Posted on May 23, 2010  ·   Posted By Ray Wray Kowalczyk      

Top 5 Favorite Animals and Cars

I teach freshman composition, and this semester I had a whole day dedicated to “roadkill poems”. “Traveling through the Dark” by William Stafford has always been one of those poems I read early on in my writing career that made me go “Wow!” I know this isn’t the appropriate forum to advertise poetry, but these poems really got me started thinking about animals and cars. Are they inherently linked? If these keep showing up in literature, they’ve got to be in film too. And the more I thought about it, I realized they are.

So here are my top five favorite animal and car moments in movies.

#5 Puffy from There’s Something About Mary


Puffy was injured in a freak speed accident, brought on by the maniacal Pat Healy. As if a tiny Benji-like dog in a full body cast wasn’t funny enough, during a montage scene Ted is loading Mary’s SUV with groceries, and he puts Puffy on top of the car. Of course, he forgets Puffy, who rides on top of the car the entire ride home, weighted down by the cast. So sad.


#4 Tyson’s Tiger from The Hangover

Tyson's Tiger

Drunk out of their minds, the crew decided it would be a good idea to steal Mike Tyson’s tiger. Unfortunately, when they have to return the tiger, he wakes up a little too soon from the tranquilizers, slashing into Phil’s neck and taking over the car. Their near “tunnel death” is surprising and strange.


#3 Rabid Raccoon from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Rabid Raccoon

As if their quest for the perfect burger wasn’t difficult enough, things are really messed up when a rabid raccoon comes into the picture. It sneaks into the car and attacks the stoned victim of Harold. But the attack isn’t just for laughs. This actually leads into some important plot points, as it gets us to the hospital to find out the severity of Kumar’s family pressuring him into the medical profession.


#2 The Deer from Tommy Boy

Tommy Boy Deer

Wray said it best in Planet Terror. “I read a statistic that said the eating of venison has risen 30 percent in the last few years. 60 percent of that is from road kill”. All the time, especially in a rural area, people who hit deer load the deer into their cars without even thinking twice. Regardless of their motivations (to eat or not to eat roadkill..hmm..), I’ve heard stories of these deer waking up. They weren’t dead, but only in shock. And this is what Tommy Boy shows us—a deer waking up in a person’s car when you least expect it.


#1 Dinky the Dog from National Lampoon’s Vacation


This is the iconic unavoidable one. The crazy aunt’s had a crazy dog through the whole movie. But when Clark Griswold tied the dog to the bumper while they finished packing the car, it seemed harmless enough. The family would have never found out if not for the compassionate motorcycle cop pulling them over to lecture Clark about his cruelty to animals. I’ll never forget that sad moment when the cop comes back for one last line, “Here’s the leash, sir. I’m going back to get the rest of the carcass off the road.”


BONUS Roadkill Raccoon from Vacancy

Roadkill Raccoon

I’ve included this one because I have to prove to you that animals and cars aren’t only restricted to the comedy genre. You might think that this is simply a movie about an estranged couple ending up stuck in a psychotic death trap of a hotel. This isn’t the case at all. When a raccoon runs in front of their car and David Fox has to swerve, the car can’t handle his swift maneuvering, malfunctioning and providing the catalyst for all the horror to come. If it weren’t’ for that pesky raccoon, this movie wouldn’t exist.

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  1. It’s Tyson’s tiger…not Lion as you have in the headline

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