Seabiscuit - will it be good?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Vickie_M, Apr 23, 2003.

  1. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Messages:
    3,208
    Likes Received:
    0
    The pedigree is good, but will the movie hold up? I think so, but will it do any business? Seabiscut may have been a Big Deal back in the olden days [​IMG], but how many people will care now?

    Seabiscuit is directed by Gary Ross, whose first movie was the very good Pleasantville. It's based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand (which I haven't read yet). It stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and William H. Macy. I'll see it just for that cast.


    In any case, it'll be better than this wretched movie I'm watching now, 1949's The Story of Seabiscuit. I'm only watching it because it features one of Shirley Temple's last performances before she gave up acting, and because it shows some actual races the real Seabiscut ran, but man, is it stinky.

    (An aside: Are they going to be able to show the beatings the horses took-still probably take-to get them to run fast? If they leave that part out, how "truthful" can the movie be?)
     
  2. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the movie isn't very good, they could always make glue out of it...:b

    Sorry about that couldn't help it...

    A dear friend of mine is looking forward to this film because she loves horse racing. The deal is that I would go to it with her to see but she would have to go with me to see House of 1,000 Corpses...no deal is very easy to assume...[​IMG]
     
  3. Richard Gilmore

    Richard Gilmore Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Did you see the "American Experience" show on Seabiscuit on Monday night? It covered a lot of the same history that was in Laura Hillenbrand's book, in fact she was in it.

    I had zero interest in horseracing, but picked up the book on a whim. It is one of the best books I have read, a real page turner. The book covers the period from the early century and the advent of the automobile through the 40's, the story of a group of losers, who come together in a sort of cosmic kismet and turn a funny legged horse into one of the greatest heroes (on a Michael Jordan scale, believe it or not) of the 20th century. It is a classic tale of an underdog making good, so it should be pretty timeless.

    Each of the characters in the book is extremely interesting, from the owner, to the trainer and the two jockeys - boy were my eyes opened to the hard scrabble life of a jockey.

    I have a hard time envisioning Tobey Maguire as a jockey, but I hope the film keeps some of the greatness of the book.
     
  4. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,007
    Likes Received:
    0
    I grew up around horseracing; my uncle had a stable of 13 trotters and pacers, and Saturdays with my grandfather always included a trip to OTB (yeah, I know). My wife also grew up around horses: she's a highly-skilled English rider. We're both nutty about horse racing, and we thought Seabiscuit was one of the best things we've read in a long, long time.

    I hold out little or no hope for the film, unfortunately. I think Tobey Maguire is all wrong for Red Pollard (I assume that is who he'll play), and I predict a melodramatic mess (sorry). I don't think they'll be able to better Hillenbrand's amazing moment-by-moment, beat-to-beat description of the races in the book--her prose is simple and effective and gripping. We have no plans to rush out and see it. Closed-minded? OK, guilty.

    Anyway, Hillenbrand's struggle to get the book done, chronicled recently in Smithsonian magazine, is almost as interesting as the book itself. She battles Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I believe is the subject of her next book.

    My advice: read Seabiscuit soon.
     
  5. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,007
    Likes Received:
    0
    With respect to the beatings of horses and other bits of veracity...

    Hillenbrand delves far into the underbelly of the sport, particularly with respect to the physical state of the jockeys and their preparation for races. I would be willing to bet that the film steers clear of this stuff. My guess is that we're looking at a film that will not be to horse racing what Raging Bull was to boxing.
     
  6. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2000
    Messages:
    938
    Likes Received:
    0
    I caught a PBS show last night on Seabiscuit. I was hooked, and this was a documentary with lots of pictures, but some great color film of races in the late 30's early 40's.

    It certainly seems like there are plenty of colorful characters to make a successful - if they stay away from some romanticized pablum.

    Tobey as Red Pollard? Sean Pean probably looks more like him and may be as crusty.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    The PBS installment of American Experience was the television equivalent of a hardcover page-turner. Was originally planning to pop a DVD into the bedroom system but got hooked on the documentary about a racehorce instead.
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,007
    Likes Received:
    0
    Caught the documentary; it was excellent.

    What I'm hoping for is that someone like Ken Burns will someday turn their gaze on the sport and do a definitive documentary. The 'Biscuit's story is one of dozens of fascinating tales in the history of racing, which at one time was the greatest spectator sport in the U.S.
     
  9. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    0
    Darn, I'm beginning to wish Oliver Stone or somebody had directed this.
     
  10. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 1999
    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  11. MichaelW

    MichaelW Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Outstanding book!

    Tobey Maguire as Red Pollard?? After reading the book about Red and the other jockeys of the time, he just doesn't seem to be it (especially after Spider-Man). Maybe I'll be surprised.

    Hopefully, they will not make the movie too sappy. (Although after seeing the trailer, I don't hold out much hope of that.) I agree with Angelo.M in that one of the best parts of the book was reading about the inhumane trials and tribulations the jockeys went through to be able to race. It's not likely the movie will go into that and that is a major shame. How I would also like to see the "Raging Bull" of horseracing. Alas, not likely...
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    17,067
    Likes Received:
    1,786
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Though the trailer gave me chills, I do fear that they will turn this into a Rah, Rah type of movie. They need to show the troubled pasts of both horse and jockey to really convey how dynamic Seabiscuit's journey was.

    That said, I live in a fairly close proximity to Saratoga, where quite a bit of filming was done for obvious reasons. I try to support locally filmed productions, even when they suck (see: The Time Machine)

    I have high hopes; we'll see.
     
  13. Matthew_Millheiser

    Matthew_Millheiser Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2000
    Messages:
    656
    Likes Received:
    0
    If this movie turns out to be a hit, will they float a sequel named Airbiscuit...?






    Sorry. [​IMG]
     
  14. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Messages:
    2,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    EW and other magazines are setting this up to be a patriotic movie about the little guy coming out on top--the American Dream. I'm sure it will do well. Will it be a good movie? That is always a matter of opinion.
     
  15. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    I expect it too be a solid feel-good sports movie. Obviously Tobey probably means a character that is much more naive, but will have to face some hard knocks just to get his own chance. I think it will be at least as good as The Rookie, and maybe more like Hoosiers or Breaking Away. That wouldn't be so bad now would it?

    I would suspect that it will be a film that the book readers really don't care for though. Not that readers usually do, but in this case I expect it to have a greater adverse affect if the book is as harsh as described on some points. It looks like this is going to be way too much feel-good for those topics.
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,428
    Likes Received:
    4,790
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    After watching the DVD of PBS "Seabiscuit", I'm really looking forward to seeing the upcoming film when it comes out. I think many of you are going to be surprised by Maguire's performance.





    Crawdaddy
     
  17. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Say what now? You got a screener?
     
  18. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bringing up an old thread because I just finished the book this morning.

    As to the casting of Mcguire as Red Pollard, I can see how Toby may be too "glamourous" for the role given that Red was pretty well described in the book as anything but. However, it is a pre-eminent character to the story and how many actors out there have the range as an actor (and physical stature...Red was only about 100lbs) to carry the role? Sean Penn as a jockey? He would have to lose 100lbs. Therefore, I give some leeway to the choice of Mcguire.

    I think the casting of Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper are perfect.

    This was a very gripping book and I was on the verge of tears more than once in reading it. If the movie delivers half the emotion of the book, I will be happy. Seeing as I got a little choked up just watching the trailer, I think it will.

    As for whether it focuses on the hard knock life of jockeys and the trials and tribulations of the horses, how can it not? The book was only 300 pages long give or take and if you leave out Red's physical struggles, the rivalry with Iceman Woolf, and the effects of the depression, all you have left for the movie is a match race with War Admiral and the Santa Anita Handicap and what good is that?

    The fact the trailer focuses on the depression hints that it will indeed showcase the seemier side of the sport, but not to the detriment of the story itself, which I think was a balance Hillenbrand captured so deftly in writing it.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,428
    Likes Received:
    4,790
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    It's interesting how the film "The Black Stallion" borrowed from this true story about horse racing. In "The Black Stallion", I believed Mickey Rooney's character mentions the Iceman Woolf as one of the greatest jockeys and described how Woolf sat chilly on a horse. Another is the match race which though it included three horses in the film still took place at Santa Anita.
     
  20. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 1999
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    5
    Does anyone else here feel like they have already seen this movie after watching the exceptionally long trailer? I really don't see a need to watch the movie after seeing that trailer a couple of times. I know that there is more to it than is shown there, but wow...they sure gave a lot of story away in that trailer.
     

Share This Page