Whenever anyone says "inspired by" or "based on" a true story, you instantly get critiques comparing the fiction to the truth. Dreamer is not a fictionalized retelling of Mariah's Storm. It just borrows a snippet of her story and gives it a Hollywood ending.
Basically, this movie has everything you need for the preteen set. Blond girl, chestnut horse, love and devotion and aspirations to make dreams a reality. It is every Thoroughbred book ever written. It could be every middle grade horse book ever conceived. So saying this movie is clichéd, predictable, and overly sentimental is probably an understatement. You go into this movie knowing what's going to happen, and there are no surprises. However, that's not to say it's bad. It's actually fairly entertaining, even for those of us who know the formula so well some us could have written this movie's script in under twenty-four hours with no problem.
Anyway, let's just get to the weird things. Because I don't feel like recapping the plot we all know so well.
- Elizabeth Shue and Kurt Russell are the most awkward onscreen couple I've seen in a long time. The first time I saw this, I kept rejecting the idea of them as being anything other than siblings. Or possibly cousins. Or people who just randomly shared rent.
- Would like to know what legal restraints went into shooting at Ashford Stud, especially when they used names of Ashford stallions (Fusaichi Pegasus, Johannesburg, Giant's Causeway, Grand Slam), but couldn't show those actual stallions in the movie.
- This is a movie with more inspirational monologue than normal discussion. Sort of like, oh, great, we're going to talk about how you're ready to be a jockey by referencing your dream from earlier and how you're no longer hungry. It's so motivational!
- I'm trying to decide if a horse could eat a popsicle that quickly, neatly, and without mangling the wooden stick.
- Prince Sadir's argument for why his horse should be in the Breeders' Cup Classic is: "But my horse was sired by Storm Cat!" Storm Cat has over 1,100 babies. Please try again.
- Evil former boss is evil! Deliberately causing an accident in the saddling paddock does make me laugh, regardless.
- Claiming races where the horse is *gasp* claimed! Let's not pretend you didn't think this was a possibility, main characters. If you race for a tag, you're putting the horse up for sale. It's sort of the point to claiming races.
- While I do think Cale's confidence in her horse is very Ashleigh Griffen of her, saying her horse will beat all horses who show up to the Breeders' Cup borders on overinflated ego, especially since her horse came in third in a claimer not too long ago.
- Time is so hazy in this movie. First, Sonya is a two-year-old with two races (which she has won, so she's a pretty good prospect) before she breaks down. That, in Dreamer world, gives her 40 some odd points toward the Breeders' Cup. Then...unspecified time goes by! Breeders' Cup Classic rolls around, Sonya runs in one claimer, which does not give you any points whatsoever, and Cale claims she has twenty some odd to her name for the Classic? How is this possible?
- Palmer really came prepared for rejection when he offers to buy back Sonya. How about $10,000? Okay, how about $20,000 in cash? Okay, how about a certified check for $100,000? If you walked in with that many options, you might as well save yourself the time and embarrassment dished out by ten-year-old girls.
- Price Sadir and his brother must have a very strained relationship.
Ultimately, it's a cute movie in a Thoroughbred sort of way.