dog so bad. What was that about, anyway? Was the whole of Hollywood funded by dog breeders? Because it felt like you couldn’t be a kid in a ‘90s movie without first identifying as a dog owner, and second as a human being.
If your family was averse to pets, maybe every time you wrote a letter to Santa, begging for a pup of your own, you ended up with a stuffed animal (which was such a checkmate of a move). In retrospect, your weird dog obsession was almost certainly fueled by the sheer number of films that either were all about dogs or about their owners. Or the sheer number of films that proposed the idea that dog-human bonds might even be more important than those between people. The '90s were heady days for animal fans, and now it's time to relive them.
This was actually pretty cutting edge for a dog movie. Written under a pseudonym by John Hughes (AKA the guy behind The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink) and boasting an early performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this is a great gateway drug for anyone who isn't yet convinced they're into '90s dog movies.
But the real star was Beethoven, a St. Bernard with a taste for the composer he's named after. You couldn't help but watch this and assume that your piano practice would be so much more fun if you had your own dog to enjoy the sweet tinkling of the ivories with, rather than your little sister stuffing her fingers into her ears in mock horror.
2'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey'
For starters, it stars an American bulldog voiced by Michael J. Fox. Plus, if you wanted a chiller pet, Shadow, the golden retriever, is older and calmer. The whole spectrum of the dog owning possibilities were embodied in these two.
Important life lesson: it's never not appropriate to have your dalmatians act as bridesmaids at your wedding.
This pup was a goddamn hero; did you know this movie was based on a true story? Yes, there actually was a dog who helped save children from the diphtheria epidemic in the 1925 serum run to Nome. What have you done that's better than that? Nothing.
5'Far From Home: The Adventures Of Yellow Dog'
If you never owned a golden retriever, what would happen when your boat capsizes and you end up in the wilderness? Even if you had Angus' wilderness survival savvy, it's hard to imagine making it home minus a puppy. Oddly, parents remained unconvinced by this argument, pointing out that you were basically never in a boat. Pfft.
"The greatest secret to survival is friendship." Once again, another movie fueling your fears that, minus a canine companion (or close enough — a wild wolfdog), you'd never make it out of whatever wilderness survival scenario you were in.
7'All Dogs Go To Heaven 2'
So, admittedly, this film is the weirdest. The first film — which focused on a murdered German Shepherd trading his place in heaven to go back to earth — really didn't require a sequel. The second film allowed Charlie once again to escape heaven and head back to earth, which gave you the impression that pet mortality was fluid, which made you want a dog even more.
This slayed if you were big hearted. The very idea that some dogs could be abused, much like people are, and that you could rescue them from a horrible scenario made your desire to be a dog owner feel even more noble and unselfish. Also made you cry on the regular.
He. Could. Play. Basketball. (Also, nifty clown costume).
A dog isn't a dog; it's your reincarnated father. Wait, that's creepy? Huh.
This was great because Rover Dangerfield didn't just trade off being cute; he was funny and cool and had bucketfuls of moxie.
Because dogs aren't just our animal companions; they're like personal trainers. Under extreme physical duress, they'll be nudging you to the finish line like "You got this."
13'A Goofy Movie'
You never understood the fuss about Mickey. Goofy was way more down with the kids, had style, and could sing. You were absolutely certain that any dog you'd own would possess exactly these qualities.
As these films all showed, if you were lonely and needed a friend? Get a dog. If you feared you’d be in some sort of gritty survival-of-the-fittest situation? Get a dog. If you wanted someone to appreciate your piano stylings? Get a dog. Short on a bridesmaid? Well, you know the drill. I’ll never totally understand the tidal wave of dog movies that dominated the ‘90s, but they certainly did what they said on the tin and made you really, really made you want a dog.