Arrgh! I so needed to get out of my apartment! I'm feeling like I've been cooped up in here for weeks and lately have been bouncing off the walls going a bit mental. Seabiscuit seemed like the cure for the hermit blues and a quick pick me up. So I went. And here I am back in my apartment and I don't feel that much different than when I left.
I screwed up looking at the movie clock tonite and stupidly showed up like 40 frickin minutes before this movie started. But I had some fun poking my head into different movies and watching glimpses of this and that. I stopped in for some Bad Boys II and it seemed like if you take away the Boys and the II it's probably an accurate description. I also sat down in 28 Days Later for like 10 minutes. It looked totally great. I looked at it sideways thinking that I might have watched it wrong the first time. Also people wrote last week telling me they were surprised that I wasn't all that crazy about Pirates of the Caribbean. So when I was halfway thru Seabiscuit and not loving it... I started to develop concerns that I'm having difficulty watching movies correctly. Maybe me being cooped up all pressurized and staggering out in the middle of the night to watch movies is maybe making me mental. Detached or something.
Mental or no mental though. By the end of Seabiscuit I had no doubt that this flick felt as flat as a pile of horse manure at a bigfoot convention... (ok maybe not that bad but i liked the analogy...)
The first time I ever heard of Seabiscuit was when I first heard about this movie. Soon after that I saw some like PBS special about this horse. And I was blown away. The stupid documentary got me teary. It was one of the greatest sports stories I had ever heard. So I ran out and bought the book. And read about 90 pages and put it on the shelf. My knowing the story in full took the motivation out of the book for me. Which was unfortunate because I was really liking the book.
In alot of ways this movie was respectable. It painted a great looking picture with life color. The characters were somewhat underdeveloped but all still fairly fascinating. The racing scenes were well done (but could have been better. maybe more slow-mo?) The man-to-horse love was cool to see (no it wasn't a sex thing you pervs! although it would have been a shocking twist...) The time period was fun. And the storyline galloped along at a decent pace. But it missed greatness by more than a nose.
So what went wrong here? I didn't feel it enough. Somehow in comparison to the true story (which was gushingly overflowing with heart)... I felt the film simply lacked.... heart. Heart was noticeably absent through much of this flick. Maybe when Heart was wanted on the set, Heart was like in Heart's trailer all smoking cigarettes, drinking, and listening to Barracuda by Heart. And when they'd try to get Heart into makeup. Heart would yell that Heart wants to renegotiate Heart's contract. And how Heart doesn't have an adequate love scene. And how there's the wrong brand of water in Heart's fridge. Then Heart would kick open the door to the trailer and tell the lighting guy to stop with the 'f**king hammering'. Then Heart would pass out for a while. Then Heart would get on the phone with Heart's agent and yell at him cause he had the nerve to ask if Heart would consider doing a guest spot on Will and Grace And how Heart has a 'scummy golden globe' but doesn't have an oscar. And how guesting on Will and Grace is bullshit. Then some assistant dude would come to the trailer and nicely tell Heart that Heart was wanted on the set. And Heart would take a low tone and say, 'You tell that director schmuck... that if he wants Heart on the set. He should hop on a frickin racehorse and ride up to this trailer and ask Heart nicely. And not send some lackey with a bad shirt to call Heart on the set like a dog. Heart is not a dog. Heart is a professional actor! And Heart will show up on the set when Heart damn well pleases!! Then Heart will slam the door on the trailer and inside you'll hear wailing and glass breaking..
Maybe that's not the exact story. And Heart did show up here and there. But Heart (who should have been the star) was definitely far too far down in the credits. Listed below Preachy, Glossy, Watered Down and (that little prick) Restraint. No wonder Heart was pissed..
Three Good Things About this Movie
- The story itself carries this movie a long way. I love the story.
- Horses are pretty and nice to look at.
- Gary Stevens (a real life jockey) freshened things up every time he was on screen.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- I wanted it to be both bigger and more subtle.
- None of the acting performances went beyond very good. There wasn't enough meat there for them to cross over and cook.
- The music was distracting too trumpety or something. It yelled, 'THIS IS THE EXCITING PART!" instead of just being exciting. I think I might have preferred just hearing the thundering hooves and nothing else.
All in all. It's easy to sit through this movie. If you don't already know the story you'll be much much better off. To sum it up, a highlight of this movie is when Seabiscuit races 'War Admiral'. Seabiscuit is unpredictable, imperfect, passionate and human(ish). War Admiral is a fine tuned thoroughbred, predictable, calculated and aloof. When push comes to shove. This movie is more War Admiral... than Seabiscuit.