The Biscuit

Caught this earlier in the week at a screening for MD racing folks…

Best film of the year? Not hardly. But I did enjoy it immensely. You know Gary Ross is pushing your buttons and trying to manipulate you like crazy, and how you react to that manipulation is probably how you’re going to view the movie. Disposed as I am towards liking racing, I was able to take the mawkishness and enjoy the rest of the film for what it was, but I can sure understand how others might bristle at things like Randy Newman’s score or David McCullough’s narration.

I guess the fact that Bridges, Cooper, and Maguire rose above some of the triteness of the material and created characters I wanted to root for made it work for me. William H Macy’s Tick Tock McLaughlin is one of his better characters ever, for comedy relief.

Finally, the racing sequences are pretty amazing, and worth the price of admission right there. Kudos to jockeys/advisors Chris McCarron and Gary Stevens for helping to get that part of Hillenbrand’s book exactly right.

Ebert’s review is pretty spot-on.

I think horses and the derby are really boring. However, this girl at work that I like and her mom were extras in the film, so I’ll probably be seeing it soon. Good to hear that it’s a decent film. I think the local paper was hyping it as Oscar material. Go figure.

It’s pretty cheesy but the racing sequences are indeed outstanding. It’s basically an enjoyable movie if you approach it like going to see an old Disney movie.

The low point was certainly the interminable narration. I thought Macy’s character was quite over the top given the tone of the rest of the film.

I enjoyed it. Probably more so as a diversion from the mass of gunfights, explosions, and billion dollars worth of effects I’ve seen this summer.

I just watched The Big Lebowski last week, so I don’t know if I’m ready for a different Jeff Bridges portrayal yet. I’m happy having Jeff Bridges as The Dude in my mind for awhile. That was great.

Awsome movie ! :)

Why I will never again read a movie review on MSNBC:

Mostly, for Seabiscuit, since Charles’ second wife (Elizabeth Banks), though chic and charming, might as well be a lawn jockey.

To make things worse, that “sentence” was its own paragraph. I also learned that Seabiscuit was “corny” and the new Tomb Raider was “hokey”. They really are masters of the English language over there at MSNBC.

Anyway, I really liked this movie. Chris Cooper is amazing, I didn’t even recognize him (I had only seen him in Adaptation). But I guess I’m the only person who didn’t like William H. Macy. In fact I can’t think of a role I liked him less in. Maybe I was just a little bitter because I had to sit in the front row (who knew a showing of Seabiscuit would sell out on Sunday at 5?). I thought he was “corny”, but not enough so to be funny. Everyone else was great, though.

I have a friend who is a budding director down in LA, and her dream is to get Chris Cooper in one of her movies. The guy is just scary talented, and you’ve probably seen him in other roles, you just never connected them to Chris Cooper. Roles like…

  1. The Homophobic (then not-so-Homophobic) Marine Colonel in American Beauty.

  2. The agency bad guy in The Bourne Identity.

  3. The sheriff in Lone Star…

I saw Seabiscuit, and yeah, the director was manipulative as hell, and I knew it, but it still worked. I teared up several times in the movie. And I gotta side with Edelstein on this one, I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth during a summer where all I’ve been slammed with are totally dull and unnecessary sequels, like Terminator 3 and Bad Boys 2.

OK yeah I have seen those. Time to check imdb and see what else I’ve missed. Or thought I missed.

Did anyone else get the commercial before the movie about the stage painter guy who’s a Hard Working Man who doesn’t make a million dollars and how the internet (aka wumpus) is putting him out of work because people download movies? You know I don’t do that stuff but I almost want to just to spite the heavy-handed bullshit that was pouring through the speakers during that thing.

Or they could just shave $20,000 off of Jim Carrey $20 Million payout for his next movie to support the guy for a year.

Oh right… but blame the internet.

Yeah I got that commercial. What about the other commercials like sprite remix…etc There was like 3 commericals before the 7 previews. Are these all attached to the film or does the specific theatre you go to put these in (commercials and previews)? It took like 25 minutes to get the film going.
Just curious.

Jeff Bridge’s kicked mucho ass as the President in The Contender. His best scene EVAR was as POTUS when he gives a dressing down to Congress, it makes you proud to be an American all over again.

I got the anti-piracy commercial and my very crowded theater actually hissed at it. That PR machine ain’t working.

I thought the movie was kind of heavy handed and sometimes overly obvious (look at this broken leg, now look at that one, now back to the other one, see, they’re the same get it? Get it? In case you didn’t get it, I’m going to show you one more time. Now do you get it? They’re, like, the same).

I did like cutting away from the Big Race size=2[/size] whenever the Big Race size=2[/size] started. That seemed to go against the grain of the big. cheesy schmalz-fest.

But sometimes I like a big, cheesy schmalz-fest.

Those PSAs are so stupid. As if these people aren’t all union and making silly money reletive to comperable jobs outside hollywood.

I finally got around to seeing Seabiscuit and I have to say I’m underwhelmed. If you’re going to have a manipulative and schmaltzy movie with awful dialogue, you should at least make the movie about loveable blue collar workers flying a spaceship to an asteroid and using nukes to blow it up so they can save the world. But horse racing?

And aside from the narration telling me things like ‘It was the beginning and end of imagination’ (huh?) and Randy Newman’s score telegraphing the appropriate emotional reaction with all the subtlety of a garbage truck backing up, I didn’t get what the big deal was about this particular horse. Did he go on to win the Indy 500 or something? Because all I could tell from the movie was that he beat a Triple Crown winner once and then recovered from a torn ligament so he could win a race at Santa Anita! It would have been a lot cooler if Seabiscuit had blown up an asteroid with a nuke.

Tobey Maquire was very good, though. I kept thinking, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty cool that he’s Spiderman’ and I don’t even really get into Spiderman.

And if you’re going to compile a list of Chris Cooper movies (see above in this thread), don’t leave out Matewan.


The Santa Anita was the big race that Seabiscuit had run but never won up until then; while the battle against War Admiral was gigantic and considered perhaps the best horse race in history, Santa Anita with its $100k prize was positively huge.

I think however the biggest problem with Seabiscuit is that, except for like a montage of fast scenes, you never really saw him establish his dominance (and not just on the west coast), how he utterly humilated and discouraged other horses (War Admiral only ran twice after that in small sure-thing races), or what his final record was. You got a glimpse of it all through like an hour and a half, then it’s bang straight up against War Admiral. And the final Santa Anita race is, um, somewhat untrue to what happened.

Aside from that it’s a perfectly wonderful movie I thought. Not sure what Tom’s deal is.

— Alan

I thought this movie was okay, but vastly overrated especially when it came time for Oscar nominations.

See, Alan, those are things I wish had been made more clear. I didn’t really get a grasp on the significance of what was going on. Except that the movie kept telling me Seabiscuit was an underdog.

And the final Santa Anita race is, um, somewhat untrue to what happened.

Really? What was different?

Aside from that it’s a perfectly wonderful movie I thought. Not sure what Tom’s deal is.

Tom’s deal is that he’s a snob who only likes art house movies. Plus Armaggedon and the Charlie’s Angels movies. Plus zombie films. Actually, plus most horror films, even crappy ones. Plus Torque, that motorcycles movie that came and went.

But otherwise, I’m totally an art house movie snob.


I finally saw Seabiscuit recently. I really don’t understand why it seems to have garnered so much priase. It was a nice movie. I liked it. But there didn’t seem to be anything special about except Tobey Maguire’s unnaturally orange hair.

Well, I mean, he was an underdog, especially in that race. War Admiral was seen as the perfect race horse, he was much bigger than Seabiscuit, as fast, wasn’t a loser, was beautiful, etc. Everything that Seabiscuit wasn’t. It was the prototypical David & Goliath contest. They even set track speed records during the race, and it was very exciting and very faithfully recreated, right down to, “So long, Charley,” what became a very infamous horseracing jockey phrase.

Really? What was different?

Basically Seabiscuit started in the packet for the most part and broke away till, if I recall correctly, the backstretch. The Biscuit then essentially let Kayak, a great competitor and extremely good horse (both were owned by Howard) catch up with him, then in a final gesture of “eat my dust” Seabiscuit tore away and won by a few lengths. Woolf wasn’t even racing that day.

— Alan