PCR past banners
Now in our fourth calendar year!
PCR # 175  (Vol. 4, No. 31)  This edition is for the week of July 28--August 3, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"A Tale of Two Cities: St. Petersburg and Tampa - - A Bay Separating A Gulf of Differences"
by Will Moriaty
by Mike Smith
"Spidey Powers for the MTV generation" and "Mr. Monk meets Crazed Fanboy"
by Vinnie B.
How rests the Dungeonmaster?
  by John Lewis
Vacation musings, baseball, and television
 by Brandon Jones
Johnny Depp....28 Days Later....Britney Spears
 by Ashley Lauren
What is an Icon?....Ed-Dee! Ed-Dee!....Legion....Who's Watching The Kids?....I Buried The Lead....Thanks for the Memories....Passing On
by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Garry Stevens and William H. Macy
Directed by: Gary Ross
Rated: PG13
Running Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Easily one of the best films released this year, Seabiscuit could best be described as "ROCKY with a horse." Only here, we have four underdogs we grow to root for.

The time is 1910. Bicycle repairman Charles Howard (Bridges) has decided to move west and open his own bicycle shop. A chance to repair an early automobile gives him an opportunity to open one, then five, car dealerships. Up in Canada, young Johnny Pollard has received a horse from his parents, a gift to reward his knowledge of poetry. Back in the western US, horse trainer Tom Smith (Cooper) is spending his time breaking wild mustangs for a wild west show. Everything is grand until the stock market crashes in 1929. While Howard manages to escape much financial damage, Smith and young Johnny are greatly affected. Now a young man, Pollard (Maguire) has taken to boxing on the side while he tries to make it as a jockey. Unfortunately he's not very successful at either endeavor. Despite the constant advice he receives from fellow jockey George Woolf (Stevens), Pollard, nicknamed "Red" thanks to his bright orange hair, thinks he knows it all and refuses to listen.

Through a series of twists of fate, our three main men are brought together when Howard decides he wants to buy a race horse. Though the horse he chooses is smaller then the others, Howard senses something in the animal that will make him special. In need of a trainer and a jockey, he is soon led to Smith and Pollard. And, as a team, they groom their horse into an unlikely champion.

Presented to the audience as a Ken Burns style documentary, complete with narration, Seabiscuit is a definite original bright spot in a summer of overblown sequels. The cast is top notch, with a rail-thin Maguire excelling as the jockey who has much in common with his underrated mount. Bridges, who in my opinion is the most original actor of his generation, does another fine job here. And Cooper, who has made a career out of playing silent yet passionate characters, brings a quiet dignity to Smith. Very impressive is the work of real life jockey Stevens. As Red's friend and mentor, he is very genuine. And Macy, as radio announcer "Tick Tock" McGlaughlin, delivers just the right amount of comic relief.

Like his previous film, Pleasantville, director Ross certainly has made sure that his crew paid attention to detail. Everything from the cars to the clothing help draw you into a piece of America's past. And incorporating original radio broadcasts and old time photos with brilliantly choreographed race footage helps enhance the feel of actually witnessing history. Randy Newman's score, his most rousing since "The Natural," adds a perfect background to the on screen story.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Seabiscuit  Two stars

This week's movie review of "Seabiscuit" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.