All the Pretty Horses

Bomb Rating: 

The only horse Matt Damon looks like he could ride are the ones outside the supermarket that cost a penny. Needless to say, I don't exactly buy the idea of him and Henry Thomas riding down to Mexico and working on Rocha's (Ruben Blades) ranch shortly after World War II. And I'm sure that even if Matt were able to mount one of those penny horses, an inadvertent fall would snap his pale bony ass in two.

Frankly,given that Henry Thomas was a foreigner in Mexico, what I was waiting for in this film was for his character to get really scared and ask one of the locals: "Telefono mi casa?" Did director Billy Bob Thornton grasp the potential post-modernist impact of such a moment? Of course not. I think we can safely assume he's rather busy boffing his nutty new wife like a rabbit that's just gnawed its way into the Viagra warehouse. This explains why this film is mostly a compilation of scenes where John Grady (Damon) and Rawlins (Thomas) sit on their horses and stare at the scenery -- Thornton was in his trailer instead of on the set, and he left everything to some well-meaning cinematographer.

Lest we forget that white men aren't the only racist, petty, vindictive group of people on Earth, Grady falls in love with Alejandra (Penelope Cruz) and eventually ends up in jail because of it, and because he and Rawlins stupidly rode into Mexico with the suspicious Blevins (Lucas Black). Naturally, nobody is going to let this Romeo and Juliet love affair thing take place because sex could potentially produce a slightly tan looking kid whose skin color would be derided no matter where he went, eventually forcing him to take a job as a dishwasher in the back of a restaurant where he couldn't be seen by the cruel kids at the local preppy high school who tormented him about his inability to dance and do simple math problems. Oh, but he would show them when he showed up at the local dance competition and danced like nobody had ever danced before! And when he bedded the quarterback's girlfriend, and the quarterback's mother, and the quarterback's great-aunt, then he would know satisfaction, oh yes he would.

Ultimately, there is absolutely no point to this film that hasn't been made thousands of times before. Grady endures torment. Should he not have gone at all? Should he have made other choices? Who the hell knows? Apparently, we're just supposed to admire the countryside and the horses and move on. I could have sat on my own thumb and had a more insightful time.

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