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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season is a 1999 movie that is as much about the importance of empathy as a positive virtue as it is about the titular little beagle. The antagonist of the movie -- a mean old man disliked by everyone -- is frequently shown drinking beer, spitting chewing tobacco, firing his hunting rifle, and sending his mean dogs in pursuit of innocent little kids. There are also scenes where he's shown drinking and driving, culminating in an accident in which his truck falls off a bridge and flips over. What separates this movie from so many others is that the characters take the time to try and understand the "bad guy," thus making him a little more than a two-dimensional cartoon. The values of kindness and truth are discussed and shown as the better alternatives to hatred and gossip, and should inspire family discussions about the importance of these behaviors in day-to-day life.
What's the story?
When Marty (Zachary Browne) takes beagle Shiloh away from his abusive owner Judd (Scott Wilson) in SHILOH 2: SHILOH SEASON, Judd starts scheming for a way to get the dog back. Judd gets drunk, accuses Marty of trespassing on his land and vandalizing his truck, shoots off his hunting rifle into the air, and sets his attack dogs free to put some fear into Marty's family. But when Judd drinks too much and drives his truck off of a bridge, flipping the truck and sending him into the hospital, Marty begins to see the injury as an opportunity to help Judd become a better person. After learning about empathy in school, and from his father about how Judd was physically abused as a child, Marty tries to help make Judd a better person. Marty and his family decide to reform Judd's mean heart through daily acts of kindness.
Is it any good?
What makes this movie stand out from so many other movies with "bad guys" is its attempt to try and understand the "bad guy" and why he behaves the way he does. Most movies are content to have a bad character and leave it at that, but Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season attempts to show that some people who grew up under abusive circumstances and became mean as a result can be reformed through steady acts of kindness.
This doesn't entirely make up for the mostly flat acting and slow pace of the movie, but with a bit of luck, such actions and discussion should get families thinking about the behaviors of those around them, and why people might act the way they do. This is a mostly wholesome movie, in spite of the drinking and driving and a scary scene involving three angry dogs chasing after a little girl. And, for dog lovers, there are plenty of scenes of Shiloh the adorable little beagle bonding with Marty and the entire Peterson family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dog movies like Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season. Is Shiloh like most dog "stars" you have seen in other films? How is he different?
How is the culture of a rural town shown in the movie? Are there any stereotypes?
- On DVD or streaming: October 23, 2001
- Cast: Rod Steiger, Scott Wilson, Zachary Browne
- Director: Sandy Tung
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters
- Character strengths: Empathy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Mild thematic elements.
- Last updated: September 19, 2019
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