Turner & Hooch is a 1989 comedy drama crime film starring Tom Hanks and Beasley the Dog as the eponymous characters, Turner and Hooch respectively. The film also stars Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson, and Reginald VelJohnson. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode; the film was originally slated to be directed by Henry Winkler, but he was terminated due to "creative differences". It was co-written by Michael Blodgett from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls fame.
Although K-9 (with James Belushi) was released prior to this film (exactly three months earlier), Turner & Hooch became more popular and seemingly overshadowed its greater success, even though K-9 had a very similar plot. A pilot for a Turner & Hooch TV series was made and ran as a part of Disneyland.
Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) an obsessively neat police investigator, acquires Hooch (Beasley the Dog), a large and slobbery Dogue de Bordeaux, after the murder of Amos Reed (John McIntire), a local junk-yard owner who was a friend of Turner's. Turner is bored with little police work in the fictional town of Cypress Beach, California and is set to transfer to a better job in Sacramento while fellow investigator David Sutton (Reginald VelJohnson) is to be his replacement.
Turner pleads with police chief Howard Hyde (Craig T. Nelson) to let him take on Amos' murder case. Believing that Hooch is the only "witness" he has, Turner brings him home. The energetic dog promptly destroys Turner's house, his car, and turns his life upside-down. On a positive note, however, Hooch also instigates a romance between Turner and the new town veterinarian Emily Carson (Mare Winningham).
- Tom Hanks as Det. Scott Turner
- Beasley as Hooch
- Mare Winningham as Dr. Emily Carson
- Craig T. Nelson as Chief Howard Hyde
- Reginald VelJohnson as Det. David Sutton
- Scott Paulin as Zack Gregory
- J. C. Quinn as Walter Boyett
- John McIntire as Amos Reed
- David Knell as Ernie
- Ebbe Roe Smith as Harley McCabe
- Kevin Scannell as Jeff Foster
- Joel Bailey as Ferraday
- Mary McCusker as Katie
- Ernie Lively as Motel Clerk
- Clyde Kusatsu as Kevin Williams
- Elaine Renee Bush as Store Clerk
- Eda Reiss Merin as Mrs. Remington
Hooch's real name was Beasley, and he was a rare Dogue de Bordeaux, a French breed of dog developed for fighting in the 15th century. Beasley was owned and trained by Clint Rowe, who makes a brief appearance in the film as an ASPCA officer. Beasley died in 1992. Animal Makers created an exact replica of Hooch for the famous death scene.
Reception and legacy
Turner & Hooch gained a somewhat favorable response from critics, with a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it was a box office success. No plans remain for a sequel despite its revived popularity following Hanks' rise to success. NBC did a television pilot based on the film in 1990. It aired in the summer with another dog pilot, "Poochinski" under the banner, "Two Dog Night".
Turner & Hooch has been referred to in various films and television shows, including the NBC-TV/ABC medical sitcom Scrubs, in which main characters J.D. and Turk modify shift schedules so that Doctors Turner and Hooch are teamed up as a surgical team in the episode "My Faith in Humanity" (Doctor Turner was played by Jim Hanks, Tom Hanks' brother). They actually make a good team, and are disappointed when they have to disband. Another episode has Turk offended at JD's assumption that Turner and Hooch was an interracial buddy movie, an assumption made based on the aforementioned Hooch. In the second season of Castle, Beckett and Castle compare themselves to Turner and Hooch, with Castle being Hooch.
During an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, O'Brien gave Tom Hanks a preserved dog skeleton, claiming it was his old friend Hooch. As one of O'Brien's first guests on The Tonight Show, Hanks improvised a song from an alleged Turner & Hooch stage musical. During the 2006 Academy Awards, Tom Hanks played in a sketch about acceptance speeches that ran on too long. In his comedic lengthy speech, he thanked Hooch.
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