The Trial Of Old Drum (2000)
Director: Sean McNamara.
Starring: Scott Bakula (George Graham Vest), Bobby Edner (Charlie Jr), Aaron Fors (Donny), Kathy Garver (Katey), Alexis O'Keefe (Ann), Ron Perlman (Charles Sr), John Schuck (Lon), Alia Shawkat (Dee).
This is a family movie set in 1950’s rural America about a boy whose Uncle presses sheep killing charges against his dog Drum, starting not only a family legal feud but community discord as their town begins to take sides.
This is formula film that attempts to be very touching and sweet. Its biggest weakness is that the only people who could really act were Scott Bakula, Ron Perlman and the dog. (John Shuck and Kathy Garver, "Sissy" from the original "Family Affair," as the Uncle and his wife, were okay.) The children were not that good (basically they looked like they were acting) and that's a problem when the film really revolves around them (Aaron Fors, who plays the bully Donny makes me think of what the actor Russell Crowe must have looked liked as a child, only with no talent but a lot of ham).
Ron Perlman plays the widowed father of Drum’s young master. It was nice to 1) actually see him and not him with a lot of make up on and 2) see him not kill anyone for a change. He plays a strong, loving Dad and has some nice tender moments with his love interest (Alexis O’Keefe).
Favorite line (spoken by the Prosecutor after Scott Bakula's Defense closing trial speech): "We'll be lucky if they don't lynch us."
Favorite line spoken by Ron Perlman (after his son punches the bully): "Now making him your friend, that will be the hard part."
Cute enough to rent/buy used. The Region 1 DVD has deleted scenes and an audio commentary with director Sean McNamara, producer David Brookwell and director of photography Mark Doering-Powell.
First published in 2004 on "The Perlman Pages":