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'My Dog Tulip': Animated film worth drive to Houston

By by dianna wray
Feb. 16, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 15, 2011 at 8:16 p.m.

Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend, and inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

Groucho Marx, the funniest of the Marx Brothers, said that, and, you know, he's right.

Never get eaten by a dog, and if you do, don't bother to bring a book.

But really, the only thing better than a book is a dog, and if you agree with that statement, head on down to the pristine halls of Houston's Museum of Fine Arts to check out "My Dog Tulip."

It'll be worth the trip.

"My Dog Tulip" is an animated film - read cartoon, the grownupish kind - that came out in 2009, but before that, it was probably one of the best books about dogs ever written. Ever.

British writer J.R. Ackerley had spent his whole life looking for true love, his "Ideal Friend" when he got his dog, Tulip. Ackerley once wrote that the English love their dogs because they are unable to love each other. His "Ideal Friend" never appeared, but with Tulip, he found his soul mate.

The book came out in 1956. In 2009, an animated film version was released, featuring the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini. The movie is the first animated film to ever be hand drawn on computer tablets, and even if you didn't like dogs, it would be worth the price of a ticket to settle into a dark theater and see the beautifully rendered animation onscreen.

If you've ever owned a dog, loved a dog or generally been in that situation that causes one to look around and mutter, "I like dogs so much better than people," with a rumpled, dog-loving, people-hating expression on your face, then you really oughta go on and see this.

The animation is so good; be prepared to be struck by how pretty it looks just watching a dog pee.

But go see "My Dog Tulip." You may get a little teary and go home and hug your dog, but you won't be sorry.

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