Oct 31, 2009

It's Virginia and the Spoiled Brat!


Virginia's Run
2002

Tagline: Two sisters. One remarkable adventure that will bring them together.

This is another one of those movies that I like despite its sentimental, unrealistic core. If you're in this for faithfully depicted equestrian scenes, you need to put the DVD down and back away slowly, because you're too serious for this movie. If you're here to grin evilly and compare this to the Thoroughbred series for no reason other than you get a strange kick out of it, well you're in for an hour and forty-five minutes of joy!

It starts out normal enough: a girl with super hearing jerks awake because a mare in a pasture somewhere is having a foal during a thunderstorm. This mare needs her assistance! Virginia speeds out into the storm to save the mare and foal, because this mare used to be her dead mother's and naturally she would be attached to any progeny it might have. The mare dies, leaving behind the foal.

So, the story goes that Virginia used to dash around on horseback all the time before her mother fell off of the mare and met her end, which means that Gabriel Byrne has forbidden Virginia from riding or in any way associating with horses. He doesn't want Virginia to get attached to the new foal, despite the foal's owner coming by to give her milk because the foal has attached itself to her. The foal's owner is Blake Raines (think New Generation Brad Townsend, complete with cravat), father of Darrow Raines (think Brad Townsend, Joanna Campbell era), the resident jerk who is dating Caroline, Virginia's older sister, and has a weird antagonistic relationship with Virginia for seemingly no reason. It's like everything I could possibly want in a movie!

Virginia ignores her father and bonds with the foal anyway, naming it Stormy and spending probably every waking second with it as her father goes on his oblivious way. Two years pass, and Virginia has taken up speeding around on Stormy during the night, nearly getting hit by cars during her adventures in teenage juvenile delinquency. Darrow is still dating Caroline, inexplicably enough, but turns his sights on Stormy as his new endurance horse.

(Yes, the horse is two. I know, I know.)

Stormy and Darrow don't get along, giving Virginia a way to weasel in and accuse Darrow of being, well, Darrow. Darrow threatens to have the horse shot, but instead settles on selling him, which he tells Virginia all about later at school, giving her his winning smile as she reacts in typical horse story main character fashion, which would be to get on her bike and ride as fast as she can to the ranch, only to get there too late and burst into impotent sobs.

The Caroline/Darrow relationship keeps going, and is remarkably everything I wanted it to be. Darrow gets pissed off that she won't put out in the backseat of his car, so he takes out his sexual frustration in road raging, which sends the car into a telephone pole. Caroline breaks her nose, and Darrow proceeds to never call her, only showing up later at a town dance with another girl. Caroline takes a moment to man up and punch him in the face. This is the Caroline who embraces violence as a means to solve problems, and who is therefore awesome.

Meanwhile, Virginia has started to work at the Raines ranch because her dad believes this will shake her out of her funk over losing Stormy. Instead he just catches her riding, and breakthroughs occur that send him off in search of the horse, which he finds and gives to her for her birthday. Life is super fantastic. Stormy is living in the garage, Caroline punched Darrow in the face, their dad is sort of dating the ranch manager but not...and then comes along the endurance race.

While training for the race, Virginia has a run in with Darrow and his posse, because Darrow has a posse that follows him everywhere, be he on horseback or not. Because they have a weird antagonistic relationship, they immediately decide to have a match race right there. Somehow a train gets involved, and Virginia decides that she just has to beat Darrow and spurs her horse across the tracks and in front of the train, nearly getting them both killed.

Darrow and Virginia stare at each other across the tracks as the train goes by, Virginia looking like she just swallowed something very bitter, and Darrow giving her this look that I immediately associate with disbelief that the main character nearly splattered herself all over the train tracks, but the movie associates with rampant rage that she beat him. In my head, they are so having angry sex when they get out of high school.

Anyway, the movie starts making some dumb moves after this. Darrow steals Stormy on the morning of the race, Virginia finds Stormy just in time to enter the race based on the town mob insisting that she ride, Darrow is a little too obviously attempting to win the race at all costs because his father is being sort of super insane about winning, then Virginia wins after a prolonged Virginia/Darrow hate fueled match race in which they glare at each other a lot.

And it just occurred to me that I have no idea what that tagline is talking about. This movie is so not about sisters.

Points:

- Typically, Darrow gets all the awesome lines in this movie. And then the movie kicks him in the balls. Poor guy.

- Crimped hair! When was this allowed to claw its way out of the 80s?

- "Who would steal a horse in the middle of a thunderstorm?" Yeah, who? I mean, rain and thunder should be all it takes to dissuade anyone from doing anything.

- "Stormy was my horse even though he didn't belong to me." I am so tired of this line. Why can't we tweak it into something like, "I loved him and now he's gone and now I'm really freaking depressed about it." Granted, that may need some tweaking of its own, but at least it's sort of got some truth to it.

- "If Darrow is such a jerk, why hasn't he told Dad about you visiting the foal?" Good point, Caroline! The movie was trying at something interesting initially.

- I think Gabriel Byrne slept through most of this movie. He looks like he was just gently roused from a coma during all of his scenes.

- I don't know what's up with this endurance race, but everyone in this town takes it very, very seriously.

So, I guess you could say that I've got my own reasons for liking it. And mainly they all hinge on the antagonistic relationship that made me smile.

1 comment:

RiverHeightsFangirl said...

I hated, hated this movie. I rode at an endurance stable (lessons only) and I was dying to compete. It wasn't totally off-key (and there are different types of long-distance rides) but it totally misrepresented the sport and it was such a disconnected, whiny story that really didn't have anything to do with horses.

Oh, if you want a doozy, I found a recent movie (starring Ian Holm, apparently) at the library simply titled 'Shergar'. If you don't know who he is, Shergar was a famous 80's Irish racehorse who won a ton of English/Irish races, was sent to stud and got whacked by the Irish Republican Army. The movie, according to the summary, adds a hero kid and I guarantee the story will be screwed. But I'll watch.