My Dog Skip (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
My Dog Skip
My dog Skip (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJay Russell
Produced byMark Johnson
Andrew Kosove
Broderick Johnson
John Lee Hancock
Screenplay byGail Gilchriest
Story byWillie Morris
Based onMy Dog Skip
by Willie Morris
Music byWilliam Ross
CinematographyJames L. Carter
Edited byHarvey Rosenstock
Gary Winter
Alcon Entertainment
MDS Productions LLC
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • January 14, 2000 (2000-01-14) (Limited)
  • March 3, 2000 (2000-03-03) (Wide release)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4.5 million[1]
Box office$35,547,761

My Dog Skip is a 2000 American family drama film, directed by Jay Russell and starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, and Kevin Bacon with narration by Harry Connick Jr. Based on the autobiographical novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a 9-year-old Willie Morris as he is given a Jack Russell Terrier for his birthday, and how the dog fundamentally changes several aspects of his life. My Dog Skip was released on March 3, 2000, by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment, receiving generally positive reviews from critics. The film earned more than $35.5 million on a $4.5 million budget.[1]


Willie Morris as an adult is looking back on his childhood in the early 1940s and how it was colored by his dearly beloved dog, a Jack Russell Terrier whom he had named Skip. In the beginning, Willie is a lonely 9-year-old child with a gruff, proud father, a Spanish Civil War veteran, and a charismatic, talkative mother, a housewife, but he is an only child and small for his age with few friends. His one companion is a young man who lives next door, Dink Jenkins, who is the local sports hero in Mississippi. However, when Dink is drafted to go to war, Willie's mother decides to buy him a dog, against his father's wishes, in order that he should have some company.

Willie and Skip become firm friends very quickly. However, Willie gets bullied at school by Big Boy Wilkinson, Henjie Henick, and Spit McGee, until Dink sends him a German helmet and belt from the front line. The other boys demand he play ball in order to win back his belongings. Skip leaps in to help him. That same day, the three boys talk Willie into spending the night in a graveyard, where they claim a witch is buried. If he stays there, he gets to join their gang and also keep the ball Dink Jenkins signed for them, and if not, he has to give them his German helmet.

Willie stays there for a number of hours, until he hears two moonshiners who are loading crates into a crypt. Skip jumps on Millard, one of the moonshiners, until the second one, Junior, comes at him with a spade. Willie uses a slingshot to hit Junior in the nose with an acorn, and attempts to escape the graveyard with Skip. They are soon captured by Junior. He tells Willie not to move before sunrise or he will kill Skip. Then the two men leave. The three boys return in the morning and accept Willie into their group for spending the night in the graveyard.

The narrator then goes on to explain various changes in his life. Skip, having always been a friendly dog, is known by everyone in the town, including black people - significant because Mississippi was still segregated at the time. Skip leads Willie through the best parts of his life; his boyhood days. Thanks to Skip, Willie now has three friends, and a girlfriend, Rivers.

Skip is there for him when Dink gets home, shell-shocked and a drunkard since dishonourably discharged from the army, presumably for desertion. However, when Willie's first ball game comes along, Skip and Willie have their first falling out. Dink promised to come along but does not bother. Since the war he has found competitions do not matter to him anymore, and Willie is so upset by this that his game is ruined. Skip, wanting to cheer him up, runs onto the field and sits wagging his tail, refusing to leave. Becoming increasingly frustrated, Willie hits him across the muzzle and he runs away.

After the game, a devastated and tearful Willie is unable to find his dog. Unbeknownst to him, Skip had returned to the crypt, and had been accidentally shut in the grave where moonshine was being stored. Dink, after explaining that he had been scarred by having to kill in the war, tells Willie nothing is ever lost for good and goes out to help him find Skip. As Willie searches in the graveyard, he hears Skip's barks, and can see that Junior is about to strike Skip with a spade. He runs to save him, but there is a thump and a whimper. Dink arrives, and manages to eject the two moonshiners, telling Junior that he'd better hope that Skip lives, but it is uncertain as to whether Skip will survive.

As the family and friends gather in solemnity in the vet's waiting room, Willie weeps over his dog's vet bed, telling him everything he ever should have done; that he will never have a true friend more dear like him again. Skip awakens, licking his hands and face.

The film concludes with Willie explaining his friendship with Skip, that he had been an only child and Skip an only dog. When Willie leaves to go to Oxford University, Skip remains with Willie's parents, sleeping in Willie's old room, and then dies on Willie's bed, being buried under the elm tree. The closing line adds, "That wasn't totally true. For he really laid my heart".



The film was theatrically released on March 3, 2000, by Warner Bros. and was released on DVD, VHS, VCD, and Blu-ray from 2000 to 2006 by Warner Home Video.


The film opened at #3, grossing $7 million. It ended up grossing $35,512,760 worldwide, making it a major box office success recouping its $4.5 million budget.[1] It also was Warner Bros. first majorly successful family film since Space Jam in 1996. The film came in at number 4 of Variety's "dollar for dollar" most profitable films of the year 2000. The movie remained in Variety's Top Ten video sales charts for five months after its video release. My Dog Skip won the Broadcast Film Critics Award for "Best Family Film" for the year 2000, Silver Medal Giffoni Film Festival Award, Best Cast Young Star Awards, Silver Angel Award winner, ArkTrust Genesis Award, and the Christopher Award for Best Family Film. It was filmed in the city of Canton, Mississippi; the local visitor's center offers tours showing memorabilia used in the film. A few blocks away from this museum is the house used in the film (private), with a sign in front saying "Skip's House". The author of the book, Willie Morris, suffered from a heart attack right after the film was completed in 1999. Morris saw a preliminary screening of the film in New York and praised it as "an absolute classic". Morris died a couple of days later and never saw the final version.[2] The film is dedicated to his memory.


Angel Awards 2001
Award Category Nominee
Silver Angel Feature Film Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2001
Award Category Nominee
Critics Choice Award Best Family Film Won
Christopher Awards 2000
Award Category Nominee Result
Christopher Award Feature Film Jay Russell (director) and Alcon Entertainment (production company) Won
Giffoni Film Festival 2000
Award Category Nominee Result
Bronze Gryphon and Silver Gryphon Free to Fly Section - Best Actor and Free to Fly Section Frankie Muniz and Jay Russell Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2000
Award Category Nominee Result
Sierra Award Youth in Film Frankie Muniz Nominated
YoungStar Awards 2000
Award Category Nominee Result
YoungStar Award Best Young Actor/Performance in a Motion Picture Drama Frankie Muniz Nominated
Young Artist Awards 2001
Award Category Nominee Result
Young Artist Award Best Ensemble in a Feature Film and Best Family Feature Film - Drama Frankie Muniz, Cody Linley, Bradley Coryell, Daylan Honeycutt and Caitlin Wachs Won
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress Caitlin Wachs Nominated



  1. ^ a b c "My Dog Skip". The Numbers - Box Office Data, Movie Stars, Idle Speculation.
  2. ^ "Willie Morris". The Mississippi Writers Page.

External links[edit]