Cheering for “Secretariat”

Some times I wonder what planet movie critics hail from.

They usually write scathing reviews about films I enjoy and stellar ones about those I detest or would never fork over my hard-earned dollars to see.

Case in point – the new film “Secretariat,” a wonderful movie about the famous race horse and the woman who believed in him.  Several film critics think it is drivel.  I don’t get that.

It seems if a movie isn’t edgy, psychologically perverted,  full of violence, sex, obscene foul language, and dismembered or unclothed body parts flying all over the screen, it isn’t a movie worth seeing, according to the so-called reviewers.

I don’t know about you, but I venture to the movie theater to be entertained, to escape a little from the hum-drum drone of everyday life, and to be inspired.  After viewing the film, I want to depart with a smile on my face, not overwhelmed with depressing scenarios and dark themes (there’s enough of that in real life, thank you very much!).

Yesterday, hubby and I went to see “Secretariat” with friends and all four of us enjoyed the movie immensely (and a yummy Chinese dinner, but that’s another story).  We all remembered the phenomenon which that amazing horse was and his remarkable Triple Crown winning race career back in 1973.   What a beautiful animal he was and what a heart-warming story unfolded on the big screen!

That’s what I think a lot of movie critics don’t like – an inspirational story.   This one chronicles an every-day housewife and mother who perseveres, tries to hold her family together, still runs her father’s horse-breeding farm, and believes in the magnificent ability of one soon-to-be-famous race horse.

One critic’s review said the film was dull.  What is dull about someone who will not give up when faced with adversity?  I call that having grit, fortitude, and more inner resolve and strength than most people seem to be able to muster up these days.

So the main character Penny Chenary wasn’t a whiner, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a psychotic serial killer, or a dabbler in the occult.  She was just a strong American woman achieving what she knew in her heart she needed to accomplish,  standing on what her intuition, intelligence, and gut told her was the right thing to do.  We could certainly use more people like that, if you ask me.

What is so wrong about having a wholesome, entertaining, and inspirational movie that you can take your entire family to watch and be certain that the message they learn is a great character lesson?  With so much garbage on the airwaves on television, radio, and in the movie theater, it’s not often hubby and I even desire to see a movie because so few decent ones are released.  Despite the reviews, “Secretariat”  was one movie we both wanted to view.

I suspect the real reason the movie has been panned so often is because the screenplay writer, who also is one of the executive producers, is a Christian.  He laced some scripture into the movie from the book of Job and the spirited song, “Oh Happy Day” (oh dear, it has the “Jesus” word in it!) as well.  How dare he? (I’m using sarcasm liberally here!)

One reviewer obviously did not like those references.  Here’s what he wrote, “Disney studios, director Randall Wallace, and his screenwriter Mike Rich, obviously targeting a “faith-based” audience à la “The Blind Side,” lard the soundtrack with “Oh Happy Day” and readings from the Book of Job. This is odd, since Penny and Co. are not portrayed as especially churchgoing types. Are we supposed to think it was God’s will that Secretariat made all that moola for all those breeders and bettors?”  

Mr. Movie Critic, first I have to wonder if you would be able to identify “churchgoing types” if you fell over us,  and who knows, maybe it was God’s will for Secretariat to win the Triple Crown.  Do you have first hand knowledge of what his owner did with “all that moola?”

A long time ago, I met screenwriter Mike Rich.  He lives on the other side of the country where my family used to live and one of his daughters was my middle daughter’s good friend in elementary school.  He seemed like a real down-to-earth kind of guy.  The kind of guy who is a great husband, good father, upstanding citizen.  I say we need more people like him writing screenplays for Hollywood and Hollywood needs to make more movies like “Secretariat.”

So here’s my review – I’m cheering for “Secretariat” –  two thumbs way, way up!  Go and see it if you get the chance.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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4 responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder! I almost forgot that this movie was coming out! It is a definate must see in my book. I thought it looked excellent just from the trailers that were shown. Movie critics, I almost never listen to them. Their reviews are almost always backwards. What is right, to them, is wrong and vice versa.

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