Yes, I read Marley & Me before seeing the movie, so I knew what was coming. But if you think that eliminates the need for a whole handful of tissues when you-know-what happens, oh, how wrong you would be.
But the tearjerking is worth it, because really, who doesn't love a good dog flick? The answer: Only people who have no souls. So, in the spirit of Marley and other good recent pooch flicks, here's a list of 10 must-see doggie DVDs ...
1. Marley & Me (Fox Home Entertainment) - Go ahead, resist the rambunctious, ornery Marley's charms, even when he's destroying furniture and flunking out of obedience school (in a hilarious way). Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and Kathleen Turner are funny sidekicks, but it's all about the many adorable yellow labs in this movie, which is funny, sweet and, like most doggie DVDs, a great excuse for gathering the whole fam together around the TV.
2. Bolt (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) - Even though many scenes are stolen by Rhino the hamster, John Travolta is perfect as pooch Bolt, the doggie TV star who thinks his TV land superpowers are real. His feelings for human TV co-star Penny (Miley Cyrus) are, so when Penny is kidnapped by a baddie in an episode of the show, and then Bolt is accidentally set free from his on-set life, he thinks it's up to him to save his friend. The clever concept provides a lot of laughs (Susie Essman is also great as alley cat Mittens), but also a sweet message about friendship and accepting help from those who care about you.
3. Hotel for Dogs (Paramount Home Entertainment) - This cute gem, out on DVD on April 28, is based on the book by Lois Duncan, about a pair of orphaned siblings, Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin), who can't find a loving home of their own, but put all their efforts into making a safe, happy home for stray dogs, in an abandoned hotel. Roberts and Austin are endearing, as is Don Cheadle as the social worker who wants to find the kids a good home, but the movie's best moments come when Bruce uses various bits and pieces to construct Rube Goldberg-ish machines that feed, entertain (a vending machine filled with shoes, for instance) and take care of the dogs', ahem, poo concerns.
Those are the most recent doggie DVDs worth adding to your collection. And for a few blast-from-the-past canine flicks ...
4. 101 Dalmatians (Disney Home Entertainment) - I like the Glenn Close live-action version, but the 1961 Disney cartoon is the classic Dalmations story, mostly because it tells the story from the dogs' point of view, and because Cruella De Vil is such an over the top villain that she almost has to be a cartoon.
5. Turner & Hooch (Disney Home Entertainment) - Think Felix Unger-meets-a big drooling dog and you've got this delightful dog-'n'-cop movie about a fussy detective (Tom Hanks) who's forced to work and live with a destructive, constantly drooling (and, of course, completely lovable) French Mastiff to nab a bad guy.
6. Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl (Animal Planet) - There are five editions - Puppy Bowls I thru V - which has provided hours and hours of adorable puppies playing with each other, with puppy toys and even with the water bowl during Animal Planet's answer to the Super Bowl.
7. Lady & the Tramp (Disney Home Entertainment) - C'mon, the spaghetti scene, where their noses touch? One of the all-time most romantic movie scenes ever.
8. Old Yeller (Disney Home Entertainment) - The 1957 classic Friends' Phoebe Buffay called "a sick doggie snuff film," is indeed heartbreaking.
9. The Shaggy D.A. (Disney Home Entertainment) - This sequel to The Shaggy Dog is a gem of physical comedy, thanks to star Dean Jones as the titular doggie Elwood and Tim Conway's ice cream salesman Tim.
10. Air Bud (Disney Home Entertainment) - A basketball-playing golden retriever? Brilliant, and even funnier, and more touching, than it sounds.