C Brunner | 05/31/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
Vincent "Vinny" T. Webb (Nick Nolte; Young Vinnie Webb - Shawn Hatosy) is an alcoholic with a guilty conscience. Years ago he and his best friend, Lyle Carter (Jeff Bridges; Young Lyle Carter - Liam Waite), rigged some horse races with the help of Lyle's now wife, Rosie (Sharon Stone; Young Rosie - Kimberly Williams (I)). But rigging the races isn't what the guilty conscience is from. The racing commissioner (Albert Finney) caught on to what they were doing. So the three friends set him up; Rosie had sex with him while Vinny took pictures. They then used the pictures to get him to keep quiet while they won their final race. After the last race, Rosie took off with Lyle, even though Vinny wanted to marry her. Vinny has kept the pictures for roughly 20 years as a means of controlling Lyle. Lyle went on to make something of himself, becoming quite wealthy and continuing to participate in horse racing. He even lives in Kentucky now, near the location of the Kentucky Derby. He married Rosie who has developed a love for horses, especially the one the story is named after - Simpatico. Whenever Vinny needs anything, he calls up Lyle and, because Vinny still has the evidence from their crime so many years ago, Lyle has to concede to whatever Vinny wants. Well, that's all just the backstory, which takes the whole movie to figure out. The movie actually begins when (this is my interpretation) Vinny can't take the guilt anymore and decides to play his hand by giving the pictures to someone (he tries to give them to the racing commissioner to clear his name and to Rosie, but both refuse). To clear the way for him to get them to Rosie he tricks Lyle to fly out to California saying he is in trouble. He isn't really but ends up stealing Lyle's wallet, return flight pass, and cash and heading to Kentucky to try to get rid of the pictures. Once Lyle realizes what has happened he tries to send Vinny's current love interest, Cecilia (Catherine Keener), after him, but the realization of the havoc Vinny is likely to cause gets to him (again, my interpretation) and Lyle and Vinny temporarily switch roles with Vinny becoming the business man and Lyle the drunk. Now everyone involved has to come to terms with the past and the future that has resulted from it. My Comments:
I'd like to meet Nick Nolte one day, perhaps follow him around and see what he is really like. Has he ever played a role where he was sober the whole time? I mean, the guy just seems to get typecast into the role of a drunk in every move he is in. Anyway, the acting in this movie is okay. So, too, is the cinematography. Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were pretty good, and so were all of the young counterparts and the racing commissioner. However, I didn't like the two women leads, - Sharon Stone and Catherine Keener. I think Catherine Keener was more convincing than Sharon Stone, but perhaps the reason I didn't like either of them that much wasn't so because there acting was so poor (I don't really think it was all that great), but because they were trying to play characters that just weren't working. Catherine was trying play a naive woman from California and Sharon was playing an embittered wife who was still fixated on a trick from 25-30 years ago. This leads to the biggest problem I saw with the movie - the story. I guess it's kind of credible, but a major stretch. I wouldn't really know if people do these kinds of things; I've never done anything like it. But the responses of the main characters to the crime were, I don't know, not fitting. I guess theoretically it's possible that Vinny would take to drinking and not make anything of his life, same too for Rosie. But I doubt it. After 30 years or so you'd think people would get over it. Also, Lyle's response to Vinny heading to Kentucky made no sense either. I guess he was thinking that he was going to lose everything, but instead of trying to go to Kentucky to stop him, he gets sloshed and tries to hide from the world. It just didn't make any sense. Overall, the movie is kind of interesting just because all of the characters are screwed up, but the unconvincing storyline kind of ruins the movie. One final thing - what's the big deal with the Kentucky Derby? I live less than 100 miles from where it takes place and everyone I talk to (definitely a biased sample, I recognize that) seems to think that it's kind of silly. Why all the mystique about it in the movie? I've never been and have no intention of going.Anyway, this is one that you could miss and not feel bad about having done so. It definitely didn't leave a lasting impression on me and unless someone asks me about it, I highly doubt I'll be talking about it again."
C Brunner | Ashburn, VA | 09/28/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a terrible, ponderous, senseless movie. With Sharon Stone touted in the cast, one would at least hope for some attractiveness in the film, but she was painted with some kind of lip wound, and make-up did their best to hide her beauty. Nick Nolte was the typical anti-social drunk/druggie that he often plays, and Bridges was as hapless as he usually is. There was no identification with anyone in this movie, neither sympathy or pity, except, perhaps, for the horse. Skip this one; there is nothing positive or redemptive about it!"
Interesting Enough to Watch, But...
C Brunner | 05/13/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The plot and the characters become incomprehensible about midway through the film. About three quarters of the way through, I was thinking, "What is the point of this movie?" Then, for no particular reason, Sharon Stone shoots a horse (a big "what the...?" moment). Finally, the ending left me with an "I don't get it" feeling. Nolte and Bridges made the film watchable and interesting for a while. But when Bridges' character suddenly changes his personality and starts acting just like Nolte's character for no good reason (I guess it was supposed to have some deep symbolic meaning, but it means nothing when it's totally arbitrary and illogical and unbelievable given the premises of the story), I thought it might be time to give up on Simpatico and try another DVD. I should have."