Everybody fondly remembers the '90s kids movie Beethoven, a Thanksgiving classic (for some reason) about a cantankerous St. Bernard who wins over the hearts of the Newton family – even the ornery patriarch. What people don't seem to remember, however, is the surprisingly dark aspects of this dog-centric children's movie.
Most noteworthy is the villain. It's easy to forget that Beethoven had a villain because: a) Why does a children's movie about a dog need a villain? And b) the bad guy's scheme was so heinous that those memories are probably deeply repressed in the minds of '90s children.
Read on to discover exactly what is so disturbing about the film's villain and why the Beethoven movie is super messed up in general.
A Dog Masticates Dr. Varnick's Testicles
In the climactic battle, a terrier helps the Newtons in their fight against Dr. Varnick. The terrier comes running in, bites down, and latches onto the man's package in a children's movie before the family comes bursting in – sending a tray of needles hurtling through the air, peppering and incapacitating the villain, again, in a children's movie.
People Are Mauled By Dogs
It's no wonder the villain of this film can get away with executing dogs, as Beethoven portrays the animals as exceedingly dangerous. A number of people throughout the film incur injuries induced by some sort of dog shenanigans, and sometimes as the result of a direct attack.
Varnick's henchmen get mauled by a pack of dogs at the end of the movie, and it's not even those freed by the children. Apparently, the implication is that packs of dogs are generally just prone to attack people.
One Of Those People Is Stanley Tucci
A balding (but not-yet-bald) Stanley Tucci played one of Dr. Varnick's henchmen. Tucci has won three Emmys, two Golden Globes, and has been nominated for an Oscar. Not surprisingly, none of these were for his work in Beethoven.
Mr. Newton Was 26 Years Older Than Mrs. Newton
When Charles Grodin played George Newton, he was 56 years old. Bonnie Hunt played his wife, and she was 30. While there's nothing illegal about a man being married to a woman virtually half his age, there is something inherently gross about it.
Of course, there's no indication in the movie that he's significantly older (other than his skin), but it's still an odd choice, especially considering their eldest child looks to be in her early teens – meaning 30-year-old Alice Newton could have been the first star of Teen Mom.