Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:45 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Dreamworks SKG
Release Date: 2005
Kiddie Movie: More for the girls, but good for all.
Date Movie: If she likes a feel-good movie.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Some angry talk, but no one’s punching each other out.
Action: Just some horse-racing.
Laughs: Some pretty good moments.
Memorable Scene: Cale in front of the Breeders’ Cup horse-choosing people.
Memorable Quote: Ben: “You work for her now.”
Directed By: John Gatins

As much as Dakota Fanning has been impressing me in movie after movie she is in, I am becoming a big fan of Snake Plissken, I mean Kurt Russell, especially with his role as Herb Brooks in “Miracle,” and now as Ben Crane in “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story.” Let’s get to it…

“Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story” gives us an adaptation of a story where a son and dad nurse a horse back from a broken leg and get it to race in the Breeders’ Cup. From what I’ve read, and what the movie showed, that’s pretty much the only part of the story that was inspired, but that’s okay, because instead of just a movie about getting a horse back to racing shape, we get a movie about a family in disarray and how the horse gets the family to be a family again.

So, Dakota Fanning is Cale. She’s a fan of her dad, Ben, but Ben doesn’t spend any time with her, and she’s sort of tormented because they live on a horse farm without any horses. Finally going to work with Dad, she gets to see a horse, Sonya, run, and Cale likes her. She also gets to see that Dad’s boss, Palmer (David Morse), is a jerk. Sadly, during Sonya’s race, Sonya breaks a leg, and they are ready to put the horse down. Palmer again treats Ben like crap, Ben gets fired/quits, and in lieu of some of his back pay, Ben take Sonya instead.

Now taking Sonya may seem like a stupid idea to the rest of us, who normally assume a racehorse with a broken leg might as well just be put to sleep, but Ben does have a plan, and it’s a good plan, but with a bad ending.

Later in the movie, after Ben has an argument with Mom (Elisabeth Shue), overheard by Cale, Cale decides to take Sonya (whose actual name is Soñador, which means dreamer in Spanish) and run away from home, Sonya gets spooked, and everyone involved realizes Sonya might actually be able to race again, which is a good thing since she can’t get pregnant.

And so, Ben eventually gives Cale total say in how Sonya is worked, and she has some help from a couple of other horse-folk, Balon (Luis Guzman), and Manolin (Freddy Rodriquez). Sonya now only has one dream left, and that’s to get Sonya into the Breeders’ Cup, and mom makes dad let their daughter follow her dream, and it’s a good thing mom is around.

There really aren’t any surprises in this movie, but you know what, I didn’t care because it was just an enjoyable film. You feel for Cale when dad makes a mistake at Sonya’s come-back race, you understand the frustration for Ben when his original plan for Sonya falls apart, you’re happy that Palmer gets payback for being a jerk, and you feel the tension between Ben and his father, Pop (Kris Kristofferson), knowing they have a past that they just can’t get over. For all of this to work, you needed a cast of folks who could pull this off, and everyone involved in this movie was perfectly cast.

I don’t know if younger boys (most definitely not teen boys) would like the movie, especially with so much of it being centered around Cale, but most of the families that were in the theater really seemed to enjoy it. If you’ve got a young daughter, this movie is probably perfect for her, just realize that she might come out of the film wanting you to buy her a horse instead of a puppy. 4 ½ stars out of 5, you know what, screw that, it’s 5 stars out of 5, even without nudity, gratuitous violence, or swearing. And yes, I admit, it made me a little weepy at times.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

3000 Miles to Graceland

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:05 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

3000 Miles to Graceland
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox, Christian Slater, Kevin Pollak, David Arquette, Jon Lovitz, Howie Long, Thomas Haden Church, Bokeem Woodbine, Ice-T
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: Don’t even think about bringing them.
Date Movie: She might get a little scared and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: You know it’s happening but no nakedness.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of it.
Action: Some, but out of the ordinary.
Laughs: It did have some good jokes.
Memorable Scene: Robbing the casino and Murphy in the car with the bubble-gum girl.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Demian Lichtenstein

“3000 Miles to Graceland” is one of those movies that had just about every element needed to make it cutting edge, but somehow all of those elements just couldn’t come together. It had sex, it almost had nudity, it had quality kills, and it had a story of robbery and double-crossing. Even with all of that I came out of the theater unfulfilled.

“3000 Miles to Graceland”, which I’ll now call 3KMTG, stars Kurt Russell as Michael and Kevin Costner as Murphy. Michael just got out of jail, Murphy a little earlier, and their plan is to rob a casino. It seemed like a good plan – they would be disguised as Elvis imitators, the group of the five of them, and head for the money counting room armed with various forms of artillery. We get many a quality kill as they get the bag-load of dough, they get away, and it’s time to divvy up the cash. But there is dissension in the group, especially with one of the gang now dead, and you know what, the underlying rule of the game is you can never trust a thief. Therefore trust no one.

So you’ve got the story of the thieves, but 3KMTG also throws in a story of Michael getting some action from Cybil (Courteney Cox), but then getting double-crossed as Cybil uses her son to trick Michael while she takes the cash. Who’s gonna get the money, is Cybil trustworthy or just using everyone she can, why can’t cops with laser-sighting hit the bad guys, and is Murphy really an illegitimate son of Elvis? These are just many of the questions we find in the movie. Some are answered, some are not, and some aren’t necessary.

Like I said before, though, with all of these things going on they just don’t come together to make a captivating movie. I liked the story, the quality kills were pretty quality, and Courteney looks good in underwear, but even with all of this it didn’t hit the level of “Pulp Fiction” that this movie seemed to be shooting for, and it could have. Kevin Costner was in one of his best roles in a while, Kurt Russell was great as the bad but still good guy, Courteney played it well as the dudette not knowing if she should be in it for money or for love, and Ice-T was just too cool.

I just wish things didn’t get stupid, especially at the end. Let’s take Murphy and two other bad guys against a slew of SWAT members. Both sides are heavily armed, Ice-T comes through the warehouse, upside down, spinning, and taking out a good number of the good guys, and even with the laser-sightings the good guys can’t seem to hit the bad guys. And if that weren’t enough, how do you lose an ambulance? God this movie had potential.

In the end, even with the quality kills, 3KMTG gets 2 ½ stars from me. It had potential and didn’t get there, but it did have some of the best shoot-em-up scenes in a movie. If only Courteney had gotten naked.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!