Jan 31, 2012
"You never get used to it. That's why they make Jim Beam."
Luck might be interesting.
I say that since I could see my face reflected back at me on my computer screen as I watched the pilot episode, and mainly my expression was that of pained befuddlement. And I kind of got what was happening about three quarters of the time. No really!
We shall start with Ace (Dustin Hoffman). Ace just spent three years in prison for something. Maybe that something was mentioned and I tuned it out somehow, but he's been in prison and now he's out and he's kind of melodramatic and eccentric...in a cute way. At one point he gets all bent out of shape when one of his shady friends hesitates at his recording device and he throws a fit about how it's a helpful aid because he forgets things *tears shirt apart, buttons flying everywhere* and he was in prison and holy shit the buttons just flew off his shirt and now he's embarrassed and he needs new shirts because prison left him a physically smaller masculine specimen. And he sits down and tries to do his buttonless shirt back up.
Meanwhile, since I suppose he was banned from the track, his chauffeur now owns all of his horses, one of which is a $2 million dollar pony that will not pass a bowel movement, irritating his trainer who gets mad at his bug jockey for saying things like "we're going to win big!" or something, because to talk about anything other than the weather on the backside is forbidden. (They do, actually, win big.)
Then there's Nick Nolte. I don't know what his name is, but he mutters to himself a lot and stares at his horse and I suppose some of those mutterings were about how someone killed the horse's father...or his own father. Regardless, someone (or some horse) is dead and Nick Nolte didn't stop it. Generally speaking, the second these words popped out of his mouth, I thought about that creepy shoebox of porn and a little part of this show was ruined for me.
Then there's the four handicappers who spend the whole episode plotting to win the day's pick six. I have no idea what their names are, but for me they will be known as Oxygen Man, The Degenerate, Dick, and Third Wheel. Oxygen Man is the ringleader who yells at The Degenerate a lot, since he has a gambling problem (ha! at a racetrack, you say?). No, no, he has a poker problem. He only gambles on racing to feed his urge to lose at poker. Dick and Third Wheel are sort of extraneous characters I don't care about, only Dick feels that he's entitled to blow his winnings on prostitutes and Third Wheel is essentially that. I have no idea why he's there. Anyway, they win $2.8 million dollars on the pick six, making them sort of well off after you divide that four ways and take out taxes. Don't get too excited, you guys. You'll only be back tomorrow.
Also, a horse dies...graphically. It was not too offensive, and did not insult my intelligence. They just outright show everything: bone snaps, vet shows up, screen goes up, intravenous pink liquid administered, horse dies. Pretty cut and dry. But the poor, previously enthusiastic bug has his heart broken and trampled upon, so Gary Stevens shows up to tell him how to cope: drink. Heavily.
However, it's an exercise rider girl who provides the moment I really liked in this pilot, which basically sold me on the entire series, where she rides Nick Nolte's horse in a breeze. It's beautiful. Girl and horse are galloping and then girl and horse are racing time, and the second that happens was pretty awesome to behold.
So it's a pilot that is putting down a lot of ground work. I can't say I was really wildly impressed with it, but it's certainly authentic. I felt a little dirty after watching it, just like days at the track usually make me feel. I suppose I'll keep up with it out of curiosity's sake or until I'm genuinely interested in the goings on, which apparently occur around episode five.
This will be a long race.