Air Bud--World Pup

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EFL Movie Study Guide for: Air Bud (3)--World Pup



Story:  Josh is a teenage basketball star, until he joins his high school soccer team to get closer to a beautiful “football” player from England. As you watch this cute film, you will learn from his mistakes as he falls in love, but you will also be amazed at his dog (Buddy, also called Air-Bud), who is a great soccer player too! Of course there are bad guys (a pair try to steal Air-Bud’s puppies, and a rival coach won’t let Air-Bud play on the team), and you also see some soccer action. There are some silly moments, including an absurd ending, but it is a fun film for dog lovers and soccer fans. (2001; Keystone Family Pictures; family comedy, sports, teen romance; 83 min)

Setting: a “typical” small town in the USA (although most of this film was shot in Canada!)

Note 1: This is Air-Bud 3 (the dog’s third movie). In the first film, we learn that Josh’s father died as a test-pilot, and we also see that the community of Fernfield thinks of the dog as “everyone’s dog.” So don’t be surprised when just about everyone in the street greets “Buddy,” gives him food, and cheers for him at the ball game.

Note 2: A lot of the humor in this film is related to exaggeration. For example, when Josh blows a dog whistle, it does not simply call his dog, dozens of dogs come running. When people try to “look British,” they end up with a kilt (formal Scottish dress) or a huge moustache. The “bad guys” don’t just have an old truck, it literally falls apart as they drive. All of this is supposed to look “extreme,” and therefore funny.

Note 3: One reason I like this movie is because some of the humor comes from differences between British and American English. (see “football” below)

Note 4: The subtitles contain many words that represent dog sounds, including yapping, growling, whining, wimpering, howling, yelping, barking. To figure out what these words mean, watch for these words, and listen to the sounds the dog is making.

People and proper nouns:

Josh Framm: the teenage boy at the center of the story, along with his dog Buddy

Buddy (or Air-Bud): Josh’s smart dog, famous for the ability to play basketball and football; this breed is called “Golden Retriever”

Andrea: Josh’s little sister (about age 10?); her best friend’s name is Tammy Fernfield: the American small town where this story takes place; the town’s motto is “Where Everything is Possible”

Briana Scurry: at the end of the film, this real soccer player becomes part of this story. She was the goal keeper for the US Women’s World Cup soccer team.

Coach Montoya: high school soccer coach for the Timberwolves

Coach Sterns and Steve Sterns: this is the coach of the Spartans, and his son Steve, who is a talented soccer player (though he can’t play because of a foot injury)

Emma Putter: a teenage girl who recently moved to the US from England; she is very good at playing soccer, and meets Josh by coaching his sister’s “upper elementary school” soccer team (Mrs. Brimstone is the Putters’ house keeper)

Jackie Framm: Josh’s mother

Molly: Emma’s dog; she and Buddy “fall in love” and have puppies

Patrick: the man who marries Josh’s mother at the beginning of the show (I think they meet in “Air-bud 2”); his job is being a vet (animal doctor)

Spartans: the name of a rival sports team (the Spartans were ancient soldiers)

Timberwolves (or T-wolves): the name of Josh and Emma’s high school team (many sports teams in the US have a mascot/symbol, such as an animal or ancient historical figure)

Mr. Webster (or Willie): one of the “bad guys,” who “acts British” to get a job inside the Putter house; but his true motive is to steal the puppies. Like many “bad guys” in family comedies, Willie is very stupid.


Nouns/verbs (vocabulary):

backfire: a loud sound that comes from the back of a car or truck when the engine is in need of repair (used here to show that the truck is old and run down)

bash (to throw a bash): (informal, and not common) a party

“beats me”: (informal) “I don’t know”

“bingo!”: an expression used to show that someone got an answer right or guessed about sth correctly

butler: a man whose job is to serve a wealthy gentleman

canine (or K9): a dog, or relating to dogs (notice that Buddy’s sport shirt sometimes has the number “K9”)

(in) code: a code is a way to make a message secret, by using unusual words, letter, numbers or symbols

dog catcher: American cities employ this person to catch “strays” (dogs without an owner); they are locked up in the “dog pound” and if no one buys them in a week or so, they are killed (to prevent the spread of disease or to prevent them from having lots of unwanted puppies).

dog pound: a place where dogs with no name tags are looked after for a few days, in hope that the owner will come get them; if not, such dogs are “put to sleep” (killed) (also see “dog catcher”)

dog whistle: a dog whistle makes a sound that people can’t hear, but dogs can. It is used to train dogs to do special things. (see “note 2”)

dresser: a piece of furniture, often about the size of a desk, containing clothes in several drawers

football: (see “soccer”)

fundamentals: [c] the underlying principles or most important ideas/rules of something; the basic skills needed to do something

(to) hog (the ball): to keep (the ball) to yourself, without sharing it with other teammates

kilt: a formal, traditional garment worn by men in Scotland (it looks like a thick skirt, but one should never call it a “skirt”!)

matrimony: (formal) marriage, often used in wedding ceremonies. “We are here today to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony.”

“our best shot”: to do your absolute best to achieve something. “The other team won because we didn’t give it our best shot.”

pass (a pass or to pass): in sports, you “pass” or give the ball to another player; this is called “a pass.” “Tom, pass the ball to me! Why didn’t you make a pass?”

(to) pass away: (polite) to die. “It has been hard since his father passed away.”

“peeping Tom”: an expression referring to a man who looks through a woman’s window, especially while she is getting dressed (this goes back to an interesting story, that took place in Coventry, England, in the 11th century—click here for more info: or

physical contact: when two people touch each other, esp. in sports. Some sports (like American football) require a lot of rough “physical contact” to stop the other team; in other sports, like soccer, physical contact is not allowed.

pocket knife: a small device, often kept in a man’s pocket, that contains several useful tools, like a small knife, a screwdriver, a file, tweezers, and sometimes a whistle or magnifying glass.

(The) Pound: (see “dog pound”)

pup/puppy/puppies: several forms of the English word describing the “children” of a dog

remarried: to get married again after a divorce or the death of your first spouse (i.e., first marriage partner)

soccer: the American term for the sport most people call “football” (this film gets humor from this difference between US and Br English). Some of the important differences between US “football” and “soccer” include: soccer does not involve physical contact, soccer players do not need heavy protective pads or a helmet, and in soccer no one is allowed to touch the ball with his/her hands.

stat sheet: a piece of paper that give stats (i.e., statistics, or numbers) about the game just played, like who scored, how many times the ball changed to the other team, etc. “This won’t look good on the stat sheet.”

synonymous: (adj) having the same meaning or being very closely connected with “The terms football and soccer are synonymous when talking about this game.”

threshold: (old term) the entrance to a house; in America, there is a tradition that a husband should carry his new bride “over the threshold” the first time they enter their home after the wedding

undefeated: never been beaten; to have won every game this season

whistle: (see “dog whistle”)

Sentences/dialogs from the movie: (see below the “discussion” section)



1. Tell your partner about a pet you have or had when you were younger. What “tricks” could it do? Do you think you could have trained it to play soccer?

2. Do you think it is “fair” or OK for pets to compete on a sports team? Why or why not.

3. Read dialog 1, and then tell your partner about two English words that you sometimes get confused, or used to get confused about but now use properly.

4. Tell your partner about your first date? Where did the two of you go? Did it lead to more dates, or was that the end of your relationship? Did you, or your friend, do anything “stupid”—like Josh did—to try to impress each other?

5. It is said that the dating process is designed to “hide the truth, not reveal it.” Tell your partner what you think this means. How do you get to know ”the truth” about a boyfriend or girlfriend?

6. Did you enjoy this movie, or was it “too silly”? Tell your partner about what you didn’t like or liked best about this film.


Sentences/dialogs from the movie:

1.   Emma (talking to the school-girls on her team): Gather round please. I’ll be helping you all with the fundamentals for today. Football is a challenging sport that we can all enjoy, if you just understand the basics.

      Andrea: Coach Emma, I thought we were here to play soccer.

      Emma: We are. Soccer and football are synonymous.

      Tammy (talking quietly to Andrea): What’s a “siminimish”?

      Andrea: Beats me?

2.   Coach: Sam, you’re up.

      Sam: Watch and learn. I dare anybody, even that mutt, to get the ball past me.

      Tom: What is he talking about? Does he not understand that’s Air-Bud?

      Sam: A dog can’t play soccer.

      Josh (talking to dog): Just hit the ball in the net, all right? Lets go! (and the dog scores)

      Coach: I guess we just found our missing player.

3.   Coach: I didn’t see a soccer “game.” I say the other team playing soccer, and I saw our team playing “hog the ball.” What’s the most important part of soccer?

      kid: No physical contact?

      Coach: No. The eyes. [You should always be asking yourself these things.] Where is the ball going next? Who can I pass it to? How can I create space to open myself up to receive a pass?

4.   (Andrea and Tammy have followed Buddy, who quietly goes out the window every night. They find out he has been going to visit a girl-dog.)

      Andrea: Bingo! Buddy’s got a girlfriend!

      Tammy: How long has that been going on?

      Andrea: Beats me. Come on, let’s get outta here. (i.e., get out of here)

5.   (With Buddy on the T-wolf soccer team, they beat the Spartans. Then the Spartan coach angrily says this to the T-wolf coach)

      Coach Spears: As chairman of the Athletic Conference, I intend to initiate a protest. (His plan is to disqualify the team because a dog is one of the players.)

6.   (Josh finally gets up the courage to ask Emma to go see a movie together. A friend has advised him to dress and act like a cool, motorcycle rider—they think this will impress Emma. After the movie, she tells Josh he has been acting stupid—like a “nutcase”—not “cool” or “hip.”)

      Emma: Josh, can I ask you a question?

      Josh: Sure, babe.

      Emma: First of all, my name is Emma, not “babe.” What has gotten into you? You’re being a twit.

      Josh: I am?

      Emma: I said I’d go out with you, not some hipster nutcase. And take off those ridiculous sunglasses. Goodnight!

      Josh (after Emma leaves, talking to himself): I’m gonna kill Tom.


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