Skippy (1931)

skippy

Starring: Jackie Cooper, Robert Coogan, Mitzi Green, Jackie Searl

Director: Norman Taurog

Summary: Boys from opposite sides of the track try to raise money for a dog license

Other nominations: Director*, Actor (Cooper), Adapted Screenplay

Positives

-Although he certainly didn’t deserve a Best Actor win, Jackie Cooper is a great actor for a nine year old, and this solidified him as the go-to child actor for a generation. The most infamous thing this movie is remembered for is that Director Taurog got Cooper, his nephew, to cry in one scene by telling him he was going to kill Cooper’s own dog. After finding out his dog was fine, Cooper pretty much never spoke to Taurog ever again, not surprisingly.

Negatives

-The last 30 minutes of this film was the most soul crushing thing I’ve seen since Requiem for a Dream. Seriously, the movie takes a shockingly dark turn out of nowhere from regular kids film to End of Evangelion-level downer when *spoilers* the dogcatcher shot the fucking dog and it’s entirely because Skippy’s dad and some other kid were pieces of shit. *spoilers* Seriously, there is NOTHING that would lead you assume this could possibly be coming. In a different movie this would be fine or even great, but there’s a distinct problem with how this movie did it: it actually attempts have a happy ending afterwards, which is impossible as there is no coming back from what happened; the fact that it was so unnecessary and avoidable makes it even worse. Either do it at the very end (like another well-known movie would later do), or do it early enough before you established what kind of movie this is and go from there in a darker direction for the rest of the film. They chose the very worst possible choice here.

-I hate everyone in this movie, who range from merely annoying to needs to get punched in the face repeatedly. Cooper is a good actor, but good lord Coogan and the other kids are not. There is not one likable character or actor in this movie except for Cooper; truly, this was Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s crowning achievement as a screenwriter.

Other Stuff

-Leonard Maltin gave Skippy 3/4 stars; this was a higher score than he gave the following movies: Taxi Driver, Blade Runner, The Big Lebowski, Amadeus and The Shawshank Redemption

Overall

I can not emphasis enough how much I hated this movie. It started out as merely extremely annoying (which was what I was expecting), but it ended up turning into something so, so much worse. How this movie was nominated for Best Picture and Taurog won Best Director over CITY LIGHTS is the single most unforgivable decision in the history of the Academy Awards.

Rating: D-. I can’t give it an F because it has some redeeming quality to it

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