Apr 30, 2009

Here's to all of the brave horses!

Champions
1984

The thing that most astonishes me about this movie is that Kirstie Alley is involved. Seriously, the second her name appeared on the screen I had to blink and reconsider what I was about to watch.

So, if you're English or into steeplechasing in general, you might know about Bob Champion and/or Aldaniti. Since I am not English or all that much into steeplechasing, I don't know either. But then this movie came out when I was three, so whatever. Anyway, Bob Champion was a big amazing steeplechase jockey and Aldaniti was a big amazing steeplechaser. Right at the high point of his career, Bob is struck down with cancer. About three quarters of this movie is about Bob and cancer, so if you're squeamish you can just skim right through that. There's lots of groaning and and sweating and needles and dry heaving...but do not worry! Bob gets over it and moves into the last quarter of the movie, which is the fun part.

While he's trying to get back into shape, Aldaniti suffers what is considered a career ending injury himself. Only he miraculously recovers just in time to act as Bob's personal motivation. Bob and Aldaniti get better, find themselves in the Grand National, and this is a true story so you can guess the ending.

  • At the beginning of the movie, Bob shows up in some Southern state in the U.S., where, as we've been shown previously, women are insatiable nymphomaniacs. He finds Kirstie Alley, a large animal vet who has one purpose: sleep with Bob so she can get a look at his testicles and inform him that he should probably get that swollen area checked out.
  • Bob and Kirstie's deep connection amounts to: 1) Kirstie is massaging this horse, 2) Bob would like to be massaged, 3) Kirstie rolls her eyes, 4) inexplicably, Kirstie and Bob have sex and Bob gets his massage, 5) Kirstie says she feels safe with Bob because he's leaving, 6) Kirstie: When did that horse kick you? Bob: Three months ago in Stratford. Kirstie: Shakespeare! 7) Kirstie: You need to get that checked, like, now. 8) Two years later, Kirstie has been pining for Bob and he rejects her for Jo. Sorry, Kirstie. Southern girls are only around for cheap sex, not lasting relationships.
  • Speaking of Jo, just who does she think she is? Bob needs help, you guys. He's not as strong as he used to be, and really needs love and support and a spotter when he works out. Jo, being the selfish girl she is, has elected to better herself while he's been away in America rejecting Kirstie, and decides to take business classes. Bob is suitably unimpressed. She should, like, totally not do that because it's a waste of time and money when she could be spotting him when he works out!
  • During his cancer, Bob is taking a break at his sister's and watching his niece jump her pony. Little niece asks him what he thinks and he tells her the pony is leaving her behind and she's all "That isn't polite, is it?! Tell me I'm good!" Bob sticks to his principles, but I think this girl is a Cindy character waiting to happen.
  • Aldaniti plays himself in this movie, which I find extremely impressive.
  • I watched this on an HD television that makes horse racing look like the most impressive sport that ever existed, so maybe it's just the television that made me sit in awe of the Grand National scene, but that race was intense. At one point, the whole scene goes into slow motion and these horses are literally flying across the screen. Everyone says Seabiscuit somehow revolutionized how horse racing is filmed, but I'm pretty sure this movie makes Seabiscuit look tame.
  • At the same time, if you'd rather not watch lots of horses and jockeys falling, this movie may not be for you. Also, if you don't like small children yelling "yay!" this movie might not be for you.

Well, I liked the end of it. The first half was easily not entertaining. For those interested in watching it, but not interested in putting forth effort to get it, it's on YouTube. Here's the Grand National scene (although not as awesome, because it's been reformatted).

2 comments:

Courtney said...

Whoa, that was...intense. I cannot imagine how awesome (by which I mean totally terrifying) that must have been in HD.

RiverHeightsFangirl said...

John S. looks a bit like Stewart Elliott, West Side Bernie's jockey for the Derby...I can't see the actor's full name. Although, judging by most movies of this type, it is 80% stunt acting. :) WSB is upper-mediocre...

Comply or Die was cheated by a cheese-eating surrender horse!