Seabiscuit Movie Review
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Michael Angarano, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Gary Stevens, William H. Macy, Eddie Jones, Michael O'Neill, David McCullough
Oscar Wins: No wins.
Other Nominations: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture
Seabiscuit was a lazy horse who loved eating and sleeping – and honestly, SAME. His handlers struggled to control his rambunctious nature and bad temper and his future as a racehorse was looking pretty slim…that is until the lives of three men intertwined to turn this zero into a hero.
This movie was set up like your average sports movie – a troublesome athlete with potential suffers a setback right before the big race, overcomes it, then inevitably wins. But a lot of this movie is spent introducing horse owner, Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), horse trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) and main jockey Red Pollard (Toby McGuire). The three story lines don’t even converge until about an hour or so into the film, making this one a bit of a slow starter (however, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy watching Jeff Bridges mold from a young car salesman into a dapper sugar daddy!).
Once these three men come together, it’s off to the races, so to speak. Even though I have seen this movie before and I knew what was going to happen, my anxiety was at PEAK LEVELS during these horse races in the second half of the film. The only comic relief came from William H. Macy’s portrayal of radio announcer, Tick Tock McGlaughlin. Macy did an amazing job of throwing in corny jokes and sound effects into his broadcast and, as Roger Ebert said in his review of the film, “If Tick Tock McGlaughlin did not exist in real life, I don’t want to know it.”
Coming fresh from the films of 1938, this was an interesting movie to kick off round four. Seabiscuit takes place during the Great Depression, with the final race of the film taking place in…wait for it…1938. INCEPTION. As mentioned in the last batch of reviews, the Great Depression brought America to its knees. The nation needed hope, joy, something to believe in – and I gotta say, I wish I cared about anything as much as these people cared about the success of Seabiscuit. This horse stood for something. He was the ultimate underdog (and I’m a huge sucker for a good underdog story!). If a lazy, bad-tempered horse from the streets could beat a thoroughbred Triple-Crown winner, maybe – just maybe – anything was possible.
Seabiscuit was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing; however, it lost in every category. I don’t think it lost because it was a bad film, I think it was just up against something bigger than it could handle. In any other race, this movie may just have stood a chance – but just like Seabiscuit himself, it got beat by a nose.