I've seen pretty much everything there is to see at a movie screening, but a theater full of drunken jockeys was a new one. If you're a jockey, you've apparently been waiting for a movie like "Seabiscuit" for a long, long time. I had to sit in the back row to avoid provoking a fight. Tiny hats and shoes pelted the screen. Someone snuck in a horse. All this, and a movie too. The jockeys sobered up quickly once the movie started and they found themselves lurching between a sodden melodrama and a Ken Burns documentary from hell. The theme of "Seabiscuit" is second chances, and director Gary Ross seems to be constantly asking for a second chance to figure out what kind of movie he's making. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, owner Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) teams with horse-whisperer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) and jockey Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire) to turn Seabiscuit (Apples the Horse) from a dark horse into a winner. Charles's new wife (Elizabeth Banks) tags along, but she says next to nothing and, like Seabiscuit, seems to have been cast entirely on the basis of having good teeth. Seabiscuit gets the most character development by far. He's an angry young horse. He plays by his own rules. Like horse races? You'll get plenty, which is like watching the world's slowest NASCAR race, without the veneer of respectability or pleasing odor. By this point, the jockeys around me were bawling uncontrollably, their bodies heaving with surprisingly loud sobs -- not from emotion, but from disappointment.
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