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|Written by||Don Calame|
|Directed by||Neal Israel|
Ed Begley, Jr.
|Music by||David Kitay|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||92 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Gaylord Films|
|Distributor||Buena Vista Television|
|Original network||Disney Channel|
|Original release||April 13, 2001|
Hounded is a 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie starring Tahj Mowry, Craig Kirkwood, Shia LaBeouf and Ed Begley, Jr. It was filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Madeleine Choir School campus.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (November 2015)
13-year-old Jay Martin, a student at Columbus Hall, a private middle school, is competing for a scholarship to the prestigious Donald Peterson Academy with rival classmate and bully Ronny Van Dusen, son of the headmaster, Ward Van Dusen. Jay plans to study art during his time at Peterson, but the thing is, the scholarship is the only one of its kind available, and if his presentation doesn't help him obtain it, he will be sent to the all-boys Starkwell Military Academy upstate with his older brother, Mike (where their late father had been a student and teacher). When Jay arrives at the school with his best friends, Tracy Richburg and Bill Lipka, and shows them the presentation, by chance, Ward confiscates it (due to Jay having made a flipbook with art on the other side of the presentation's note cards that accurately depicts Ward as a big bad wolf), then later leaves the note cards lying around his office and tells Ronny to use them as a reference to think of a better presentation. Being lazy, Ronny copies the presentation word-for-word while alone in his father's office, uses it in the contest, and wins the scholarship. When Jay brings this up with Ward, he initially declares his intention to look into the matter, only for Jay to soon after overhear Ward in his office criticizing his son for his plagiarism and demanding that he get rid of the evidence in order to preserve the Van Dusen family name, let alone make it look like Jay is the cheater.
Later that afternoon, heeding advice from Tracy and Bill that he needs evidence to prove to the judges that Ward helped Ronny cheat, Jay breaks into the pool house of the Van Dusens' mansion (which Ronny uses as his hangout and bedroom) while the family is at the awards ceremony in order to take back his presentation and use it as evidence. However, during the search, Ward's wife, Eliza's show dog, Camille, discovers Jay, and follows him home after he is nearly caught by their maid, Adele, whom Jay scared away using Ronny’s hockey mask before she could figure out who he was. Camille goes crazy and wrecks the Martin's home when she goes too long without her medication. After Jay spends hours trying to comfort the dog, Camille withstands no more and explodes.
Mike comes home from Starkwell to check in on his brother while their mother is away taking care of her injured aunt, and finds the house a mess and Camille with a nervous breakdown. After Jay's confession about what happened, and Camille runs away, the two try to buy time to get Camille back home. During this time, Ward disavows any knowledge of Ronny's theft and plagiarism to Mike during a phone call, prompting Mike afterwards to reveal to Jay he and Ward had a long history of animosity towards each other when he was a student at Columbus, and that Ward also has had a long history of nepotism since he became headmaster; a perfect example of this being when Ward cut Mike from the school's baseball team to make room for his nephew, who had never even played baseball in his life. Ward eventually panics when he is visited by his father-in-law, Ronny's maternal grandfather, Armand Columbus, whose family line had been the original founders of the school, and after Armand's retirement as the school's headmaster, he entrusted Ward with the position, but has started having doubts about him as of late. Although Armand advises him to get his daughter's dog back, Ward is hesitant due to having hated Camille to begin with, especially when it came to his allergies toward her (having flushed his allergy medicine after the family learned Camille was missing); using this to their advantage, the boys anonymously force Ward to agree to numerous ridiculous acts just to get Camille home and Armand off his back. Over time, Jay also bonds with Camille.
Reaching his limit, Ward finally calls the police to tap into the calls he usually received from the two boys (who used a voice disguiser). Jay and Mike then think up a plan to frame Ronny for the whole thing; as Ronny is relaxing in the pool house while the police are waiting for the phone call in the main house with Ward, Eliza, Armand and the servants, Mike has to pose as a BMX magazine salesman and give Ronny a survey in an effort to keep him distracted while Jay sneaks Camille into the pool house, and then have the police trace the call from there. The plan works, and when the Van Dusens, Armand, the servants and the police find Camille in the pool house, Ward assumes that Ronny did all this as revenge for his parents refusing to buy him a BMX bike, with intent of using the ransom money to purchase the bike himself. However, this causes Armand to remark that "the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree" to Ward, as he appears to see through Ward's story that made it seem that Ronny had won the Donald Peterson scholarship on his own.
In the end, it is assumed that following Jay and Mike's frame job on Ronny for Camille's "kidnapping", Armand opens up an investigation and eventually uncovers both Ronny's plagiarism and Ward's attempted cover-up of it. As a result, Armand comes out of retirement and retakes his old job as headmaster of the school, demoting Ward to secretary and reopening the Peterson scholarship competition, where he revokes the scholarship from Ronny and rightfully awards it to Jay, shipping Ronny off to Starkwell as punishment afterwards. While Jay is talking to Armand in his office, Eliza comes in and reveals that Camille is pregnant. While Eliza plans to keep most of Camille's puppies, with Ward having no choice but to move into the pool house due to his allergies while Ronny is away at school, seeing how much Camille likes Jay, she gives Jay one of them. While Ronny is doing marches and drills at Starkwell, he finds, to his surprise, his instructor is none other than Mike himself.
Cast and Character Biographies
- Tahj Mowry - Jay Martin, the protagonist of the film; a 13-year-old student attending Columbus Hall, a private middle school, seeking to win the only scholarship available to the prestigious Donald Peterson Academy to study art; otherwise, his next stop is Starkwell Military Academy, where his brother, Mike attends. Jay's dream to attend Peterson is nearly crushed when his rival, Ronny, son of the school headmaster, Ward Van Dusen, copies and uses his presentation after Ward confiscates it, and Ward attempts to hide the evidence. While sneaking into the pool house of the Van Dusens’ mansion to retrieve his stolen -- and used -- presentation to use as evidence to expose Ward’s cover-up of Ronny's plagiarism while the family was at the award ceremony, Jay ended up bonding with Ward’s wife, Eliza’s show dog, Camille, after she discovered him and followed him home. After he and Mike work together to sneak Camille back home and frame Ronny for the abduction, the truth comes out and Jay rightfully receives his scholarship, while Ronny gets sent to Starkwell instead. In addition, over the time he and Camille bonded through the course of the film, and after she is revealed to be pregnant, Eliza opts to give him one of her puppies.
- Craig Kirkwood - Michael "Mike" Martin, Jay's older brother and a drill sergeant at Starkwell Military Academy, carrying on the tradition for their late father, who had been a student and teacher there himself. Mike and Jay had a difficult time getting along growing up, especially after their father's passing when Jay was around seven years old, but with Ronny carrying on the tradition of animosity towards Jay during their years at Columbus Hall, Mike also had a long history of animosity with Ward when he was a student at Columbus himself, especially when Ward cut him from the baseball team so his nephew, who had never played in his life, could play. As such, the two brothers eventually learn to get along and work together to end Ward and Ronny's cycle of nepotism and corruption, which leads to him becoming Ronny’s drill sergeant at Starkwell while Jay rightfully receives the Peterson scholarship.
- Shia LaBeouf - Ronald "Ronny" Van Dusen, Jay's rival classmate and bully, son of Ward and Eliza Van Dusen, maternal grandson of Armand Columbus, and along with his father, the antagonist of the film. A spoiled, entitled, and lazy troublemaker, Ronny is under pressure from his father to win the Donald Peterson Academy scholarship competition in order to prove to his grandfather that he is being raised properly. He also has the pool house of their mansion as his bedroom, and has a huge crush on Jay’s wheelchair-bound best friend, Tracy Richburg, who cannot stand him. When his father confiscates Jay's presentation note cards, instead of using them as a reference to make his own presentation as per Ward's suggestion, Ronny lazily plagiarizes Jay's presentation, knowing that Jay wouldn't dare give the exact same presentation or attempt to expose him without evidence lest he be implicated as the cheater. Though he initially wins the scholarship as a result of this, at the end of the film, after Jay and Mike frame him for "abducting" Camille, Armand conducts an investigation that uncovers both his plagiarism and Ward’s attempted cover-up of it. Henceforth, Ronny is stripped of the scholarship (which is rightfully given to Jay), and sent to Starkwell Military Academy as punishment, where he ends up being assigned Jay's brother, Mike, as his drill sergeant.
- Steven Bendik - Bill Lipka, Jay's best friend. Along with Tracy Richburg, he plans to attend Peterson after graduation.
- Sara Paxton - Tracy Richburg, Jay's wheelchair-bound best friend, whom Ronny has a huge crush on, but as much as Jay does, she cannot stand him. Along with Bill Lipka, she plans to attend Peterson after graduation.
- Rachelle Carson - Eliza Van Dusen (née Columbus), Ronny Van Dusen's mother, the wife of Ward Van Dusen, daughter of Armand Columbus, and Camille's owner. When Camille is revealed to be pregnant at the end of the film, she plans to keep most of her puppies, leaving Ward no choice but to move into the pool house due to his allergies after Ronny was sent to Starkwell, but seeing how much Camille liked Jay, she decides to give him one of the puppies.
- Ed Begley, Jr. - Ward Van Dusen, Ronny Van Dusen's father -- and along with his son, the antagonist of the film -- husband of Eliza Van Dusen and the corrupt headmaster of Columbus Hall, having succeeded his father-in-law, Armand Columbus, following Armand's retirement. Ward has had a long history of nepotism during his tenure, especially when Jay's older brother, Mike, was a student at Columbus. He has hated Camille since Eliza first got her, especially knowing he was allergic to dogs, and was hesitant to get her home when the family learned she was missing, but had to get the police involved to get his father-in-law off his back. He tried to cover up Ronny's plagiarism in the Peterson scholarship competition, but shortly after Camille was found in the pool house following Jay and Mike's frame-up plan against Ronny, an investigation into the matter by Armand brought the truth out. After the fact, he got demoted to secretary after Armand came out of retirement and took his old job back. Likewise, when Camille was revealed to be pregnant and Eliza planned to keep most of her puppies, giving Jay one of them after the fact, knowing how much Camille liked him, Ward was forced to move into the pool house due to his allergies after Ronny was sent to Starkwell.
- Tony Larimer - Armand Columbus, Eliza Van Dusen's father (Ward's father-in-law) and Ronny's maternal grandfather whose ancestors founded Columbus Hall. Ward succeeded Armand as headmaster after he retired, but Armand began to have his doubts about Ward’s competence at his job. After Camille is found in the pool house, thanks to Jay and Mike’s frame-up plan against Ronny, he conducted an investigation that exposed Ward’s attempted cover-up of helping Ronny fraudulently get the Peterson scholarship, as well as Ronny having inherited his father's corrupt traits over the years, hence his remark "the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree". Following the investigation, Armand comes out of retirement and takes his old job back, demoting Ward to secretary and shipping Ronny off to Starkwell after stripping him of the scholarship, which he rightfully gives to Jay.
- Melinda Haynes - Mrs. Martin
- Irene Santiago - Adele, the Van Dusens' maid.
- Olesya Rulin - Girl #1
- Danielle Wolverton - Girl #2/Girl on Phone