Amanda Ronan watches bad horse movies so you don’t have to. This week, our fearless film critic weighs in on what might be the three worst horse movies ever made.
Browsing my friendly Redbox iPhone App I happened across this equestrian-themed triple feature. $1.20 for three horse movies?!? Nothing wrong with that. Let’s check them out.
First up, Natalie’s Rose (1998). The tagline reads, “When a young girl loses her mother… she finds hope in a white rose.”
1) There’s an Arabian. Although, in several shots it looked like some sort of mixed breed pony to me, but whatev…
2) There’s a daring rescue.
OK, so it actually wasn’t that daring but the terrain this girl has the opportunity to ride on is enviable.
3) There’s a mystical ghost horse. Every horse movie has to have at least one, right?
Natalie’s Rose was, well, a flop.
The acting was cringe-worthy (and judging by a few of the other movies I’ve reviewed I have pretty low standards) beyond belief. I mean it. was. bad.
I’ve also decided that there are three types of horse movies: actual horse movies about horses (i.e. Seabiscuit or Black Beauty), movies that are really good but the horse isn’t the main character (i.e. The Man from Snowy River or Something to Talk About), and movies with vague horselike settings (i.e. this movie).
I give Natalie’s Rose a ½ Golden Horseshoe.
Watch the trailer:
Next up is Healed by Grace (2012). This one’s tagline is, “Healed by Grace is a charming tale of a faith, friendship, and love. It’s at the darkest of times where these powerful elements of life all come to together.” It also, amazingly has a 6.5 out of 10 rating on IMDb.
1) There’s an injured girl and a Friesian. Here lately there is ALWAYS a Friesian. It’s a breed right up there with Mustang when it comes to screentime.
2) There’s a love connection. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.
3) There’s a “big regional show” which if you’re accustomed to these types of movies is actually just a show that’s held in the EXACT same barn that the rest of the movie has been set in, but everyone gets dressed up.
Healed by Grace wasn’t the worst. Granted, it wasn’t the best either, but compared to Natalie’s Rose up there it was downright Oscar worthy. My only problem with the film was that we didn’t see a horse for 40 minutes! That’s right, 40 minutes! The bulk of the movie was spent watching Riley train and compete in dance competitions. I give Healed by Grace 1 ½ Golden Horseshoes.
Sadly, Gerard, owned by Ronda Hanning, passed shortly after filming the movie. The movie was dedicated to him.
Watch the trailer:
Finally, we reach Second Chances (1998), “A story of understanding, giving, and love… everyone needs a second chance.”
OK, so with this one we’re starting out strong with… drumroll…
A washed out trainer, a broken down untameable horse AND a little girl with a big dream!
Not to mention the Mean Girls style gang that looks down their snooty noses at said little girl and untameable horse.
And it’s about barrel racing, which you’d think would get more screentime but really isn’t a sport you see much in horse movies.
Second Chances is far and away the best movie of the three on this disc. It has all the essential cliche elements and the little lead actress, Kelsey Mulrooney, is actually quite adorable. Her act of “sacrifice” at the end of the movie just makes you want to go awwwwwww! There are also a few surprises in the film like the dude from TV classic The Nanny and the lady from Pure
I give Second Chances 2 Golden Horseshoes.
Watch the trailer:
Overall, the $1 rental price was probably fair trade just for Second Chances alone, but the other two movies at least gave me background noise while I was doing house chores. Then again… I could have spent my $1 on those 2-for-1 Nestle Crunch bars…
I’ll let you be the judge.
About the Author
Amanda’s experience with horses is just as eclectic as her taste in movies. She has dabbled in almost every discipline from eventing to team penning to fox hunting. She started riding when she was 8 with her local 4-H club in Western performance events. She moved on to the AQHA circuit with her Quarter Horse, “Aggie,” when she was 12 and he was a green 2 year old. Through college she held a working student position at Seahorse Sporthorses, owned by Terri Adams, where she was introduced to the wonderful world of show jumping and eventing. Along with Aggie, who just turned 20 years old, she has two OTTBs in her herd named “Gump” and “Lizard.” Amanda continues her jumping training with Ms. Adams and works on that necessary evil also known as dressage with Mimi Burch of Blue Moon Farm.