Rewatching: The Fox and the Hound
The Fox and the Hound is a Disney classic. I worked in childcare for awhile, and nobody would ever let me play it on movie days because it’s “too boring”. Fuck that. And fuck you guys that never let me play it (just kidding, love you guys). But seriously.
9:43 – This movie is old. These credits look like they’re from the 50s. (Actually made 1981. That surprised me.)
9:46 – Still on the credits. Some music finally came on.
9:47 – A fox is being chased by a dog. Sets the theme.
9:48 – Credits are still going.
9:48 – I just noticed this. The fox runs past the bridge that will play a major factor later in the movie.
9:49 – The fox leaves its child at some random place. Then gets shot off-screen. Holy shit that is dark. I guess I should have realized the history when I declared the Lion King’s move at the halfway point so dark. Well, that and Bambi.
9:49 – A nice owl checks on the baby fox. Says, “You poor thing. It’s alright. Big Mama’s here.” Is voiced by a black actress (Pearl Bailey). Disney and their stereotypes.
9:50 – A woodpecker and his bird friend are searching for a caterpillar. The woodpecker is voiced by Tigger (Paul Winchell), whose voice I love and have just now found out is dead. Life is cruel.
9:51 – The owl, woodpecker, and bird come up with a plan. They knock on the woman’s door where the fox was left, then steal her laundry. Good prank. High fives all around.
The woman chases after the pranksters and finds the fox. Foxes don’t make great pets. I’ve looked into this at various points, perhaps not unrelated to watching this movie one too many times. But apparently, even the domesticated ones are kind of high maintenance and destructive.
And their piss smells absolutely terrible. Like, above and beyond the maximum acceptable piss smell allotment. From the linked article, “imagine cat pee, but a million times worse. It smells like skunk, it’s the most pungent thing in the universe. If it gets in your carpet, you need a special enzyme to break it down”. Did you read that? A special enzyme. You need science just to make your house not smell like special death-piss. That’s not okay. Furthermore, if we really want to be pedantic, you can’t really domesticate a wild animal no matter how cute nor how well it speaks English.
9:53 – She takes the fox in and milks it like a baby. Not like breast feeding or anything, but now you have that mental picture and we can’t change the past.
9:54 – Old hunter guy (Amos) who killed the fox’s mom comes home. His old dog (Chief) wakes up and Amos gives him a present. It’s a cute little puppy hunter dog! Chief hates the new dog much as we hate the new generation of kids.
9:55 – The new generation just doesn’t get it. To them this movie is slow and boring. They need explosions and flashing colors and iPads and dick pics that disappear. It’s shameful.
9:56 – The fox tries to eat some little chicks. Chaos ensues. The woman gets mad at the fox (Tod) and sends him outside where the woodpecker and his bird friend are still pursuing the caterpillar. They make a comedy out of this scene, but it’s really a life and death situation. They need to eat, and if they can’t, they’re probably going to die. It’s very sad.
10:00 – Tod gets distracted and chases a butterfly that leads him to the two dogs. The puppy is named Copper. He starts sniffing adorably. He also has the most adorable voice. I want to own him. When this movie is over, I’m going straight to the Humane Society.
10:01 – Chief says, “Can’t tell these young whippersnappers anything.” Damn right.
10:02 – The cutest scene that’s ever been made happens.
10:02 – Oh my god. That little howl (:21). You internet people can have your cat videos. I’ll take this scene forever.
10:02 – MY NAME’S COPPER. I’M A HOUND DOG (:34).
10:03 – A fox and a hound. Playing together. Then the best song that’s ever been made happens.
10:03 – “If only the world wouldn’t get in the way. If only people would just let you play.” Story of life right there. This movie is just setting us up to rip our hearts out later.
10:04 – Adorableness.
10:05 – “You’re my best friend Tod.” “And you’re mine, Copper.” I can’t handle this. I want to go up and hug the TV.
10:06 – Amos calls out for Copper and he has to go home. No! Keep playing! Hold onto your childhood as long as you can!
10:07 – Copper is tied up because his master says he has to stay home. But Tod wants to play! He starts playing around Chief. Copper tells him to be careful. Tod doesn’t listen. This is like every cat and puppy video on the internet distilled into the essence of concentrated cuteness.
10:08 – Chief wakes up and chases Tod around while Amos wakes up and starts shooting randomly at Tod. I think we should talk about gun control here. Guns are the natural enemy of friendship and cuteness. There. I said it. I won’t take it back.
10:10 – Tod gets away and jumps in his owner’s buggy. Amos keeps shooting at the buggy, which HAS A PERSON IN IT.
10:11 – She gets out and grabs his gun, then shoots his car. Good owner. Amos is somehow pissed at her, even though he was just shooting at her. They have a fun relationship. She yells at him, he yells at her. Says next time he won’t miss. He’s kind of a shitty neighbor.
10:12 – Amos takes his dogs on a hunting trip. They’re going away until next Spring. That’s a really long time for a single hunting trip. Tod sneaks out and Copper howls goodbye until my heart can’t take it anymore.
10:15 – Big Mama comes to tell Tod about how dogs want to kill him. Especially Chief. Sings a song. Tod says Copper would never hunt him. Big Mama says a dog will do what a dog is told to do. Which is to hunt him and be his enemy. The woodpecker and bird show Tod a shack full of fox pelts. That’s kinda fucked up.
10:17 – Big Mama says Copper’s gonna come back a changed dog. And Tod says, no, we’ll be friends forever. Big Mama says forever is a long time and forever has a way of changing things. My heart is breaking and someone needs to take me to the hospital.
10:18 – Seasons are changing. It’s winter now. The woodpecker and bird are still hunting the same caterpillar. Have apparently not eaten this entire time. I’m really worried for them.
10:19 – The two birds fly off to warmer weather, which they really should have done before it started snowing.
10:20 – Chief and Copper are on their hunting trip. Copper is being an adorable puppy. I want a puppy. Then Griffey (my dog) can roll his eyes at the new dog while I write the screenplay for “The Fox and the Hound 3: There’s no fox, and it’s just two dogs being cute the whole time.”
10:21 – Copper is now much bigger just two seconds later. There wasn’t even a montage. Unless this is Wisconsin and we’re talking about an October through June winter, I don’t think the timeline is accurate.
10:22 – It’s now Spring and Tod is also older and bigger. The birds come back and have hopefully eaten. They see the caterpillar and are still stuck on him. It’s like, just let him go guys. There are other caterpillars in the sea. This is an unhealthy obsession. Besides, he’s very small, and represents a very small portion of your diet. It’s not worth it.
10:25 – Copper and Co. come home. Chief is pissed because Copper took his place as…wait for it…keep waiting…this is definitely going to be worth it…top dog. Nailed it. Copper’s howl is no longer adorable.
10:26 – Tod also no longer has an adorable voice. He sounds like a teenager. Ugh. Teenagers. Time makes fools of us all.
10:27 – Tod thinks they’ll still be best friends. Big Mama isn’t so sure.
10:27 – Copper and Chief have a good, playful relationship now though. So that’s cute.
10:28 – Tod sneaks out to see Copper. I wish this movie just stayed on their childhood friendship forever and I stayed in my childhood forever and everything would be fun and perfect and happy and I could go back to when the simple act of ordering pizza could bring me more joy than anything in this adult world. Um. Moving on.
10:29 – “Tod, those days are over.” This movie is intent on making sure nobody escapes with happiness in their heart.
10:29 – Chief wakes up, and so does Amos. He starts shooting at his neighbor’s pet. Which is still fucked up. They pursue Tod. I don’t know why Amos has this need to kill him. Like, there are plenty of other foxes in the pond. Do you really have to kill your neighbor’s pet?
10:30 – Copper finds a hiding Tod, but decides to let him go. Unfortunately, Chief tracks him to the train tracks. A train comes by. Tod is able to escape, but the train hits Chief, and he falls off of the bridge and almost dies. Copper finds Chief and now has a vendetta against Tod. But I mean, Chief technically killed Tod’s mom, which I think is a worse offense than trying to escape from somebody who’s trying to kill you. I’m so sad right now. Why does your friendship have to end? Be friends forever. For me. Please.
10:33 – Copper is wracked with guilt over having let Tod go. Amos runs over to the woman’s house, whose name I still don’t know, because Amos has only called her “Woman!” and “Widow!”
10:35 – The woman decides she has to take Tod into the wilderness for his safety. Does this movie ever get happy? She’s about to give him up for his own well-being. Goddammit. She’s talking about how they’re both alone. She’s a lonely widow. Had a fox come into her life. And now she has to give him up because of her asshole neighbor. This is the saddest movie that’s ever been made. Tod is so happy to be going on a ride with her.
And now he’s so confused when she takes off his collar and leaves him. He tries to follow her back to the car, but she just keeps walking. And cries. I can barely handle this. I’m an adult. How can kids possibly sort through their emotions in this movie? Now I think I know why nobody ever wanted to watch this movie. I might just hit pause for the next two hours and hug my dog.
10:40 – Tod is alone in the woods. And it’s raining. Both in the movie and in my living room. Get it? Because I’m crying. Well, not really. But I am sad dammit! I can’t help that I’m just too buff and manly to cry.
10:41 – Tod meets a badger. Who’s an asshole. Which makes sense, because badgers really are assholes. Luckily a hedgehog is there to be his friend.
10:42 – The woman comes home from doing the most heartbreaking thing anybody has ever had to do. I include real life in that statement. Amos realizes she dropped Tod off in the game preserve and vows to get him. Which is also an unhealthy obsession.
10:42 – Chief is actually pretty fine. He just has a cast on his leg. For getting hit by a train and falling off a bridge, that’s pretty miraculous. Why is everybody so mad? He’s not even close to dead, and it was his own fault anyway.
10:43 – Still, Amos pulls out a fox trap and tells Copper his plans. Dogs can’t understand English, so I don’t know why he did that.
10:44 – Big Mama flies to the forest and meets a cute female fox. Yeah, she’s an animated animal, but c’mon, we all know. Tries to set Tod up.
10:45 – Tod and the hedgehog, voiced by Piglet (John Fiedler) are now best friends. I can get on board with that. But the badger gets pissed at him again and tells him to GET.
10:47 – Big Mama and the sexy female fox find Tod. He’s sad. Big Mama goes up to him and sets them up.
10:48 – Tod and the very fuckable fox meet. Her name is Vixie. See! Vixie, vixen. Disney wants you to be attracted to this fox.
10:49 – Tod makes an ass out of himself as we males tend to do around women. Everyone laughs at him. In his embarrassed state, yells to Vixie, “You’re a silly…empty headed…female!” BURNT. Big Mama scolds him, then sings a song. Even if Big Mama is kind of a stereotypical caricature, she’s pretty awesome, and I wish everyone were more like her. So, if that’s what Disney thinks all black women are like, that’s kind of racistly sweet.
10:53 – Tod and Vixie get along, are about to become lovers.
10:54 – I’m truly amazed at the talent it takes to animate this. Even the most boring screencap has so much incredible detail and intricacy that I could never replicate, even if you gave me a whole lifetime.
10:54 – Amos and Copper break into the game preserve, clearly breaking the rules of “No Hunting”. This whole revenge stuff is unhealthy. C’mon guys. Just live and let live. It’s really not that big of a deal. Chief is an old, who is probably pretty racist anyway, so he’s not really worth avenging. Yeah, he’s family, but maybe just let him and his outdated views die off. THEN COPPER AND TOD CAN BE FRIENDS AND EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY AGAIN AND NO ONE WILL HAVE TO CRY IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS ANYMORE.
10:56 – Amos sets like 30 traps, which is excessive and probably expensive.
10:57 – Tod and Vixie are walking around. Vixie senses something. Like one of those million traps probably. Tod walks around anyway, and nearly gets caught by the traps. Copper chases after. They stare down. Former friends, now enemies!
10:58 – Tod and Vixie hide in a foxhole. They’re trapped! Copper on one side. Amos on the other. Amos sets fire to some leaves to smoke them out. TOD AND VIXIE LEAP THROUGH THE FIRE. It’s so dramatic I used all caps. Badass as hell. They escape to a waterfall. Copper pursues.
11:01 – A FUCKING BEAR COMES OUT OF NOWHERE TO ATTACK AMOS. HE TOTALLY DESERVES THIS AND I DON’T FEEL BAD FOR HIM. He trips backwards into one of his own traps.
Copper tries to save him. Amos really deserves to die. The bear throws Copper aside. Copper squeals with pain. Tod hears it. Runs back to his old friend. I’m smiling. The bear is close to throwing Tod off the cliff. Throws him off onto a branch. Pursues him to finish the job. Tod is barely hanging onto the branch. The bear swipes at Tod, breaking the branch and sending them both to the bottom of the waterfall. I retract my statement above. Bears are bullshit.
11:04 – Tod is alive! Copper finds him. AND SO DOES AMOS. He cocks his gun. Copper steps in front of Tod and won’t let Amos shoot him. I’ve collapsed into a fit of happiness and can’t function. I’m barely a human being at this point. I’m just so much feelings.
11:05 – Amos says, “Let’s go home boy.” Copper starts to leave. Turns around. Tod smiles. Copper smiles. So much happiness in so much sadness. THEY ARE FRIENDS FOREVER.
11:06 – It cuts back to Big Mama and the two birds. They’re about to capture the caterpillar. Except the caterpillar has turned into a beautiful butterfly. This is probably a metaphor. I don’t care. The old woman is treating Amos for his injuries and they get along even though he was obsessed with killing the only thing in this world that brought her happiness. They have a complicated relationship.
11:08 – Cut to Copper, who thinks back to the most adorable moment in history “Copper, you’re my very best friend.” “And you’re mine too Tod.” “And we’ll always be friends forever, won’t we?” “Yeah, forever.”
11:10 – Tod and Vixie look on, and the movie ends. I don’t know that this movie was even made for kids. It hits the bittersweetness of friends and childhood lost so incredibly, that I don’t think most kids could even fully understand. It’s not an especially exciting movie. Nothing really happens. There aren’t a ton of hijinks, save for the dopey birds chasing the caterpillar and the rascally old man nearly committing homicide. But its message is so pure, so bittersweet that it stays with you a lifetime.
And as bittersweet as it is, it’s ultimately hopeful. Things happen, relationships change, but some bonds are forever. We grow apart and we move on, but that doesn’t make the past meaningless or the present hopeless. It’s what makes a lifetime lived. And that should sound exactly as schmaltzy as you think it does. Sometimes we need that unmitigated sentimentality to cut through our hardened cynicism. That’s why these Disney movies continue to resonate with us. We should thank everyone in our lives that made our memories possible. And when we look back, we can still smile, even though we know we’re going our separate ways.