This is Part 3 of our weeklong series on insane movie villains, aka "Wait, What Was Their Plan Again?"
It Starts Out Simple Enough ...
Charles Grodin's family adopts an escaped St. Bernard and learns to love the big guy despite his destructive, messy antics. The film was a massive hit (it spawned seven sequels over the next 22 years, plus an animated TV series), and why not? Where on Earth will you find a human who won't get a chuckle out of an exasperated Charles Grodin chasing around a big sloppy dog that's running amok at his barbecue?
But basic Hollywood story structure demands that every plot has a villain, even a wacky dog movie. In Air Bud, the basketball-playing pooch's former owner is a dick and tries to steal him back. Other times it's an evil dog catcher, or a neighborhood bully, or a rival dog. In Beethoven, they ... went a different direction.
The Villain's Profession Is Literally Shooting Dogs In The Skull
The antagonist here is one Dr. Herman Varnick, an imposter veterinarian who's secretly working with a weapons company. To test a new line of bullets, he needs to try them on "dogs with large skulls." No, really! That's the villain's motivation!
So first he examines Beethoven and tells Grodin's family that they should be careful, because St. Bernards can be prone to sudden aggression. The second part of his plan is, naturally, to visit the family at their home and stage a false flag mauling by pouring blood on himself and slapping Beethoven in the face until the dog reacts. He then threatens to press charges unless the dog is put down, and Grodin relents and lets him take the dog.
The family then reconsiders and tracks the doc back to his evil lab, where he's prepared to, indeed, SHOOT BEETHOVEN IN THE FUCKING HEAD:
"Why yes, I am fully erect. That's ... part of the experiment."
What is he even testing?? He needs to shoot a live dog in the head with a revolver from near-point-blank-range? There's no other way to test the efficiency of this bullet? Like, say, by shooting the skull of an already-deceased dog? Does he need to see the light go out of its eyes? Hell, he's not even measuring the distance, or filming this experiment, or documenting it in any way!