In 1993, a movie was released that would forever change a generation. Though they are all great films I would later learn to love, I’m not talking about Schindler’s List, The Piano or Philadelphia. No the 1993 release that had the most impact on my generation was the one and only Beethoven’s 2nd. The sequel to the original flick about that fun-loving slobbery St.Bernard, B2, as it was called by no one, was one of those rare cases of a sequel outshining it’s predecessor, unlike Honey I shrunk The Kids or Return of Jefar. (If you’re not getting these references, I’ll put some historical context in these brackets for you throughout this piece.)
I was almost five when B2 came out on VHS, and for some reason, this was one of those movies that almost every family in the ’90s seemed to own. Maybe they printed too many copies and they had some sort of crazy clearance at Blockbuster. (For the younger readers – Blockbuster was an actual place that used to exist, where families, adults and youths would stroll down the aisles, looking for hard copies of movies. They would pay anywhere from $4-10 to rent these films for a few days. They also sold videos and eventually DVDs, before eventually going out of business. Perhaps you learned about this in a History of Media Class.)
Whatever the reason, whenever it comes up with kids born in the late ’80s, everyone is familiar with it and everyone loves it*. There was a whole plot about adorable puppies getting kidnapped by Regina, aka Vinnie Chase’s Publicist from Entourage, which is over the op and perfect. The dogs are of course adorable, but the real stars of this film are the Newton Family. There is the staple nerdy middle child, the cute youngest sister with a lisp the incomparable Bonnie Hunt as the ever-caring Mother and a bumbling Charles Grodin as the buffoon-like father, including a scene where he and Beethoven enter a Dog & Owner burger eating contest at the fair. But above all of these, there was the cool older sister. She was trendy, pretty and cool, and I for one, thought she was a definite highlight of this cinematic treasure. So without further adieu, here are a few reasons why she and by extension, the entire film was brilliant.
1. She was named Ryce, which was both hilarious and edgy.
2.She was played by the girl from The Nanny (Nicholle Tom), so we all instantly felt comfortable with her. (All kids in the ’90s watched The Nanny. Also Full House, but that’s another story.)
3. Ryce’s dreamy love interest was played by a cool, young, brooding Danny Masterson, enough said there.
4. Even though she was a cool teenager, Ryce still cared enough about Beethoven and the puppies to organize a feeding schedule with her two younger siblings.
5. At one point in the movie Ryce attends the wild “Bad” party with drinking and sex that culminates in the beach house literally collapsing into the lake. I know it sounds unbelievable, but if there was any time for moral subtlety, this was not it. Needless to say, I never attended any beach parties in my teens for fear of being locked in a bedroom with a creepy ex-boyfriend, or drowning drunk after my St.Bernard destroys an entire summer home. One can never be too safe. Or build a firm enough foundation for a lake-frontbeach house.
Along with Land Before Time, Honey I Shrunk The Kids and The Big Green, Beethoven’s 2nd will remain in my heart as one of the greatest films the ’90s ever produced, and Ryce will forever be that cool older girl, flirting with a young Steven Hyde.
*These statistics were gathered by me asking four of my girlfriends born in 1989, a guy born in 1987 and his sister born in 1988.
Feature image via.