Saturday, June 25, 2011


The Flick: Buck

The Peeps: Buck Brannaman, Robert Redford, et al.

The Dealio: This is the non-fictional account of the true horse whisperer. He who provided the background, the body double and the heart and soul of the inspiration for the book and the movie of the same name. Buck, as one half of a team (his older bro was the other half) performs a trick rope handling act that propels the duo to the forefront of country and western entertainment. But there is a darker side to the teamwork, the professional performance and the abilities: while the boys are still very young, they are being abused by their father, 'a man with a vicious temper'. This was a man who brooked no less-than-perfect outcomes, and beat his children until they were nearly unconscious to make a point. As a result, Buck (real name, Dan) seeks mentorship from a series of patient, slow-talking and slow-acting empathetic men. By the time he was removed from the situation which has caused so much damage to his young self, Dan/Buck has already established himself as a talented and capable performer. But he feels that something is lacking in his life. Then, he is placed with a family which, eventually winds up fostering or adopting over two dozen young men. This family becomes Brannaman's inspiration, motivation and refuge. And he begins to learn something very important. About kids and about horses: respect is all.

The Grading Session: 4.87 pengies out of 5. This is a very fine- if not perfect- little indie. Anyone who loves horses, or kids, or touching tributes to the unvanquished spirit of the Wild West- this is the flick for you. Although the music only really melds with the film after the credits begin to run, there is much to admire and to become choked up about (which). And, always, there is the spectre of possible failure floating above the entire enterprise. Touching, but bittersweet.

Lessons Learned: A kind, but firm, word and consistent treatment will rule the day. Also this: sadly, not everyone is redeemable. Lastly this: 'you have a choice to make: you can do what was done to you. Or, you can make a change. But, you do have a choice.' Yep: true dat.

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