Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Gary Stevens, William H. Macy, Eddie Jones, David McCullough (Narrator)
Director: Gary Ross
Summary: True story of the undersized depression-era racehorse whose victories inspired a nation
Other Nominations: Adapted Screenplay, Sound Mixing, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing
You know this is a pretty uninspired movie when the highlight is the filmmakers going full-on Ken Burns, with the David McCullough narration on American history with moving still photos. While nicely shot, it’s a super-sentimental film that incorporates nearly every underdog sports movie trope and takes way too long to get into anything, the problem being that they’re trying to make it a “big story” (about the Great Depression as much as it is about Seabiscuit) and it mostly falls flat in this regard for me. I don’t get why they thought they needed to spend quite so much time on Jeff Bridges’ character, and when they do, it sometimes feels haphazard-we meet his son and he’s dead 3 minutes later, he meets a woman and 3 minutes later they’re married. Also, making Jeff Bridges uninteresting in a movie takes some real doing-it’s like Samuel L. Jackson in the Star Wars prequels.
It’s a perfectly competent movie that looks nice enough and the acting is fine, it’s just not the kind of movie I feel should be getting Best Picture nominations. It’s just alright.