Thursday, December 8, 2016

Poco . . . Little Dog Lost (1977)



Full disclosure: I’m crazy for dogs. I can lose hours playing with them or watching videos with them, and I admit to getting choked up the first time I saw Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995), even though I was an adult when the movie was released. All of this goes to say that I’m essentially the target audience for Poco . . . Little Dog Lost, and yet the movie did nothing for me. So when I offer remarks to the effect that the picture is dumb and sappy, it’s not as if I resisted the subject matter. Turns out that even with canines involved, there’s only so much stupidity I can take. The independently made family film takes place mostly in the California desert. After young Kimmy (Michelle Ashburn) and her mother have a car accident, Kimmy’s amiable pet, Poco, watches in horror as Kimmy gets loaded into an ambulance and taken away. Poco chases the vehicle but can’t keep up, so he wanders into the desert. When Kimmy regains consciousness, she mopes about her missing pal and persuades her parents to search the desert. Meanwhile, Poco has dangerous adventures, avoiding dirt-bikers and rattlesnakes while receiving food and shelter from folks including a gas-station proprietor and a prospector. The best movies about dogs in the wilderness avoid projecting human pathos onto the animals, instead exploring the gulf between the behavior of household pets and their ingrained survival instincts. The makers of Poco . . . Little Dog Lost opt for schmaltz instead. In a pair of interminable montages, the dog wanders through the desert while a saccharine song and, wait for it, an even more saccharine poem resonate on the soundtrack. Sometimes, the filmmakers get so desperate as to use little Kimmy’s plaintive voice (“Poco, please find your way home”) over shots of the displaced animal. It’s all very clumsy and obvious. That said, online research reveals that some folks who encountered this movie when they were very young have warm memories of the experience. Good for them.

Poco . . . Little Dog Lost: LAME

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