My boys and I recently watched a delightful family movie on DVD called Smitty! The all-star cast features Mira Sorvino, Peter Fonda, Louis Gossett Jr. and Jason London, but my children were most impressed with another cast member, Smitty, because he’s an adorable dog! The story begins with a 13-year-old boy, Ben, who lives with his single mom. When some bullies entice him to engage in crime, Ben is given the choice of 3-5 years in juvenile detention or spending three months with his grandfather in the country. The problem is that Ben has never met his grandfather because he became estranged from Ben’s mom (his daughter) when she quit college and got pregnant. Now, the three generations must begin to rebuild their relationship in order to steer Ben from future trouble.
Ben’s grandfather is determined that Ben is going to work hard on the farm all summer and learn some lessons about responsibility. Fortunately, he also decides that Ben needs a “friend” and decides to adopt a dog from the rescue shelter. Ben doesn’t want anything to do with the dog -- or work -- at first, but he slowly begins to warm up to his pet, as well as to the value of hard work and family. Watching Smitty provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss all kinds of issues with my sons, not only about work and family, but also about resisting peer pressure, respecting adults, and having a good attitude. We all greatly enjoyed this family-friendly movie and highly recommend it!