Mine That Box Office


Can you take another feel-good movie about a racehorse who overcomes the odds to become a champion on the track? Is it too early for a nostalgia feature about a race that took place just four years ago?

This year’s addition to the never ending stream of underdog-beats-all sports movies is a film about Mine That Bird, the unlikely winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and his colorful connections. It’s sure to feature lots of melodrama, contrived Louisiana accents, and constant, unrealistic nickering played over all scenes where a horse is present. The film is titled 50 to 1, and I assume they picked that title based on the odds that I’ll actually go see it.

The film stars Skeet Ulrich as trainer Chip Woolley. You remember Ulrich from the first Scream movie, or perhaps Law and Order LA, if you prefer your pop culture references to be from this century. Christian Kane plays the horse’s owner Mark Allen. You probably don’t remember Kane from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel, but I do because I watched the entire series on Netflix last year. Don’t judge.

Calvin Borel, the jockey who piloted Mine That Bird to his Derby victory, plays himself as far as I can tell. So maybe that Louisiana accent won’t be so contrived after all.

My immediate and decidedly negative reaction to this movie may have something to do with the fact that it’s a rainy Monday after a weekend rendered an hour short by the start of Daylight Saving Time. On the other hand, I can’t think of a single horse movie that I could whole-heartedly rate two thumbs up, which I guess is why I tend to greet all new ones with cynicism.

To be fair, even horse people who are more forgiving than I tend to judge horse movies with a critical eye. For an example of this, get a group of your horse-loving friends together, mention the cartoon film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and see how long it takes for someone to mention the horses’ eyebrows. I predict 30 seconds, tops. I doubt non-horse people even noticed that anatomical inaccuracy.

But even without nitpicking on the creative license Hollywood takes with the horses themselves, horse movies just never seem like good, quality films. The plotlines are trite, the acting is overwrought, there’s a 30-year age difference between the romantic leads… I just can’t seem to find a horse movie that I’d ever want to sit through more than once.

We have a popular article here on HorseChannel listing some of the most beloved horse films of all time (up until 2006, that is, since that’s when the article was written.) I have to admit, I haven’t seen most of them. So maybe there is a horse movie out there for me. I just haven’t found it yet.

Click “Submit a Comment” below and tell me which horse movies you think are worth watching, and I’ll give them a shot. Or if there aren’t any out there that you can endorse, what horse do you think should get the Hollywood spotlight next?

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  1. I love horse movies but you are correct they can at least make sure they get the breed correct using Arabians when its suposed to be a Quarter horse come on

  2. Some really really really awesome horse movies….
    “Horse Sense”
    “Horse Crazy” well, not as good as this first one, but cute and exciting
    “Moondance Alexander”
    “Second Chances”
    time prevents me from telling you what they are about!!!

  3. I love this topic. I totally agree that horse movies tend to be embarrassing — overly sentimental and typically inaccurate in how they portray true horse/human interactions. I do have a couple of horse movies I’ve enjoyed over the years. “Phar Lap” is one because the main storyline is true; the newest “Seabiscuit” was well done, too. I hated “The Horse Whisperer” because it was so hokey and far-fetched.


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