Skippy Reviews

  • Jul 23, 2020

    Far too childish for me.

    Far too childish for me.

  • Dec 08, 2019

    Child actors rarely receive the respect they deserve and when they do it is often for heavy, dramatic performances such as that of Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon (1973) or Vinicius de Oliveira in Central Station (1998). This early Best Picture nominee earned a nine year old Jackie Cooper a Best Actor nomination in a lineup that featured respected veterans like winner Lionel Barrymore for A Free Soul (1931) and Adolphe Menjou in The Front Page (1931). I expected that he would be a regularly cutesy kid with too many affectations to tolerate but I found his work to be surprisingly complex and he felt very authentic in his portrayal of a young man coping with various power imbalances in his life. The film as a whole felt like a regular piece of ‘wholesome' entertainment for children that would have been more comfortable in the Production Code era but it would have pleased it's target audience and still offers some amusement today. The aggressive young Skippy Skinner, Jackie Cooper, is afraid of his overbearing and wealthy father Doctor Herbert, Willard Robertson, but has a close relationship with his amenable and trusting mother Ellen, Enid Bennett. His father strongly dissuades him from traveling to the shantytown where poor families live and the other children are afraid of Skinner who presents himself as tough. He goes against his father's orders and heads over to the shantytown where he encounters the kind Sooky, Robert Coogan, who has his dog captured by the cruel Mr. Nubbins, Jack Rube Clifford, after the children accidentally cause his son to break his windshield. They must provide him with three dollars in order to get Sooky's dog back but after giving Nubbins an initial payment he announces he wants another payment from them. One of the realities that the film proves is that family dynamics have not changed all that much over time as mothers still dote on their sons and children are still likely to disobey the orders of their parents. We witness Skinner pretending to be readying himself for his day while trying to sleep in as his mother calls for him downstairs in a panicked but loving tone and I could immediately relate to the members of this family. My mother certainly has more freedom than the mother presented in this film and she has interests outside of taking care of her child but her treatment of my brother was similar to this mother's gentle care for her young boy was so close to my mother's that I felt bonded to them. My father was very different to the father present in this film as he is far from uptight and stern but I have certainly felt the shame of disappointing him and the joy that comes with having your father accept you is shown nicely here when Skinner's father consoles him towards the end of the film. Families will identify with the members of this family due to the familiarity of their interactions and the sweetness of the love they have for one another. Cooper's performance is also a bright spot as he proves himself capable of carrying a proper emotional arc for his character and is genuinely funny and adorable. He pulls of the physical comedy elements of the film as his sullen expressions after falling over during the awkward magic show he attempts to stage to make money are simply hilarious. There is something to be said of the fact that he makes his fascination with Sooky and eventual alliance with him feel like a natural progression as he is tentative around him in early scenes before embracing him wholeheartedly with an easy grin. There were moments where the emotional melodrama was laid on a little too thick but Cooper's emotional breakdown was heartbreaking and he was smart not to overplay it and instead chose to play it subtly. He earned his Best Actor nomination and in some ways impressed more than his older and significantly more experienced peers. In a deeper year this film most likely would not have received Academy Award nominations but as it stands it has probably aged better than many productions made for adult audiences during this period.

    Child actors rarely receive the respect they deserve and when they do it is often for heavy, dramatic performances such as that of Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon (1973) or Vinicius de Oliveira in Central Station (1998). This early Best Picture nominee earned a nine year old Jackie Cooper a Best Actor nomination in a lineup that featured respected veterans like winner Lionel Barrymore for A Free Soul (1931) and Adolphe Menjou in The Front Page (1931). I expected that he would be a regularly cutesy kid with too many affectations to tolerate but I found his work to be surprisingly complex and he felt very authentic in his portrayal of a young man coping with various power imbalances in his life. The film as a whole felt like a regular piece of ‘wholesome' entertainment for children that would have been more comfortable in the Production Code era but it would have pleased it's target audience and still offers some amusement today. The aggressive young Skippy Skinner, Jackie Cooper, is afraid of his overbearing and wealthy father Doctor Herbert, Willard Robertson, but has a close relationship with his amenable and trusting mother Ellen, Enid Bennett. His father strongly dissuades him from traveling to the shantytown where poor families live and the other children are afraid of Skinner who presents himself as tough. He goes against his father's orders and heads over to the shantytown where he encounters the kind Sooky, Robert Coogan, who has his dog captured by the cruel Mr. Nubbins, Jack Rube Clifford, after the children accidentally cause his son to break his windshield. They must provide him with three dollars in order to get Sooky's dog back but after giving Nubbins an initial payment he announces he wants another payment from them. One of the realities that the film proves is that family dynamics have not changed all that much over time as mothers still dote on their sons and children are still likely to disobey the orders of their parents. We witness Skinner pretending to be readying himself for his day while trying to sleep in as his mother calls for him downstairs in a panicked but loving tone and I could immediately relate to the members of this family. My mother certainly has more freedom than the mother presented in this film and she has interests outside of taking care of her child but her treatment of my brother was similar to this mother's gentle care for her young boy was so close to my mother's that I felt bonded to them. My father was very different to the father present in this film as he is far from uptight and stern but I have certainly felt the shame of disappointing him and the joy that comes with having your father accept you is shown nicely here when Skinner's father consoles him towards the end of the film. Families will identify with the members of this family due to the familiarity of their interactions and the sweetness of the love they have for one another. Cooper's performance is also a bright spot as he proves himself capable of carrying a proper emotional arc for his character and is genuinely funny and adorable. He pulls of the physical comedy elements of the film as his sullen expressions after falling over during the awkward magic show he attempts to stage to make money are simply hilarious. There is something to be said of the fact that he makes his fascination with Sooky and eventual alliance with him feel like a natural progression as he is tentative around him in early scenes before embracing him wholeheartedly with an easy grin. There were moments where the emotional melodrama was laid on a little too thick but Cooper's emotional breakdown was heartbreaking and he was smart not to overplay it and instead chose to play it subtly. He earned his Best Actor nomination and in some ways impressed more than his older and significantly more experienced peers. In a deeper year this film most likely would not have received Academy Award nominations but as it stands it has probably aged better than many productions made for adult audiences during this period.

  • Feb 28, 2019

    Skippy catches what it's like to be a kid and be out of the house all day long like most American kids were until the 1980s. Skippy's world was vast, open, and endless, and this very realistic account is exactly how it feels to be so young and free, reacting to the environment around them they don't understand quite so well yet. No other movie in lose to 100 years has ever captured these qualities to this extent. This one is a classic.

    Skippy catches what it's like to be a kid and be out of the house all day long like most American kids were until the 1980s. Skippy's world was vast, open, and endless, and this very realistic account is exactly how it feels to be so young and free, reacting to the environment around them they don't understand quite so well yet. No other movie in lose to 100 years has ever captured these qualities to this extent. This one is a classic.

  • Feb 09, 2017

    Although a little heavy handed & dialogue isn't too impressive this film has a charm to it & despite its flaws quite entertaining & a glimpse into a forgotten American of child life. The story of Skippy played to perfection by Jackie Cooper who prefers to spend his days at Shanty Town which infuriates his father. It's a great look into what children did in the depression & how they made their own fun. I believe Jackie Cooper was the young actor to be nominated for an Oscar (he actually fell asleep at the Oscars) & Norman Taurog the director was the youngest at 32 to win Best Director.

    Although a little heavy handed & dialogue isn't too impressive this film has a charm to it & despite its flaws quite entertaining & a glimpse into a forgotten American of child life. The story of Skippy played to perfection by Jackie Cooper who prefers to spend his days at Shanty Town which infuriates his father. It's a great look into what children did in the depression & how they made their own fun. I believe Jackie Cooper was the young actor to be nominated for an Oscar (he actually fell asleep at the Oscars) & Norman Taurog the director was the youngest at 32 to win Best Director.

  • Jul 23, 2015

    good pre-code early talkie family pic about a boy & his dog

    good pre-code early talkie family pic about a boy & his dog

  • Jun 25, 2014

    This adaptation from a popular newspaper comic from 1931 is boring and slow. Jackie Cooper does a great job as Skippy. I could not get into it.

    This adaptation from a popular newspaper comic from 1931 is boring and slow. Jackie Cooper does a great job as Skippy. I could not get into it.

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    John B Super Reviewer
    Mar 21, 2014

    Made for children, there are redeeming qualities for adults to think about the poor..blah blah blah. Another for the good but not great pile.

    Made for children, there are redeeming qualities for adults to think about the poor..blah blah blah. Another for the good but not great pile.

  • Oct 15, 2012

    Skippy is a solid, frequently endearing and memorable early children's flick which is one of the most peculiar Best Picture nominees ever having in mind that it's a family flick based on a comic strip. It's a fine, but familiarly plotted, not well acted movie which has a good first and third act, but the second one is somewhat annoying in dialogue and plot points.

    Skippy is a solid, frequently endearing and memorable early children's flick which is one of the most peculiar Best Picture nominees ever having in mind that it's a family flick based on a comic strip. It's a fine, but familiarly plotted, not well acted movie which has a good first and third act, but the second one is somewhat annoying in dialogue and plot points.

  • Feb 22, 2011

    Really liked this film. On the surface it's just plan adorable and charming but underneath are some very meaningful messages. There are some great performances in this film; I loved the wonderfully expressive Jackie Cooper as Skippy. This really shows what it's like to be a kid, genuinely- through kids' eyes.

    Really liked this film. On the surface it's just plan adorable and charming but underneath are some very meaningful messages. There are some great performances in this film; I loved the wonderfully expressive Jackie Cooper as Skippy. This really shows what it's like to be a kid, genuinely- through kids' eyes.

  • Aj V Super Reviewer
    Sep 03, 2010

    This is a cute and slightly more realistic movie than you'd expect. It's really very interesting, and I highly recommend it.

    This is a cute and slightly more realistic movie than you'd expect. It's really very interesting, and I highly recommend it.