Tom Hanks Project – “Turner & Hooch” Review

4 Feb


We first watched this lovable movie together on my iPad on the flight from Chicago to Dusseldorf to start our Europe trip. Maybe a tearjerker like “Turner & Hooch” on an international flight, when you’re 1/3 of the way through a three week stretch without your dog, isn’t the best idea*. Still, we loved the movie then and loved it just as much last night when we watched it over dinner, with Scooby sprawled out across our laps on the couch**. Caitlin insisted I write down that Tom Hanks looked his most handsome in this movie, and it’s hard to disagree. He’s in the best shape of his life, and is on top of his comedy and romantic game in this charmer***.

*Tears. for. DAYS.

**Less crying this time, but the love remained.

***He’s a somewhat neurotic neat freak with nerdy-but-handsome glasses who works out and eats exactly right.

turnerwinslowHanks plays Detective Scott Turner, a well-liked young investigator in his last week on the job in a small town. Before he leaves for the big city of Sacramento, he has a couple more cases left to show his replacement (Carl Winslow) the ropes. Some funny cop banter ensues. They head to the docks to alert the guy who runs the fish yard that they found one of his stolen boats, and then head around the corner to check in with an old guy who lives in what appears to be a junkyard. There, they run into the biggest, sloppiest dog you’ve ever seen, and even though Turner has a muffin to give him, Hooch tackles and slobbers all over our hero. We meet his grizzled, old owner, who tells us something’s fishy, and it ain’t the fish deliveries*. Then they go to the beach to investigate why some kids found thousands of dollars in an envelope. The next day, Hooch’s owner is found dead, but we witness his murder (well, I did. Caitlin covered her eyes.**)


**I watched it on the iPad and remembered it being icky so I turned away this time.

doggieWith his owner dead, what is to be done with this oversized, slobbery mutt? Turner refuses to let him be put down, so in a great bit of physical comedy, he tries to wrestle Hooch into his car, but has to resort to driving slowly with Hooch running alongside the car on a leash. Now is a good time to point out that Turner is a total neat freak. When he stops in to pick up food and supplies for Hooch, the dog completely destroys his house, even getting dog drunk in the process*. We spent the whole scene alternating between laughing and shaking our heads. Nooo, not the record collection!

*They’re like the odd couple, but with a dog and a guy.

Turner-Hooch-tom-hanks-14472601-853-480How is Turner going to handle this mutt? If only there was a lovely veterinarian in town who had a big crush on him. Oh, there totally is. She helps calm Hooch down* and before we know it, Turner’s helping her paint her house and Hooch has fallen in love with her dog. We alternate between their budding love and Turner solving the case, with the help of Hooch. Being a Disney movie and all, you may think you know what’s coming. Crime solved. Turner and vet fall in love. Hooch and dog fall in love. Happily ever after. Almost.

*And fixes him up. They actually meet prior to Turner buying food for Hooch and finding his house a shambles, because Turner takes Hooch right from the scene of the crime to the vet.

hoochshotHooch is a brave, brave pup. In the final battle with the bad guys, he leaps off a balcony to help Turner, gets shot, and still manages to crawl his way to bite the guy who’s about to kill his beloved owner*. Turner rushes him to his vet girlfriend and is convinced she’ll be able to save him. I was convinced too. I kept telling Caitlin “No way they’re going to kill the dog off. Don’t worry.” But she was already crying**, having remembered that she’d seen and knew the ending. Despite the vet’s best efforts, (I gotta say, she really didn’t seem as urgent about it as you’d think) there’s nothing to be done. He’s just lost too much blood. It’s especially heartbreaking, since Turner’s crying and saying, “We just need to get him home. He’ll be OK,” over and over. He convinced me! The movie doesn’t let us linger on sadness too long. We skip ahead an unspecified amount of time. Turner and the vet are married, she’s pregnant*** and they’ve got a full house of puppies, including one that looks just like Hooch. RIP Hooch****.


**On the plane, that is. The second viewing, we both knew what was coming.

***She is?! I don’t even remember that part! It wasn’t expressly said, but I’m pretty sure I saw a shot of her that made her look pretty far along.

****Disney really knows how to make me sob at animal movies. Looking at you, Homeward Bound.

Laugh Out Loud: Zack: 52 Caitlin: 44 A lot of physical humor, but it works. Even though we’d seen it less than five months ago, we still laughed at most of the jokes, especially any oversized dog destroying stuff bits. Tom really commits to the physicality and it pays off. One of the funniest scenes is when Turner and Hooch and doing their stakeout and Turner is telling Hooch all kinds of hilarious stories and tasting his dog treats. My favorite is when he talks about some monkey TV show and does a monkey face.

Cry: Zack: 0 Caitlin: 1 Neither of us cried this time, though I was on the brink. Caitlin had a good hard cry in our first watch on the plane. It’s a tear jerker, no doubt. I wanted to stay strong for Caitlin the first time, and this time, I’d just seen it too recently. Didn’t quite make it to tears. No crying this time around, but I felt emotional and definitely wept openly on the plane.

Cover Eyes: Zack: 0 Caitlin: 4 There’s a fair bit of action in this one and Caitlin covered up any time a knife or gun was pulled out. Not all that violent, (It’s PG) but a murder is pretty much guaranteed to make Caitlin cover up. People got stabbed!!!!!!


Romantic Interest: Zack: 9 Caitlin: 9 Really Great chemistry. She comes on strong and he’s clearly into her from the word go. She pulled my “So, you have a wife? Girlfriend?” line, initiated their first kiss and told him she had pictured “much more” than just unbuttoning one button no her blouse. There was a lot of plot to get through, so they didn’t have too many scenes together, but in the few they had their connection was undeniable. I really like them as a couple and wish this former brat packer was in more Hanks movies. After just one night together, Hanks was telling his cop buddy that he’d spent the night with “the future Mrs. Turner,” which is just the most adorable thing of all time. Truly, this romance was precious, believable, and wonderful, AND the vet was freaking cool! Loved it and totally rooted for them.

Hanks: Zack: 9.2 Caitlin: 9.5 He bounced back from “The Burbs” in a big way. He’s excellent acting against the dog, the love interest, and balances physical humor and seriousness quite well. This movie is made infinitely better because of him and it easily could have been a sappy one. He made a just OK script jump off the page and made this a totally re-watchable movie. Hanks was absolutely fantastic in this film. He really became the character, made you root for him, was believable when he fell for Hooch AND the vet, made your heart break as his did when Hooch was dying…simply magnificent effort.

Movie: Zack: 8.3 Caitlin: 8.5 As we wrap up ’80s Hanks, it’s odd how hit or miss he could be when given an uninspiring script. He couldn’t save “The Burbs” or “Dragnet,” but even though “Turner and Hooch” is seemingly a combination of those two, it all comes together splendidly. It’s funny, sweet, exciting and just works. Its entirely re-watchable and a perfect sick day or missing your dog kind of movie. Highly recommended. Absolutely agreed. I rank this one tied with “Splash,” with only “Big” coming out ahead in the 80s. This film is funny, mysterious, exciting, heartbreaking, AND heartwarming! It has everything. But don’t watch on a plane on your way to a three-week vacation away from your dog, unless you’re very comfortable sobbing in front of strangers.


3 Responses to “Tom Hanks Project – “Turner & Hooch” Review”

  1. Jeff October 2, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Great review. Recently relocated to Austin from CA. I had great fun as an extra in this film. (The only chaffeur) we shot in Pacific Grove and the wedding scene took 3 days. Tom was hilarious and quite decent and full of humility. He was kind to the extras and locals. A genuine gentleman Hanks is real…and thankful for his good fortune. As a film addict I am too.

    • Zack October 4, 2015 at 6:43 am #

      That’s awesome! Glad to hear more evidence that Tom truly is a great guy. So cool you got to be an extra. Welcome to Austin!


  1. Introduction to The Tom Hanks Project | rockloveaustin - February 9, 2014

    […] Turner & Hooch – 1989 Review […]

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