John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


The Marley & Me Premiere

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Marley & Me film premiere was last week, Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Mann Village Theater in Los Angeles, and the whole Grogan family was on hand. Even though my rational side kept telling myself all the glitz and glamor were manufactured for the purpose of creating buzz about the new movie, I couldn't help getting swept up in the moment. The huge expanse of red carpet, the bright lights, the banks of photographers, the crowds, the VIPs, the arriving stars... it was pretty damn cool. Even my blase teenage sons thought so.

We hung around on the red carpet for the better part of an hour where I had a sloppy slobbering reunion with my favorite new actor, Clyde the crazy Labrador retriever who plays Marley at his wildest. He was on hand (paw?) with his trainers and didn't hesitate to give me a big wet face kiss.

Then Owen Wilson arrived and the crowd went wild. A few minutes later Jennifer Aniston pulled up, looking dazzling as ever, and the crowd went *really* wild. Co-stars Eric Dane and Alan Arkin, and the child actors from the movie were also on hand, as were some other highly recognizable faces, including Courteney Cox, John Mayer, and Katherine Heigl.

My family and I saw the movie a few weeks ago in a private screening in New York. But watching it with 1,400 people Thursday night was a whole other experience. It was fascinating to watch which scenes brought bursts of spontaneous laughter -- there were a lot of them -- and to hear the weeps and sniffles at parts, too. For the record, let me say that Aniston and Wilson did an incredible job portraying Jenny and me. We all know how funny they can be -- and they are definitely funny here -- but both delivered tender, poignant performances, too. Owen especially showed a side of himself I had not seen in earlier work of his. There's deep and real emotion here.

The post-movie party was a riot -- even if the jet-lagged Grogans were dragging a little, our bodies telling us that L.A. midnight feels a whole lot like Philadelphia 3 a.m. We hung around Los Angeles for a couple more days to relax, thaw out, and see some attractions. A highlight for our kids was the boardwalk scene at Venice Beach -- despite howling winds and nippy temps.

My one disappointment at the premiere was that I did not get the chance to meet Alan Arkin and to tell him how much I loved his performance. He plays my (fictional) curmudgeonly editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and he nailed it in a hysterically understated way. A total hoot. But on our last day at our hotel, Jenny and I stepped into the elevator and there stood Arkin on his way to check out. So we got to say hi and exchange notes on the movie and the book and all things Marley. He's a very nice man.

When we arrived home to Pennsylvania, the weather was cold and grey and a heavy rainstorm had washed out our gravel driveway. Ah, sweet reality. The film premiere was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one I won't soon forget, but it was good to be back home, reality and all.

posted by John Grogan at 6:57 PM


Blogger hannah09 said...

I was annoyed to see Marley and Me at the top of the NYT best sellers list for so long. I never understood America's obsession with dogs.

My friend had the book at the beach back during Labor Day. Curious about it, I read the first 50 pages and cried and laughed my heart out.

I bought the book yesterday at my school's student center since the semester ended. I did not want to buy the movie version of the book but a sales girl was sweet enough to find the only copy in the store that included photographs.

I finished the book this morning at 3:00 a.m. with a lot more laughing and crying that I tried to stifle for my roommate's sake.

I loved the book and just want to say that I enjoyed your writing very much.


12:27 AM  
Blogger Iishan, Low said...

I am absolutely looking forward to the release of Marley & Me!

I'm from Malaysia and i absolutely enjoyed the book! Cried and laughed my soul away! Just so heartwarming and overwhelming where we are able to relate our own dog stories with yours.

Waiting in anticipation for Marley and Me the movie! :)


1:43 AM  
Blogger rpuanani said...

Aloha John...after reading your book, I feel like I know you on a first-name basis. I just wanted to say, that I am not much of a reader, but after hearing about your book and loving animals as much as I do, I bought it and the children's version (you so nicely made for them) for my 11-year old daughter. We both have not been able to put it down and I just finished it with major tears and a runny nose! I LOVED it SO much and I fell in love with your dog. I want to race to Blockbuster to get his movie just so I can get a glimpse of the real Marley, no matter how short. I think what made me sad most of all, was that he was sedated when you put him to sleep...that he couldn't know you were there for him as he drifted away, to comfort him. That, he was with strangers when he went unconcious, last. Boy, did I every cry! in peace Marley, our life is better from you being in it! Thanks for sharing him with us, John...Rayna :o)

1:02 AM  
Blogger Cristy said...

Well I finished Marley & Me last night, I had to retreat to my bedroom to finish i was crying so hard. This hits close to home for me. My husband and I had gotten a black lab (Abbi) when are son was 1 Like everyone thinks of there dogs she was a great dog. We had to put her down 3 months ago. She was 13 and it is one of the saddest things we have ever had to do. She like Marley had lost her senses and mobility. When you talked about Jenny and the kids saying goodby to Marley it ripped my heart out. We had to do the same with Abbi and we will forever miss her. Thanks so much for your time and great detail you put into your book. Can't wait for the movie to come out.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Victor said...

Well, I am so excited to watch Marley and me on the big screen.. I love Aniston so much, and I won't even start about your book.. Sure it will be a smash hit at the box office..

10:39 AM  
Blogger Amanda Pina said...

It must been really good to walk on that red carpet. It not just about the stars, is about a great thing to come, an amazing story that makes everyone glad.

Good luck!

12:12 PM  
Blogger hannah said...

I loved Marley and Me so much. The funny thing is, Marley reminded me a lot of my crazy golden retriever named Sunny. She eats every single think that fits into her jaws.I laughed out loud and cried till there were no tears left. I loved the book way beyond words, and I'm very excited to see the movie!


2:03 PM  
Blogger virgdan1 said...

My 10 year old daughter first read the Young Reader's version and begged me to read it too. You are an awesome writer. I feel like we were in the room with you as you were experiencing all of Marley's antics. When I got to the last 3 chapters, my daughter asked me to read them out loud. We bawled our eyes out and even chuckled too.

We lost our first (female) black lab when she was 9 years old and had to put her to sleep and currently have a male lab. This male has the same appetite as Marley and we call him the "stealth dog". Many blessings to you and your family for the holidays and on the movie. We're planning on seeing it on Opening Day (Christmas). Thanks for sharing!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Planet said...

Mr. grogan and Family
I am 1/2 way through your book and am just giggling through so many parts of it! We have a yellow lab named Molly. She would also Lick a stranger to death, but of course, WE wouldnt tell them that!!!! Molly is only 5 now, and has already cost us close to $6000 in vet bills. She swallowed one of my quilting pins after I retrieved a mouthful of them out of her mouth and needed surgery, I didnt know she had swallowed one! She scratched her eye on bushes outside and needed to see a doggy opthamoligist, she swallowed a full bottle of her doggy meds and all of the cat poo, deer poo and her own poo she has eaten caused her to get some sort of illness in which she needed meds! and the list goes on! A woman friend of mine says to me once, as Molly so graciously greeted her at the door, smelling my friends 'private area' "You need to bring your dog to obedience school!" My responce "I did for 6 months!"
Yes, Only a Labrador owner can truly love a labrador! I look at Molly and only Love her a little more, if thats possible!
I can hardly wait to see the movie, but not untill I finish the book! Congratulations for all you all have accomplished.
I have my own 'Molly & me'!
Thanks, from all us Lab owners!!
Janet Kubick!

12:43 PM  
Blogger danielle said...

I said I wanted to see this movie and my boyfriend told me it was a book. So i got it as an early Christmas present, and just finished it..I cried and laughed...Marley reminds me of our dog Max...Its a great story =] I loved the book!!!!

3:11 PM  
Blogger lanies said...

Hi, I cannot wait to see the movie about Marley! I happen to live in your area, not liking our weather, presently! I'm presently reading your book about Marley. My 10 year old grandson also bought it at the school book fair. I will never forget our dog Daisy, a black and white Border collie, she was such a good dog, my husband refuses to get another. She could be a stinker also. She chewed everything as a puppy, the worst thing she did was eat a half of chicken my husband had set on the counter. He told her "now you leave that alone" Riiiight! She pulled it off the counter as soon as he left the room! I do miss her. It was the most difficult to put her down after 15 years.
I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

4:20 PM  
Blogger kathyrose said...

I am a high school English teacher. Two years agao I read the book "Marley & Me with my 9th period wildcat...while they hated to read, they loved the story. Fast forward two years. I currently teach a few seniors that I had that year and they are so looking forward to seeing the movie over Christmas break (as am I). I haven't had the chance to teach the book again but will do so at the first opportunity. I also have written a book (about my horse) called "I See Spots" those who have read it had only positive things to say about it....

10:40 AM  
Blogger Daly said...

Marley and Me is the first book i have read in a long time. I am busy with two daughters, 6 and 3, and a new puppy named Louie. Before getting Louie, I would have never been interested in this kind of book. I loved everything about the book and finished it on a flight down to Fla from NY on xmas eve. The lady in the next seat in front of me had just started the book and I told her how great it was, with my eyes red and bloodshot from crying. Upon finishing the book as the flight was about to land, I traded it with the stewardess on the plane. The next day xmas we all went to see the movie. My girls loved it because it reminded them of Louie. Thanks for sharing Marley and Me with us. Best of luck on all your success

7:55 PM  
Blogger boywunder said...

Hey John, I just saw the movie today and what can I say. Wonderful. I read the book years ago when it was first released, and even met you at the Borders in Birmingham, MI that year. So I've been in anticipation of the movie for quite some time, and the wait was worth it.

Just like the book, it made me laugh and cry. I really loved it.

It's so great to see how Marley's love and wonderful spirit have been able to touch so many people.

Thank you again for sharing your story with all of us:)

8:57 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I just returned from seeing Marley and Me and there was not a dry eye in the house. A man sitting next to me asked if I had any tissues and then asked if I was ok. I told him that upon finishing the book, I lost my mind and called the Grogan residence and cried into Mrs. Grogan's ear for what felt like an eternity. Thankfully they did not have me arrested. Loved the movie and book!!! And I love Marley.

9:53 PM  
Blogger oldlucky602 said...

John, as a fellow Yellow Lab owner, I can relate. Went and saw the movie last night and loved almost every minute of it (had the book and shed a few tears reading it, takes A LOT to get me to do that)! So much of what you wrote about Marley could have been copied down for our dog Chance (he was named after the Monopoly game). When he was a puppy he chewed everything in sight. As he got older his digging skills improved (never had to clip his nails). Some samples: dug in the planter after it rained, covered himself in mud AND my beautiful lawn. Knawed the leg but good on my Adarondack chair! While eating dinner, thought he was knawing on his bone next to me, he was until he realized he could have more fun knawing on the kitchen table leg. Many a time stole my wifes underwear and socks, kept finding that in his poop. Yes, the locket incident in the movie, did that a number of times with items too. The ending my wife could not stay and watch. It was nearly identical to when we had to put Chance down. It was all that eating things he shouldn't have. It ended up scarring his intestine. The vet told us it will happen again just like in the movie. My wife was in the car, I held him in my arms.......and felt his life fade away.........With all the times he made me mad, I wouldn't have traded him for ANY dog in the world!!!!If ever I could talk to you John I would love it. Great book and wonderful Christmas movie!!!!!

7:30 AM  
Blogger Jin said...

I loved the book so much that I bought it for everyone I knew, including the book on CD.

We went to the movie yesterday, while we enjoyed it, we liked the book better. Thank you for sharing the story.

I loved your comments on Woodson, and am glad to know he is in the care of your family and you are not giving him back to the Breeder. I am sometimes amazed as to what people think a health guarantee will do for them, it is we will take the puppy back and give you a new one. A Breeder can do all types of testing for hips, elbows, knees and the like, and you still can end up with such a puppy. Obliviously, the Breeder could not shoulder the cost of care, and will offer a new puppy.

I could never give a puppy back that lived in my home for more than 24 hours. They give us so much back, the worst day at the office does not seem so bad, when we spend some time at home with our pets.

I had such problems myself with a puppy, and the thought of giving her back never crossed my mind, nor did I blame the Breeder. I was grateful that Philadelphia was not that far away. She is now 3 and the best dog anyone could ask for.

I think your stories are educational, and thank you for sharing them. I think a lot of people can learn something from your writings. There are folks that would give the puppy back for a new one. Recently, I was contacted by someone living in the suburb of Wayne, looking for a puppy. This exact question was one I asked of him, what he would do, if he was faced with a health issue? I loved his answer and helped him to find the best possible Breeder. Could he still end up with an issue? Indeed, but I have confidence that he will face it.

COMMITMENT is the key to everything in this life worth having. Maybe, folks will find that in your stories.

Warm wishes for the holiday season, and a healty, happy, prosperous New Year.



10:10 AM  
Blogger MAT1232 said...

I read Marley and Me last October while on maternity leave with my first born. I laughed, cried, and imagined the events as the unfolded in your wonderful book. I am not a big reader of any type of material, but I read you book religiously in my ever waking free moments. I went to see the movie the day after Christmas and was terribly disappointed. It in not way did the book justice..KEEP THE STUFF COMMING. You are a great inspiration and writer.

8:21 PM  
Blogger gurley52 said...

I pick the book up 3 days before Christmas thinking I want to read it before I see the movie. Just finshed it this morning. I cried my eyes out this morning remembering my Moose I put him down 2 years ago the day after Thanksgiving. It was the hardest day of my life. Moose was 17 years old he was with me from the day I bought him home from his mothers at 8 weeks old.

My Moose was a Golden did not get into trouble like your Marley but we had our share a problems. I loved the book it give me much joy reading it. Really want another dog but have a landlord who tells me I don't understand what it takes to have a dog in ones life. Ya right!

Moose was not my first had 2 others that where also in my life that were just as important. The first was Samson which I also had for 17 years and than there was Harley who did not live as long as my others but he was with me for 5 years that I will always remember.

I had to say this story touch me so deeply and brought back memories that can never be forgotten.

Thank You

10:22 AM  
Blogger Brianna said...


I just finished Marley and Me today, and I loved it. My Grandma had a dog I was really close to, and he was really frisky. He was part lab, part husky, and part German shepherd. His name was Bear. He loved to eat popcorn, chips, practicly anything. He had to get put down several years ago, and I cried so hard I had a headache afterwards.

Reading Marley and Me really brought back the the sadness that I had felt. I love reading long books, such as Harry Potter, the Twilight series, and The Host.

Thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences with everyone. It hellps people eho are getting over the loss of their dog.

I'm thinking about getting a dog, but I'm not sure whether the responsibilities are too much for me. If I do get a dog, what breed should I choose? There's a wide variety.

Best of luck in the future,

Brianna :)

1:18 PM  
Blogger Susan P said...

Absolutely wonderful movie. Have never sobbed so much at a movie before. Brought back to the surface my own experience's with death's of my past three golden's. The last one, especially, was very 'Marley'. Used to eat socks and underwear. The entire scene at the vet's was a sad memory of our dog, "Sunny". We have two golden's now and,even though dying is a sorrowful thing to go through with any living being, no less a dog, we have to take notice in the joy they bring us every day.

Looking forward to more stories and future adventures!

1:41 PM  
Blogger kinsersmom said...

I can't say that I've read the book because each time I go to check it out or buy it I have to put it back down. I don't know what even possessed me to see the movie. It was extraodinary and I can imagine the book would only be that much better. My love for my own dog will not allow me to think about that fateful day when he won't be with me but Marley and Me told the story of what it is like and I appreciate Mr. Grogan for telling a story so true.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Doglover said...

I love your book and want to thank you for sharing it. I am 25 and I have had the same dog April since I was 11. She is the joy in my life but has a little Marley in her when it comes to food. She will not stop at anything to get to any food that she can get her paws on :). She is the joy in my life and we have grown up together. Your book and movie have made me laugh and cry. As I watch your movie today, I am reminded of the impending end to April's story which is looming around the corner. This little cocker spanial which will be 15 has been my best friend through the good and the bad. I have loved my journey and would not change it for anything! You have a gift and I am glad your new pup has found a loving home. Thank you so much for sharing Marley's life with me and the world! I look forward to reading the column of the new member of your family with April and her younger brother Riley (a 3 year old black lab).

7:49 PM  
Blogger MikeT said...

My family and I saw the movie last night, it was great! We all cried. I wanted to bring My chocolate lab with us, but not such luck. I would take my family to go see it again. Everyone at the movie was in tears the last 20 minutes of the movie. I am in Western NJ, anytime you want to let the dogs play, let me know..happy New Year all.

9:39 AM  
Blogger jerrie said...

I saw the movie yesterday and cried like I hadn't cried in years. The movie was wonderful, the actors were great and the book, I am sure must be wonderful too. I have had dogs all my life and have had to make two of those so sad trips to the vet. The heartbreak never quite goes away. I hope your new puppy does well and that you keep writing.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I went to see the movie the other day. I liked it because it showed how a dog can become part of the family. Some don't get that. The next day, my dog got really sick and I was immediately like "She's going to the vet today!" lol.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

Dear Mr.Grogan,
I received your book as a Christmas present and it was the best present.I had a 24 hour period of laughing hysterically as well as crying. What a book and what a dog!! If there is such a thing as animal reincarnation,you'll be happy to know Marley is now a 20lb Bichon. He steals tv remotes, goes through the garbage and chews anything on sight that looks like it may be worth the trouble.He also does that knawing on your wrist thing that never hurts. He growls and barks when he hears strangers approaching the door, but would lick them to death if they entered.There is no dog toy made that he can't chew through or rip open. On my return home from work he does the jump and kiss greeting.So thanks, for reminding me how much I love him. Gotta run,he found a new object to rip to shreds.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Neonmom said...

I had delayed purchasing your book, all who had read it told me to be prepared. Well my children purchased it for me this Christmas and I read it in two days. I giggled and cried, the last 3 chapters were a tissue companies best friend.

We have a cocker-spaniel Dobbie, whom we rescued from a local shelter 5 years ago. I must admit I didn't want her as a child having to put down several dogs still fresh in my mind even in adulthood. Well she is a sweetheart, a four legged alarm clock and never met a sock she didn't like. The joy she has given us is incredible she travels with us (we drive everywhere)and I can't imagine our lives before she entered them. I always say "we rescued her and she rescued us right back" I know one day will come but as my son states "that is a small price to pay for all of the happiness and joy she gives us"

Thank you for letting the world know the joy, love and heartbreak of a friendship that can never be broken. Also that we are not obsessed with our dogs its just a mutual love fest!!!

10:49 AM  
Blogger lisa69 said...

I was wondering if you could post some pictures of Jenny. I feel like I know her and you too as well. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your children at the premiere but still haven't seen any pictures of your wife. I related a lot to her in the book and loved the support she gave you. Thanks for letting us into your family through the book and movie!
Keep writing!

6:12 PM  
Blogger denisstyl said...

I saw Marley and Me on Christmas Day...definately one of my favorite movies! I decided to read the book, after I saw the movie. I decided that there was no way the book would or could have the same effect. Well, I cried even more while finishing the book! Look at you, Mr. Grogan!
Your story proves that it's the simple things in life that touch the world's hearts! Just when you thought you had an ordinary life, look at you....the toast of the New York Times and Hollywood! Kudos and Congrats! You have a wonderful family and they have a wonderful man in their lives! Happy New Year and I love YOU!

fort lauderdale,FL

6:24 PM  
Blogger denisstyl said...

I saw Marley and Me on Christmas Day...Definately one of my favorite movies! I decided to read the book, after I saw the movie. I decided that there was no way the book would or could have the same effect. Well, I sobbed even more! This story proves that it's the "SIMPLE" things in life that touch the hearts of people. Check you out, Mr. Grogan...just when you thought your life was down right ordinary--look at you--the toast of the New York Times and Hollywood! You deserve have a wonderful family and they have a wonderful man in their lives! Kudos and Congrats! Happy New Year, Grogan--I love you.

fort lauderdale

6:39 PM  
Blogger denisstyl said...

I saw Marley & Me on Christmas Day. It is definately one of my favorite movies! I decided to read the book, after the movie. I decided that there was NO WAY the book would or could have the same effect. I sobbed even more. This story proves that it's the simple things in life that touch people's hearts! Check you out, Grogan...
just when you thought your life was ordinary (with an extraordinary dog)--Look at You---the toast of the New York Times and Hollywood! Kudos and Congrats! You have a wonderful family and they have a wonderful, tender man in their lives. Happy New Year, Grogan..I love You.

fort lauderdale

7:01 PM  
Blogger Kathryn N' Sophie said...

I saw the movie and am very sorry for your loss

9:17 PM  
Blogger Christine LaRocca said...

Loved the book and loved the movie.Of course I cried my eyes out.I have 3 children,2 boys and a girl and they have been asking for a puppy forever and we will be going to the shelter soon to adopt although after seeing what Marley did to the Grogans house my husband is still unsure so we are all still trying to convince him..A dog bring so much love to you and your family,its so worth it...Thanks for a great book and movie...

8:13 AM  
Blogger Vinícius said...

Hi John!
I Watched the movie tomorrow. I really liked it. Congratulations!!! And thank you so much!

9:01 AM  
Blogger smothertucker4 said...

Dear Mr. Grogan, What an absolutely heartwarming book Marley & Me is. I have been a major dog lover all my life, and have also had the misfortune to have to make the decisions to euthanize my wonderful dogs at times. It is an entirely heartwrenching decision, but when it is time, it is much better off for them. I laughed and cried with this book, and I have read it again and again, giving it as gifts to fellow friends and dog lovers!! Superb!! Cannot wait for your next one!!

Sherri Andrews
East Falmouth, MA

PS Hope Woodson is doing better!!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Joe and Laurie said...

My husband & I just saw the movie tonight. I remember vividly putting my dog Milli to sleep when I was 21 years old--we got her about a year after my Dad died when I was 11. She had been through a lot with us.
My husband never had a dog growing up, and I feel really bad that he missed out on that experience. His parents comment to the family was that they "could have Joe or a dog", so essentially, Joe was their dog. :(
We look forward to owning our first home together this year and our first purchase will be a dog (or two!). I look forward to raising my future children with dogs that they can look forward to coming home to (no matter what destruction may await us!).
Thanks for a great movie that really shows how wonderful dogs can matter what. They really make a family complete.

9:11 PM  

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