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30 September 2003 @ 10:22 am
Buying the Dream - On "Seabiscuit"  
It's a weird feeling. Leaving the cinema all misty-eyed, in full happy-sappy chocolate-fed nostalgic mode, while at the same time completely aware that you just abandoned quite a considerable amount of "real life knowledge" for the sake of a fairy tale.

During her first semesters at University, an absolutely wonderful friend of mine used to work at a race track, and each time she spoke about her job, her voice trembled with bitterness about the cruelty, exploitation and human idiocy going on behind the curtains.

As a long-time horse-owner (highly intelligent, highly stubborn, short-legged, bad-tempered riding horse; looks exactly like an overgrown Shetland pony, irresistibly cute, now retired due to old age) I have witnessed the desparate attempts of a well-meaning elderly lady to turn a former racing horse into a reliable companion for her morning rides. The affair ended badly. Just when the poor creature had learned how to be a horse again, it had to be shot because of arthritis. Yepp, folks, this is what happens when you force two-year old foals, whose bones and musculature aren't fully developed yet, to give their maximum athletic output when they should still be at their paddock, doing nothing but enjoying the sun, the air and the grass.

So, why on earth did I actually like Seabiscuit, this amazing tale of how one great horse not only fixed the lives of its owner, its trainer, its jockey but also became a symbol for the collective hopes of an entire nation ?

Well, there are probably two different kinds of anwers.

1) Bimo is a kind-hearted nostalgic with a considerable soft spot for atmospheric period pieces, beaten-up daydreamers, heart-broken millionaires and desillusioned cowboys ; and also chronically unable to resist a pretty horse when she sees one.

2) From an artistic point of view Seabiscuit simply happens to be a nicely done movie, showcasing a lot of qualities rarely found in contemporary cinema. Screenplay author/director Gary Ross devotes almost an hour to introducing the viewer not only to his protagonists but also to the atmosphere of the nineteen-tens, twenties and thirties. Also, the man seems to know one or two things about condensing, intensification and the art of employing visual images instead of dialogue.

When Howard's young son sets out for his fateful car ride, there are no admonishing words by daddy, no melodramatic violin tunes, just birds flying up from a tree (psychopomp myth, hello!) and you *know* the kid is a goner. Chris Cooper's ageing cowboy never has to utter the words "How could they dare to destroy my life by taking away the virgin prairie!" He just closes his fist arround the barbed wire fence, silently and so fiercely that it bleeds.

Bridges, Maguire, Cooper and also W.H. Macy as "Tick Tock" McGlaughlin, they all are gorgeous in their respective roles.

This is what I enjoyed about Seabiscuit , despite all better knowledge. Sometimes there is no such thing as guilty pleasure...

P.S. On a more cheerful note: Look what I've done *g*. My own journal has been online for barely a week and I've already spread the virus, since my good friend and fellow chaos worshipper cavendish was so fascinated by the whole LJ concept that he now got one of his his own :-)
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Current Mood: sympatheticsympathetic
Current Music: U2, One
Cavendishcavendish on October 2nd, 2003 10:21 am (UTC)
One Art
Hi there :-)

Since you added bolt print to your special interest list: Why on earth did you leave out "all things chocolate" and "cocker spaniels"? Somebody would be severely angry, if he knew.

Oh, and reading selenka 's latest entry and your comment (and, following from this, the beautiful review by coffeeandink ): I need to borrow your Sandman Comics, I really do ;-))

B.t.w. have you read the poem she links? If not, I should advise you to do so, it is really worth while.


Bimo: DRDbimo on October 3rd, 2003 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: One Art
Well, it was LiveJournal.com, which for some reason did the bold print. Not me. I'd never forget the Spaniel, not even if I wanted to. Sadly disappointed Spaniels are bad Spaniels, you know... *g*

As far as the One Art poem is concerned: Read it, loved it :-)

Would you like Sandman as reading material for your Autumn break? If so, I could bring them over on Saturday.