Movies about becoming a man

David Bruce notes on My Dog Skip

Hmm, a Christ-like dog. Why not? This dog is associated with a picture of Jesus as the mother delivers the dog to her only son. Later the dog spends 3 days in a tomb. Brings new life, breaking down sexism, racism and hatred. Lives on in the heart...I have been a fan of his since the film My Dog Skip. There was a scene in that film that captured my attention. A mother brings a pet dog to her only son. She carries the dog cage where a pregnant woman carries a child as she passes by a picture of Jesus in the hall way (symbolic of Virgin Mary). Later Skip the dog gets stuck in a grave for three days (symbolic of Jesus Christ).

the studio synopsis is

A funny, heartfelt coming-of-age story, "My Dog Skip" is based on award-winning author WILLIE MORRIS' best-selling memoir of his boyhood. Directed by JAY RUSSELL, the film is a humorous and moving testimony to a unique friendship. The year is 1942. As the Allies unite overseas to keep the world safe for democracy, there are voices at home that are barely heard. One of them belongs to Willie Morris (FRANKIE MUNIZ), a shy and gawky eight-year-old whose childhood is even more quiet and isolated than his home town of Yazoo, Mississippi. An only child, ignored at school and uncomfortable with girls, Willie looks up to and confides in next-door neighbor Dink Jenkins (LUKE WILSON), the town's star athlete, who's preparing to ship out in the service of Uncle Sam. Willie's father, Jack Morris (KEVIN BACON), a stern but good-hearted veteran who lost his leg in the Spanish Civil War, is chiefly responsible for Willie's overprotective upbringing. Pushing in the other direction is his mother, Ellen Morris (DIANE LANE), a capable woman who knows that what Willie needs most is some freedom.and a friend. Willie's ninth birthday gives her an opportunity to offer him both, in the form of a Jack Russell terrier puppy that the delighted Willie names Skip.

Skip's outgoing personality helps Willie to build a friendship with Rivers Applewhite (CAITLIN WACHS), the prettiest girl in school. Skip then further serves as matchmaker for Willie and Rivers at the movie theater, and lends a paw after Willie is challenged by Big Boy Wilkinson (BRADLEY CORYELL), Henjie Henick (DAYLAN HONEYCUTT) and Spit McGee (CODY LINLEY) to prove his worth in a football game. With Skip's canine help, Willie starts becoming "one of the boys." Then unexpectedly, Dink returns to Yazoo. But the dark truth soon emerges: Dink, when confronted by the realities of war, went AWOL. In trying to reconcile his hero worship of the Dink he once knew with his disappointment in the disgraced soldier, Willie begins to contend with the complexities of war and human conduct. He reaches a new perspective on these matters through his father's eyes and his own. Dink fails to show up at Willie's first baseball game, and the disappointed Willie takes it out on Skip, who runs away. The dog's disappearance and subsequent recovery teach Willie the strength of forgiveness, and give Dink a chance to embrace the power of redemption. Ultimately, it is a dog's love that teaches Willie Morris lifelong lessons of the human spirit.

Stefan Ulstein summarizes The House of D...
As Tommy remembers the events in his life that led him to leave home at an early age, he realizes he must return to make peace with those events. Puberty takes its toll in more ways than one, and Tommy, like any teenager, needs some emotional space as he navigates the minefield of his emerging manhood. That means breaking ties with his childhood friend, Pappass, and finding some independence from his mother. He meets a lovely girl (Zelda Williams) whom he initially insults, but later a brief, sweet friendship ensues. Unfortunately, a few key events set Tommy's world upside down and his brief sojourn into adolescence is replaced by an enforced early adulthood.

John writes

isolated boys, confused about manhood, get aid from unusual sources. both stories make you cry. the deaths of the innocent and the good are supposed to do that to you. the redemption of the wrong doers will do it too. both boys resort to violence as part of their entry to manhood. both are wrong. manhood can exist without violence. the soldier can't kill. another soldier tries to insulate his son from violence. the characters who bring catharsis endure violence yet retain their identities. both boys learn to untie from the dock and set out into the uncharted world of adulthood, one with guides, one without. they give glimpses of the need for transition but leave unanswered the best way to facilitate it.  movies can't do it all. but these do point to the need for us grown ups to help the boys grow up.

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