All the Pretty Horses
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
If there are any gamblers out there, have I got a proposition for you. Iím willing to wager any amount that the supposed ďmarriageĒ between Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie isnít going to last another 12 months. To show my good faith, Iím even willing to give out 5-1 odds on it, thatís how confident I am. How those two crazed nymphomaniacs managed to cross paths and get hitched is beyond me, but Billy Bobís latest directorial effort, All The Pretty Horses, gets the bare bones treatment on its recently released DVD.
After much family turmoil in his native Texas, a cowboy (Matt Damon) decides to leave his troubles behind and head off into the sunset with hopes of thriving in Mexico. Accompanied by his best friend (Henry Thomas), they find work as horse ranchers on a small family-owned operation. Soon after earning his keep, our cowboy quickly finds himself falling in love with the bossí hot daughter (Penelope Cruz). As you can probably imagine, the chief ainít too pleased and well, things kind of get ugly.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
After having recently reviewed another Matt Damon flick, THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, I canít help but draw some interesting comparisons between the two, beyond the obvious lead acting choice. Both movies rely heavily on really spectacular cinematography, move along at an unbearably slow pace and worst of all, donít present any real depth to their main characters. Itís as if the canyons and mountains assume the acting duties, with Damon and company basically just providing the half assed story which serves as a backdrop to the surroundings. The film begins with an interesting premise, that is the sudden decision to take on the adventure of going to Mexico, but quickly begins to slow down and I ultimately lost interest. I thought things were turning around when our two heroes met up with a rebel outlaw but just when things started to get interesting there, he dropped out of the picture! Weíre then treated to more sweeping shots and the plot inevitably slows back to a crawl. Yawn.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole movie was the implied romantic relationship between the extremely gorgeous Penelope Cruz and Damon. Maybe Iím way out in left field on this one but the two had absolutely no onscreen chemistry together. Iím sure things mustíve been much steamier and believable in the mind of the movieís screenwriter but sadly, things didnít quite play out as well on film. They were doing their best job at selling the forbidden affair but I sure as hell wasnít buying. What irritated me even more is the movieís last 20 or so minutes which (albeit very minutely) increased the tempo and excitement, only to once again disappoint. The conclusion was much too hurried and seemed overanxious in sending everyone home happy while still leaving the romantic angle up in the air. While Billy Bob did a fine job in creating a visually appealing movie, he forgot about delivering a worthwhile story. A disappointing effort from start to finish.
They shouldíve labeled this part of the DVD as ďAll the Crappy ExtrasĒ because let me tell you, they suck harder than an industrial size Hoover vacuum (Or a 20-dollar hooker for all you perverts out there). Wanna know what they are? First off is the theatrical trailer for the movie, which was unbelievably riveting to watch and shed absolutely no light on the making of the movie. Next up were some crappy ďProduction NotesĒ which Iím guessing were supposed to qualify as added material to the DVD. I spent a good half hour repeatedly going through the menus trying to find the rest of the extras on the disc but sadly, could not find anything else. The menus, like the rest of this area, are crap-o-rific.
While I rarely blast DVDs, this one is a real stinker from top to bottom. If youíre actually willing to invest the 25 odd dollars for this one, letís run down what youíre getting. For starters, an overly drawn out melodrama with a horribly artificial romantic element, not to mention a host of absentee extra features. Iíve read that director Thorntonís original cut of the movie spanned some four hours (I shudder to imagine it) but the studio decided to trim it down to a more acceptable two. With that having been said, Iím sure we can all expect a re-release in the coming months of this extended version so until then, avoid this one at all costs.