Tag Archive: diane lane

Off to the Races

Family Movie Night

A few weeks ago, someone told me I needed to see Secretariat (2010).

Finally, I did and I really liked it.

Diane Lane in "Secretariat," image from IMDb.com

The movie follows Penny Chenry Tweedy (Diane Lane) as she takes over her father’s farm after the death of her mother. But a mare gives birth to a foal that is unlike any other horse. Suddenly Tweedy’s life is absorbed by this horse and his potential.

Once Red starts racing, a light bulb goes off, sparks flies, the horse runs like none other. At the same time Tweedy is missing out on her kids’ events and her husband wonders if she even wants to be married. But with a new-to-her trainer and a jockey who knows how to handle horses that like to run as fast as possible, suddenly Tweedy realizes she has a chance to win it all.

It starts at the Kentucky Derby on the first weekend of May. It is a day of big hats, big drama and a race that goes over one and a quarter mile of track.

This weekend is another day at Churchill Downs. Celebrate it by having a horse movie festival.

For the youngest members of the family, you could always go with the My Little Pony movies.

Another suggestion for the younger members is National Velvet (1947) starring Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor as a young girl who knows she has to ride a horse to win a big race. This is a good introduction to Taylor and the energetic Rooney.

Andrew Knott in "Black Beauty," Image from IMDb.com

For pre-teens, there is Black Beauty (1994), a story of one horse’s life and Flicka (2006) starring Alison Lohman as a girl who tames a wild horse. Based on books popular in the young adult genre, these movies connect us with the animals by how people interact with them.

If you are looking for a longer movie about horses, my favorite one from recent years is Seabiscuit (2003). The movie stars Jeff Bridges as a man who has lived through the worst a father can live through. As he picks up the pieces of his life, he starts racing horses. And one of his horses is incredible but moody. This horse runs every race in California and is incredible.

Foriegn movie poster for "Seabiscuit," image from IMDb.com

The story takes place during the Depression and a horse with a good pedigree but small in stature winning these races is a boost to the spirit. The movie is beautifully shot and tells a good story. It may not the complete story and the characters are not really as shining as we would like them to be. But this Hollywood version had me crying my eyes out over the solid performances put in by Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey McGuire and Elizabeth Banks. 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.


Signs of Spring

What was your first sign of spring?

For me it was seeing the tips of my Tiger Lilies coming out of the ground.

Then I looked over and saw green leaves popping out where my hardy mum are located. That is when I got excited. So I lifted up some of the compost that rests over the Tulip bed. Oh Yeah! They were coming up, too. I placed the compost back over the tender sprouts and skipped into the house. My plants are coming back and spring is almost here. This past Friday I was running around without my coat, just in my shirt sleeves.

Because I cannot really do anything in the garden, I get antsy. I want to dig and remove compost and put in new mulch. But it is not time yet. There are no plants at the garden centers yet and there’s still a danger of frost. I suspect next week anxiety will get the better of me and I will be out there with a rake.

The other signs have slowly made their appearance as well. Last week I heard Redwing black birds singing. Yesterday, I heard to shrill call of the woodpecker.

Better yet, our kids are running outside to play. Granted they are doing a lot of gun games that I do not like. But the kids are also skate boarding and riding bike. My daughter and I rode our bikes over to Casey’s to put air in my tires.

Now for the days that it gets too cold or too rainy to be out, I have some great movie picks. One of my favorites is Enchanted April (1992) starring Miranda Richardson and Josie Lawrence as two English women who rent an Italian Villa for the month of April to escape the rain.

Their housemates include Joan Plowwright, an older woman whose family were friendly with many of the literati; and Polly Walker, a socialite seeking solitude from the world and her broken heart. The beauty of the Italian countryside is transforming for the characters and for the viewers. This movie is best suited for older teens and adults in regards to context rather than anything particularly objectionable.

Two other more recent movies that have great scenery is Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and A Good Year (2006). These adult treats feature Italy and Provence, respectively, and makes one yearn to have that ease, that comfort, that lifestyle of being totally completely happy while living on an estate. Plus, I like watching Diane Lane and Russell Crowe take on roles that are not as intense as their normal parts.

A movie with lots of greenery that is more suitable for children is The Secret Garden (1993). The story is about a young girl brought to Yorkshire, England from India after the death of her neglectful parents. Mary is sullen and angry but kind housemaid, Martha. gives her a jump rope and shoos her outside. Mary discovers a garden that has been locked up and neglected by her uncle.

With the help of Dickon, Martha’s brother, they bring the garden back to life. That same magic is used on Mary’s cousin, Colin.

Another good choice for kids is Over The Hedge (2006) which stars Bruce Willis as a racoon who has to pay back the Bear his winter stash of food. His plan involves using other woodland animals to get it. Unfortunately these animals have discovered a housing development in the place of half of their woods. And not all humans like furry forest animals.

My kids end up laughing and having a good time, even when some of the action sequences get a little hairier than I would like. However, even I can laugh when the villains get their due.

Until next week, see you in the movie aisle.

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.