I was determined to make this dog my friend, so I walked up on it a third time. Same result. This time, the dog had drawn a little blood and the spots on my arm where it had clamped its jaws down were starting to hurt.
Sometime after all the Reagan-inspired early Eighties liberal paranoia regarding nuclear annihilation kicked into gear, my dad decided to begin construction of a bomb shelter.
Flying off the handle and taking his anger out on a pair of harmless 6th Graders made the guy look irrational, bitter and faintly crazy.
The Seventies version features lost, terrorized kids being saved by the actions of an adult search party. The Thirties version is a kid saving himself and his sweetheart, through his own ingenuity, because there are no adults are there to save him.
The character of Joe Valachi was a big part of what kept me from enjoying the film. As a mobster, Valachi's not very successful. He's just a boss's driver, with a pair of legit side businesses, kind of passive and, ultimately, boring. He's not clever. He's not charismatic. He often comes across as bizarrely naive, at times, almost child-like.
Despite the film's humor, I don't view it so much as an entertainment, but as a stark depiction of the escalating cost of poor decisions. Joe's a cautionary tale about how NOT to behave.
At what point would it be acceptable to start drilling it into a kid's head that stealing someone else's property is wrong? When they're ten? Fifteen? Ever? Or would you wait until their bad behavior landed them in handcuffs?