Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|All Hat |
Actors: Luke Kirby, Keith Carradine, Noam Jenkins, Lisa Ray, Rachael Leigh Cook
Director: Leonard Farlinger
Genres: Westerns, Comedy
Based on a novel by top selling author Brad Smith, All Hat is an exciting and breathtaking western tale. When Ray is let out of jail, his worst troubles are just starting. Full of thoroughbred racing, guns and romance, Al... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Hazel S. from CARRIERE, MS
Reviewed on 10/26/2010...
A little different twist than we expected. But good.
Pretty good neo-western
R. Bagula | Lakeside, Ca United States | 05/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sort of a slow western switch in which the good guys
beat the bad rich villain. It involves horse stealing,
a very fast female jockey and a fellow who did time for
beating up the bad guy. The acting is casual and good
and the ranch setting is pretty near real.
The small ranchers as usual are losing it all...
historically, it very hard to make a small spread to
support a family. In the end the good guy gets his girl
and the bad guy gets the shaft:
what more could we ask for in a western?"
Horses and heists? Sign me up!
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 05/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"All Hat (Leonard Farlinger, 2007)
I liked All Hat when I read it a few years ago, and when I found out a movie version had been made, I was a little hesitant to see it; after all, how many decent books have been ruined by awful movies? I finally screwed up my courage and gave it a watch tonight, however, and I needn't have worried; while I liked the book, I loved the movie. It's gutsy, funny, and sharp, and it actually loses some of the inevitable confusion one gets in a book that starts you off with a big ensemble cast; the characters are more distinct here than they are on the page, in my estimation.
All Hat is your classic Heist film, though as envisioned more recently by Tarantino or Mamet; there's a great plan, but Murphy's law dominates as soon as the execution begins. Set on the wide plains of Ontario, All Hat stars a number of different groups involved in all this. First of all, there's Ray Dokes (The Stone Angel's Luke Kirby); if there's a male lead, he's it. Ray just got out of prison after two years he served for assault (the relation of the details of the assault is one of the movie's funniest scenes, if in a low-key way). While he's getting back on his feet, Ray is staying with Pete Culpepper (Keith Carradine), a blue-collar trainer at a local racetrack who helps Ray land a job as a roofer. Ray's a good, hardworking kid, but trouble tends to find him. Usually it's the kind of trouble with an hourglass figure. There's existing tension between Ray and his ex-girlfriend Etta (Lisa Ray of The World Unseen), but there's also Pete's young, vivacious exercise rider Cassie (Rachael Leigh Cook, who should need no introduction) to draw Ray's eye. And after all this, I'm just done describing the first group! I'll stick with one other. In the same way that Ray and Pete come off, as much as anyone in this movie can, as the good guys, the bad guys are headed up by Sonny Stanton (Saw IV's Noam Jenkins), the wastrel son of a man who's kind of Pete Culpepper's opposite, the trainer whose stereotype is the real meaning behind the phrase "the sport of kings". Dad's health is in decline, and Sonny is just waiting for him to die so he can take over the family business. Dad's trainer is the pragmatic, though good-hearted, Jackson Jones (the wonderful Ernie Hudson, who really needs more work), and he's got two stablehand/assistants, his brother Paulie (Ararat's David Alpay) and Sonny's childhood friend Dean Calder (Joel Keller, form the long-running Canadian TV series Blue Murder). (Another thing the movie made slightly clearer than the book--Paulie isn't just a well-meaning naif, he's actually mildly mentally challenged. Maybe I'm an idiot for missing that in the book, but...)
There are others, including the fantastic actor Graham Greene, but I'm this far and I haven't even gotten to the plot. Sonny is trying to buy up all the surrounding land to develop, and Etta is holding out despite the fact that she and her Alzheimer's-suffering father are way, way behind, and the bank's going to foreclose any minute now. Sonny, however, has some pretty big financial problems of his own, and so he comes up with a dastardly plan--kill off his father's prize horse and make it look like an accident. True to form, he puts that in the hands of Dean and Paulie, who are pretty much sure to screw it up...
As you can probably tell by the synopsis here, I found that the plot of the movie played second fiddle to the characters, and I had no problem with that at all; many of my favorite heist movies (including Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Mamet's Heist) are character-driven. The key is the balance, and I have to say that All Hat doesn't quite get there (certainly not in the way that, say House of Games does) , but if you're going to err, I'd certainly prefer erring on the side of character than on the side of plot. Given that, I can't fault Brad Smith, who adapted his own novel for the screen, for going for the character-driven screenplay with which he came up; it's a success. Smith's long-limbed, easy humor comes through here full force, and the relationships between these characters never once feel unrealistic or forced. (I should probably take points off for that, actually, since so many real-life relationships are both unrealistic and forced. But I digress.) All Hat is a movie that unjustly fell into obscurity almost immediately upon its release. I suggest rediscovering it. It's obviously far too early to consider calling All Hat a western classic, but if you can do it for Brokeback Mountain, you can do it for All Hat as well. A fine, fine movie. ****