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Friday Flicks: ‘Virginia’s Run’

Just when you thought Horse Nation film critic Amanda Ronan had run out of Bad Horse Movies to review, she unearthed this little gem. Take it away, Amanda!

From Amanda:

Virginia’s Run (2002) begins with the birth of a foal, Stormy.  Twister, the dam, is exhausted by her efforts and dies the same night.  Stormy is left in the caring hands of our young heroine Virginia.

We are then introduced to the antagonist, Darrow Raines, in what could best be described as a “west-glish endurance/point-to-point race sans jumping” across the rugged Maine coastline.  Darrow does not like to lose and he is willing to cheat, lie, and run his horse into the ground for the sake of victory.

Over the course of an evening at Virginia’s house, we are swept away in subplot.  You see, Virginia’s mom died years before in a riding accident on Twister.  Twister was sold to the sinister Darrow’s father, Blake, out of grief and anger.  Virginia’s father hasn’t allowed her to touch, ride, or even go near a horse since.  Virginia’s sister admits that she hated Twister and blamed the mare for the death of their mom.

Then…BOOM…Stormy is all grown up, trained to saddle and Virginia doesn’t look any different.  I mean she really doesn’t look like she’s aged at all… hmmm.  Anyway, the pair go for secret midnight gallops, eat apples by moonlight and all is wonderful.  Wonderful that is until the evil Darrow sells Stormy!

Virginia becomes angsty and despondent.  In a last ditch effort to cheer her up, her father gets her a job at a local riding stable.  Virginia shows us her fine riding skills and declares a little chestnut mare “a good horse with a soft mouth.”

Then dear old dad pulls through again, finding Stormy and gifting him to Virginia for her birthday!  Yeah!

Why is he always loaded backwards in the trailer?

Virginia, with the help of her now expert horse trainer dad, begins training for the Memorial Day Endurance Race.  She then somehow gets involved in a match race with Darrow involving a train.  Now, at this point the movie goes from ridiculously funny to kind of pissing me off.  The girl just runs her horse down an asphalt road and over train tracks!

Virginia does win the match race, barely beating the train, but incites the hatred of Darrow and myself forever.

And then of course, the night before the Memorial Day Endurance Race, Stormy is stolen!

Will Virginia find Stormy?  I kind of hope not.  Will they win the big race?  Probably, even though I’m sure it will involve reckless riding and will make me cringe.  You’ll just have to watch and see!

It has been a long time since I watched a really good Bad Horse Movie.  The cliches, the bad sound effects, the terrible and fairly dangerous riding, the blatant changing of horses for the same horse character…this movie had it all.  The only light in this movie was Ford, Virginia’s dad, played by Gabriel Byrne.  And I have to say, I don’t know why he would take part in this film.  It must have been a real low point in his career.

So, my final verdict is…

1/2 a Golden Horseshoe.

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