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Seabiscuit

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When Seabiscuit raced in the 30s, he drew more news than Roosevelt or Hitler. His match race against War Admiral was heard by 40 million people, statistically about as many Americans who tune in to watch the Superbowl every year. But he wasn’t just winning races – he was a hero for the little guy who lost everything in the Great Depression and was fighting for a second chance. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our “This Is Real Life, Jack!” series with Gary Ross’ 2003 film Seabiscuit.

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"You don’t throw a whole life away just ‘cause he’s banged up a little."

When Seabiscuit raced in the 30s, he drew more news than Roosevelt or Hitler. His match race against War Admiral was heard by 40 million people, statistically about as many Americans who tune in to watch the Superbowl every year. But he wasn’t just winning races – he was a hero for the little guy who lost everything in the Great Depression and was fighting for a second chance. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our “This Is Real Life, Jack!” series with Gary Ross’ 2003 film Seabiscuit

We talk about how the movie works overall, and the interesting addition Ross added of documentary-style narration provided by one of America’s great voices, David McCullough. We debate about how well Ross does with the opening act of his film – is it a sloppy mess that takes too long to get us to the horse or is it a brilliantly cut-together example of how well Ross does to move us through time and connect us to these characters? We look at the performances of Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks and William H. Macy, among others, and relish in the great work they all do here, even if Banks really is given nothing more than the ‘thankless wife’ role. We discuss some of the key team members – John Schwartzman’s cinematography, William Goldenberg’s editing, Randy Newman’s music – and what they all bring to the table. And we ponder the cost of the Equicizer and how effective it is in allowing the filmmakers to cut in closeups of actors talking while in the midst of their incredibly choreographed and photographed races. 

It’s a beautiful, powerful film that may wear its heart on its sleeve, but one that does so proudly, not ashamed of what it is. We have a great conversation about it, even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything in it. So check out the movie then tune in!

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