Saturday, August 02, 2003


Every once in a while, there comes a movie that seems to have been made for the sole purpose of winning Academy Awards; A Beautiful Mind is a recent example. And here we have Seabiscuit, seemingly constructed from the ground up to pull in the Oscar votes. It's a period piece, based on a book and a true story, featuring respected actors (Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges), and capping off with an heartwarming, inspirational message about overcoming adversity. It probably will score itself a few trophies, but it's really nothing special. Certainly writer/director Gary Ross (who wrote Big and Dave, as well as writing and directing the excellent Pleasantville) doesn't think so; why else would he have been so lazy as to use stock photographs and a PBS narrator to get half of his point across? The actors are all good enough, but the material is simply beneath them. And the redundant final fifteen minutes really almost sink the whole movie. But as far as Oscar bait goes, at least it's better than A Beautiful Mind.

Rating: **1/2

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