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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.45%
Worth A Look44.12%
Just Average: 18.63%
Pretty Crappy: 0.98%
Sucks: 8.82%

6 reviews, 66 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"You'll cheer till you're horse."
4 stars

“Seabiscuit” must be the long-awaited summertime version of an Oscar hopeful. It has the fine performances and dramatic heft of a late-fall picture, but drops the self-importance and plays up the feel-goodness the way the best summer crowd-pleasers do.

Written and directed by Gary Ross (”Pleasantville”), who adapted Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book, “Seabiscuit” tells the true story of a Depression-era racehorse who gave Americans a hero to root for when they desperately needed one. Without much effort at all, Seabiscuit the horse can be seen as a representative of America: strong and resilient, down but not out, bent but not broken. These colors don’t run, but that horse sure does.

In fact, Seabiscuit’s owner, a media-savvy automobile tycoon named Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), makes that connection to reporters every chance he gets. “Seabiscuit just needed a second chance,” he says. “I think a lot of people out there feel like they could use a second chance, too.” Hokey? Yeah. But Charles Howard seems to mean it sincerely, and Jeff Bridges definitely does. Give us a movie that makes us feel good about ourselves, and about the old-fashioned American values of determination and fortitude, and we’ll go anywhere you want to take us.

Tobey Maguire plays Red Pollard, Seabiscuit’s jockey. Ross is not shy in playing up the parallels between Red and Seabiscuit, and Maguire’s scenes with the horse (a 4-year-old gelding called Fighting Furarri) are sweetly moving, like two old friends hanging out together. Maguire’s quiet, bookish persona fits the role to a T: This is indeed the kind of guy who would relate better to animals than to people.

There are a number of deft touches throughout the film. Period photos and documentary-worthy narration by David McCullough (who does this sort of thing for a living), interspersed with the story, give us context and inform us of America’s mood in the 1930s. William H. Macy lends a bit of comic relief as horse racing’s foremost radio personality, and Chris Cooper gives another stalwart, subtle performance as Seabiscuit’s kind-hearted trainer. I’m also quite impressed with Gary Stevens, a real-life jockey, not an actor, who plays Red’s jockey friend George Woolf. He plays a pivotal role in one of the film’s major race sequences, and he absolutely nails it. I was surprised, in fact, just how emotionally affecting that race was.

The film wins by uplifting us. It gives us underdogs, then lets the underdogs come off victorious — the easiest, most basic way to get an audience on its feet. That’s not a criticism — I’m not saying the film panders to us or manipulates us, because it surely doesn’t — but it does mean the film may not gain “classic” status. Its message and story are wonderfully simple, and viewing the film once is a delight. If its impact is no more far-reaching than that, then at least we have a crackerjack summer drama to enjoy for two hours and 20 minutes.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8017&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/25/03 18:13:30
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell very good 4 stars
4/25/10 Monday Morning One of the best. Solidly in my top 5. 5 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. one of my favorite movies, so inspiring :] 5 stars
10/21/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 4 stars
4/20/08 action movie fan a bore from start to finish-tobey should be ashamed 1 stars
3/07/08 Pamela White inspiring and heartfelt story 5 stars
10/28/07 mb beautiful movie, deserved its oscar nomination. 4 stars
1/26/07 Tamara Leonard Loved the movie. Great cinematography. 5 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
5/18/06 chienne Phar Lap was better, same sort of story, but good all the same. 4 stars
5/07/06 R.W.Welch Fine acting and cinematography. Macy does a great bit as flaky sportscaster. 4 stars
5/02/06 Shit on a stick My name says it all 1 stars
10/15/05 Quigley good acting, story and directing, but this is no hidalgo. 4 stars
8/30/05 Captain Craig Great production values and a wonderfull story. 5 stars
8/12/05 ES Many times I thought this horse destine to be nothing more than a glue stick, yet never was 3 stars
6/30/05 Eddie Very good acting+a good story=Seabiscut 5 stars
5/31/05 Suan Lee I loved this movie and the horse won my heart 5 stars
5/07/05 Bluto Chris Cooper and Jeff Bridges are master craftsmen 4 stars
3/03/05 Steve Newman Very enjoyable, easy to the eye. Definately rent this on eout 4 stars
2/12/05 Sylvia Belle enjoyed the movie 4 stars
2/05/05 choser It is my life 4 stars
11/24/04 Emperor's New Clothes You just can't hate on something so sweet 4 stars
10/21/04 T thoroughly enjoyable film. some top-notch performances 4 stars
10/16/04 Elisheva Rison It was Spiderman--but on a horse! Cool! 4 stars
10/16/04 Charlene Javier Like riding a mule. 3 stars
8/09/04 Peeved Prufrock Hollywood tries to write a better story than God- not even adequate Cliffs Notes 3 stars
8/08/04 psychotic black dwarf Substance is there, but the horse just doesn't captivate...bummer. 3 stars
7/20/04 Harry J If you like great movies, this one definitely fills the bill. 5 stars
6/01/04 Frazier A good movie with a lot of heart, worth a look 4 stars
4/17/04 valerie hart very good movie its touching and emotional and heartfull 5 stars
3/24/04 Margie i'm a sucker for underdogs. good movie. Beautiful scenery, music and costumes added lots. 4 stars
2/25/04 Stephanie Throckmorton Ultimately poignant, after taking forever to get started. 4 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva A good story 4 stars
2/16/04 Lindsay Fantastic!!!! What a great movie. 5 stars
1/31/04 britney this movie should win this years OSCARS awards 5 stars
1/15/04 earthling This is the most formulaic, predictable piece of sentimental crap I have seen since 1 stars
1/02/04 Andy a fun movie 5 stars
12/29/03 HorrorScribbler Kinda like "Rocky" only with a horse instead of a beefy Italian. 4 stars
12/19/03 Kent Wonderful, heartfelt movie. Great movie! 5 stars
12/18/03 alien assassin Captivating historic drama 4 stars
12/02/03 My Two Cents Seabiscuit and Pumpkin and Tic Tock are great. The history is captivating. Holds your inter 4 stars
12/01/03 Chris I really loved this great drama with so much crap out there this was a delight. 5 stars
11/25/03 Gi Gi havn't seen it, but the name SUX 5 stars
11/21/03 Law Feelgood, really true, interesting, a little long 4 stars
11/09/03 EthelbertP Enjoyed it. 4 stars
8/27/03 Mr. Hat Great horses.1st hour's OK, but gets shallow. Holds record 4 slo-mo shots w/dramatic music. 3 stars
8/27/03 JJ from da block Sea biscuits are good, but the butt biscuits they cause are sickening 1 stars
8/18/03 chris i can only handle so much "if you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything" crap. 3 stars
8/17/03 Lord Chu Inspirational & heartfelt. Though I couldn't help but expect Red to start wall-crawling:p. 5 stars
8/04/03 jeremy loathsome, boring, pathetic, uninspiring, melodramatic hooey. 1 stars
8/04/03 KINKO horse is dead, fall in a bed, cut of his head, forever DEAD hahahahahaHA!!!!!!! 1 stars
8/04/03 T Owens Brilliant 5 stars
8/04/03 Tiffany It had a slow start but a great finish. It kept you cheering for the little guy. 4 stars
8/04/03 Movie Guy Bah! It was boring as hell. Gag me. 1 stars
8/03/03 Joman the best feel good sports movie since Rocky 5 stars
7/29/03 ownerofdajoint what an awesome movie.go see it!!!!!! 5 stars
7/29/03 pgunn@akingump.com A disappointment 3 stars
7/29/03 Asshat Like we really needed all of those lingering shots of Tobey's face. What a wuss... 1 stars
7/28/03 Rod Johnston I had a Seabiscuit yesterday and it tasted like crap. It tasted like Kurts girlfriend Lish 5 stars
7/28/03 Susannah The audience cheered and gave a standing ovation when the movie ended. That's rare! 5 stars
7/28/03 Taylor Fladgate Heartfelt story succeeds in spite of the script. 4 stars
7/28/03 Haggs Wonderful. Theatre applause. How/where can I obtain an answer to a question I have? 4 stars
7/27/03 leonard An INSULT on ever level. Garbage at it's best. 1 stars
7/26/03 Shaq Okay. 3...words. TOBEY...MAGUIRE...NAKED. 5 stars 5 stars
7/22/03 Ryan Parmele Good but not great 4 stars
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  25-Jul-2003 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Gary Ross

Written by
  Gary Ross

  Tobey Maguire
  Jeff Bridges
  Chris Cooper
  Elizabeth Banks
  William H. Macy
  Annie Corley

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