Welcome back to the Freddie’s Big List of the All Time Live Action Animal Movies Playoff Bracket. Remember, the staff at FreddieSez picked the movies in play based on box office draw in the USA, the cast, story and reviews and created this list of All-Stars… then we put them in logical brackets and let them wage a non-contact, no-holds-barred, last movie standing battle of the silver screen.
Well movie, sports, and animal fans “Wildcat Playoff Weekend” is in the books. The first round of movie vs movie action played out with some real blowout wins for the favorites and at least one stunning lower seat upset as a real underDOG was able to overtake a solid favorite.
Let’s get to the results…
The Jungle Book Live Action
Babe (the original 1995 Classic)
This battle was much closer than ever imagined, with Babe holding her own against the much more profitable and, frankly, stacked with big scary animals, The Jungle Book. We even leaned harder into Babe’s more solid animal cast, (as Mowgli was a human boy and The Jungle Book story is centered around him) but in the end, “Oh, oobee doo I wanna be like you” Jungle Book. won. The pig simply couldn’t make the bacon and pull off the win. The Jungle Book moves on to the next round. For the last time this year, “That’ll do pig”.
Life of Pi
101 Dalmatians Live Action
Life of Pi was the heavy favorite in this match up against the Dalmatian crew. Much like Jungle Book, both these movies have human characters in critical roles driving the action. Both Cruella Deville and the title character “Pi” are featured in each movie, so the contest really starts to fall on the supporting cast. Who is the more endearing and likable bunch? Which movie story tugs at the heart the most, or sticks with you long after the film fades to black? The tiger is scary in The Life of Pi, the story glues you to the screen, and the sense of adventure is amazing as you root for Pi to survive the long trip trapped at sea. Alternatively, 101 Dalmatians is full of drama, energy, and fun. You love to hate the villain, you are enchanted by the puppies, and even though you know the ending from the Disney cartoon classic, you still close your eyes in worry that Cruella will succeed in her plot, and laugh as the farm animals work together to foil her plans until the police can arrive.
This one went to overtime and a last minute score by the cute Disney pups put them over the top, in minor upset. 101 Dalmatians moves on to face its Disney little brother!
In an extremely odd battle of two dogs that weren’t wanted at first, bad guys, terrible planning, and lots of disaster… is there a real winner? In this case the pick was fairly easy. Beethoven was heartwarming and fun, bittersweet at times, and the good guys won in the end. It is a likable case of “I know that guy” stars for that time period (Charles Grodin/Stanley Tucci) and a giant St. Bernard with a biting habit. K-9 was the first real lead role for Jim Belushi. The story has a great deal of action, with Belushi as a Chicago Cop who “borrows” a dog to help with a drug case. Things don’t go as planned, the dog gets lost, the bust goes bad, and per usual, the cop wants nothing to do with said dog. However, hearts soften, things change, and the dog, Jerry Lee, and the cop become great partners and end up breaking the case wide open. There is a cliffhanger ending, a heart tugging emotional sequence near the end where its life and death for one of the heroes and, along the way, a classic car is eaten by the dog! It is a fun romp that keeps you engaged. In this dog vs dog action, sadly… Beethoven’s charm and size couldn’t keep up with K-9’s story and action. K-9 in a solid win in this match.
Turner & Hooch
Homeward Bound, the Incredible Journey
This one went three overtimes and it took a coin flip to move someone forward. How else can you pick between Tom Hanks, a really ugly dog who you grow to love as the film progresses, and a “based on a true story” adventure of friends beating incredible odds just to get back home. Both movies have heart tugging sad moments you think will sink you and laugh out loud moments that you relate with. In the end, it did come down to rooting for one set of heroes over the other. Homeward Bound wins but only because you were more overjoyed when they finally made it home than you were overjoyed when Hanks ended up married to the vet and raising a baby Hooch. We’re sending three time Academy Award Winner Tom Hanks Home… Chance, Sassy and Shadow win in a squeaker!
Hotel for Dogs
Frankly, on second review, neither of these movies have aged very well. This is our least favorite tandem of the entire bracket. Free Willy has a compelling feel to it and surrounds a familiar theme of mistreating animals in captivity. The boy was troubled, and in search of purpose, and a friend. A match made in Atlantis. The world went wild over Free Willy in 1993. Hotel for Dogs takes place in a town where all the people ignore everything happening around them, there is no other explanation on how a couple can hide a dog rescue in plain sight, in an abandoned hotel and NOBODY NOTICES. It’s a fun movie with Emma Roberts and Phoebe from Friends… but come on!? The win on this goes to Free Willy on box office and a more complete story line.
Charlotte’s Web (live action)
Another #2 v #4 slobber-knocker! Either movie could win. Charlotte’s web is a funny, sweet, sad, and touching story that children love. But Mouse Hunt is Home Alone’s action with a mouse as Kevin! If you like grown men getting hurt in slapstick comedy, Mouse Hunt is your film. The mouse is brilliant and scheming, a mastermind… and there is a fantastic ending. However, Charlotte and the gang never fail to please. The voice actors assembled are an incredible all-star cast, and the story is flawless. Charlotte saves the day, only to give the ultimate sacrifice. Wilbur the pig finds a way to pay back his debt to Charlotte in a most special way and the magic of the friendship and love between spider and pig even turns a rat’s heart to good. Sounds silly but I assure you that you’ll laugh, cry, and root for this movie. In the end, the story of Charlotte and Wilbur were too much for the sheer comedy enjoyment of the Mouse Hunt gang. Charlotte’s Web moves on in a close match.
Marley and Me
Because of Winn-Dixie
Well, who do you choose to send home… a dog that restores faith in humanity and family for a girl that lost everything after she was abandoned by her mother, OR the lifetime tale of a bad dog turned good where that dog “taught a family what life really means”. YIKES! The star power clearly belongs to the Marley and Me cast, the story is richer and the production value is higher as well. But there is something about Because of Winn-Dixie, that story we can all relate to of how a dog can revive the heart and bring a lost soul back in touch with reality. If you’ve ever really loved a dog, you can’t help but enjoy both of these movies at a personal level. As we looked at both films, trying to choose between the two, the only factor that separated the two was box office… Marley and Me was, by far, the bigger grossing movie. ($144M vs $33M) We will move along with Marley and Me but suggest you spend a rainy weekend day watching both films.
We will claim bias on this pick. Snow dogs is the Ishtar of Disney films, it’s okay but there was a lot of hype on this film for not a lot of boom when you watch it. It’s a nice romp… but so are the Air Bud series of movies and you don’t see them on the list. Snow Dogs has good box office numbers and a named cast (Cuba Gooding Jr. and James Coburn) and great locations. It’s well worth the watch, don’t get the wrong impression. Then there is DOG… the sleeper movie of the entire bracket. Dog is new for 2022 and hasn’t received a lot of build-up. It’s got a “B” level cast and you can see the story coming at you. Still, the plot is touching, the development of the story between the Army Ranger and the dog is well done, the story behind the story of the Ranger and how the dog is saving him, the choices that are made by the military for the dog, the locations and cinematography all make this movie just that much different. We can’t say enough good things about this movie and that’s what makes it a clear choice to move on. DOG all the way in this match-up.
So, to recap…
Blockbuster & Remakes Conference
#1 Jungle book vs #3 101 Dalmatians
Disney vs. Disney to be the champ in this conference. Can Mowgli put away Cruella Deville? The gritty real world jungle vs the ACTUAL JUNGLE. This will be a hard fought battle of the big screen!
Heroes and Headliners Conference
#1 K-9 vs #3 Homeward Bound, the Incredible Journey
K-9 out of the one seed has momentum but Homeward Bound (WATCH THIS MOVIE) already put away Tom Hanks, it would be hard to count them out in this match!
Odds and Ends Conference
#1 Free Willy vs #2 Charlotte’s Web
In a battle of one vs two, Willy has a lot of work to do to overcome the charm and star power of the upstart group from down on the farm. The world loves a redemption story and that is Free Willy!
It’s a Dog’s Life Conference
#1Marley and Me vs #4 DOG
Will DOG’s Cinderella run come to an end? Can the juggernaut that is Marley and Me continue their win streak based on their tear jerk factor? OR has DOG got enough stuff to go toe-to-toe with the big boy? DOG is a staff favorite (WATCH THIS MOVIE) but Marley and Me is a titan of tears! Too…close…to… call.
Well, FreddieFam, that’s the Conference round match-ups. Do you agree with the early predictions? Do you have a favorite? How do you see the outcome of this week’s battles? Let us know by putting your picks in the comment section below. We want to know who you favor to move forward and why!
A few of FreddieSez Friends made us aware of some movies we left off the list and we wanted to assure those movie titles were mentioned so that everyone could get a chance to review and add them to their viewing lists…
Emily Proffitt suggested “Seabiscuit”. Nice catch, Emily. The 2003 movie tells of Seabiscuit, an undersized racehorse, who defied the odds and captured the imagination of depression era America. It also has a great cast, including Spider-Man.
Jennifer Hatfield threw “My Friend Flicka” into the ring, as well as “Phar Lap”. Flicka is another horse film classic from 1943, and Phar Lap is a pony pic from 1963. Both have good IMDb ratings and star power to back them.
Kristine Lester entered “Hachi” as a suggestion. We have to admit, this one was a new name to us here at FreddieSez. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a 2009 drama about how loyalty is measured among humans and dogs. It has a nice cast, as well, with Richard Gere in the lead role. Its now on our MUST WATCH list.
Gene Meek suggested “The Muppet Movie” and we asked if Muppets were really animals. He insisted they were… so we are all in on The Muppet Movie! The Lovers, the Dreamers and Freddie
Freddie’s friend Hef Lien barked into the conversation “Jurassic Park”. Sure, why not, Hef? After all, they are the ORIGINAL big dogs, aren’t they??
Other movie names we heard were 8 Below, A Dog’s Purpose, Watership Down, Black Beauty, I’m Copper, MAX, Dolphin Tale, and I’m a Hound Dog.
Thanks to everyone that suggested other movies we didn’t consider. We’re always excited to hear from you and get your feedback!
That’s it for today’s Dog Blog on FreddieSez! We’re glad you dropped by to give us a read. Don’t forget to give us your picks, this is one place that your vote absolutely is counted and your opinion matters! You can drop your feedback below in the comments section!
From the crew at FreddieSez and the Fred Man himself, remember, you can read the blog all you want but you can’t stay here when you’re done! We’ll talk at you next time! #FreddieSez
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