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With: Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Lucas Black, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Ruben Blades
Written by: Ted Tally, based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy
Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and some sexuality
Running Time: 116
Date: 12/25/2000

All the Pretty Horses (2000)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Lazy 'Horse'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

People who don't like westerns will probably love All the Pretty Horses. But I like westerns and I thought it was a major yawner. As directed by Billy Bob Thornton, the movie is awfully pretty to look at, with its lovely horses and sweeping landscapes. Unfortunately, Matt Damon is also pretty, and he doesn't quite fit in, not even with his lovely, lovely co-star Penelope Cruz. Supposedly he's been raised on a ranch and he still has perfect, pearly-white teeth. The acting is all well-done, though. Damon plays a rancher who loses his land and, with his friend Henry Thomas, rides off to look for work. They end up on a horse ranch in Mexico run by Ruben Blades. Unfortunately, Damon falls for the rancher's daughter (Cruz). But the deeds of a teenage kid (Lucas Black) they rode with come back to haunt them and they're thrown in jail.

My favorite westerns had some kind of point, revenge, honor, history, etc. The characters in this one wander around, settle down, fall in love (much to the chagrin of doting fathers), and... that's about it. All the Pretty Horses is all so bland and empty I can't see why anyone bothered. Oscar-winning screenwriter Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs) adapted the popular book by Cormac McCarthy.

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