This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that has something for almostevery one. Two beautiful women, lots of beautiful horses and somereally good acting. Add in the conflict between rich & poor or good andevil and it's all there.
The fact that it's set in Ontario, my home, is a big bonus. I get sotired of movies made in Canada pretending to be some where in the US.
The fact that it was obviously shot in early Fall when the leaves arechanging makes every outdoor scene a feast for the eyes and consideringthis is mainly an outdoor story that says a lot.
I went into this not knowing what to expect because I didn't look upthe movie before seeing it. I watched it due to the strange name and itfinished with me wanting more.
I don't know what to say about this movie. The first hour and tenminutes were REALLY slow and boring. Twenty minutes in I kept askingmyself, "am I going to watch this thing?"
Then right at the 1:10 marker when Pauly said to Dean "don't askquestions Dean" it turned around, and became a good warm heartedcomedy.
From there on, it was pretty good. If the whole movie was like that I'drate it way higher. But watching a snooze fest for an hour and tenminutes isn't redeemed by 15 minutes of a good ending.
So, in the end, it wasn't even average, it was boring, then prettygood. I think a rating of 5 stars is generous.
This collection of competing clich?s, pure stupidity and the bizarrelyfrequent use of "the F word" is quite unintentionally amusing. WriterBrad Smith and director Leonard Farlinger misfire with virtuallyeverything they try to do in this film. However, they flounder andfumble so blatantly and hopelessly that you can have a decent laugh attheir expense.
The movie begins with Ray Dokes (Luther Kirby) getting out of prison.The problems with the movie begin at the exact same moment because itappears that Ray is actually being released from high school detention.Add in the fact that Ray looks like one the murderers from In ColdBlood who's been time transported to the present day and that thecharacter's emotional range stretches from glum to disappointed toapathetic and you can tell right away this film is going to stink onice. Ray is picked up by an old friend of his father's, Pete Culpepper(Keith Carradine), a saccharinely stoic farmer who's constantlyclaiming to be poor, yet still has the financial wherewithal to havehis own race horse. Pete even has his own foul mouthed hard ass of ajockey, Chrissie Nugent (Rachael Leigh Cook). Ray and Chrissie almostinstantly start screwing each other, even though Ray still pines ofEtta Parr (Lisa Ray), his old girlfriend before he went to prison. Ettais also losing her farm and considering that neither she nor Pete everappear to do any farm work, it's not surprising they're in the sameboat.
Our villain is the lazy, idiotically scheming Sonny Stanton (NoamJenkins), who wants to buy Pete and Etta's land for a housingdevelopment and also hatches several different nefarious plansinvolving his wealthy father's race horses. I'm not going to go intoany more detail on the plot of this thing because trying to make senseof it gives me a headache. This story is more poorly constructed than aLincoln Log cabin assembled by a team of feral cats that have had alltheir legs amputated. Nothing that happens in this film makes a lick ofsense.
But it's not only that All Hat is a terrible tale. It's also very badlytold. Let me give you just one example. One of the most rudimentarytechniques in storytelling is to build up the villain as a real,credible threat to your hero. The stronger and more imposing the badguy, the greater the challenge posed to the good guy. It heightens thedrama in the hero's struggle and makes his victory all the moresatisfying. That is as basic as you can get for telling a good story.But these filmmakers not only ignore such fundamental principles, theygo out of their way to do the exact opposite. Almost every minute SonnyStanton is on screen, he's insulted, defied, undermined or humiliatedby practically every other character. Even the comic relief supportingroles stand up to Sonny and make him look like a fool. That makes Sonnyas menacing as a newborn lamb and sucks all the tension and excitementout of a movie that wasn't exactly going to be compelling in even thebest case scenario.
Now Rachael Leigh Cook is cute as the dickens and well, I was trying tothink of another positive element of All Hat but I got nothing'. So,unless you're psycho-sexually fixated on Miss Cook, you can only enjoythis film by making fun of it while you watch. I'd suggest you rentsomething else instead.
The plot summary on IMDb for this film is more aspiration thanactuality. it's overstated and the film doesn't really match thedescription. Although the film does have some humorous lines and somehorses, it is more of a drama than a comedy or western.
The acting, filming, and sound are all fine. The film has nice sceniclocations and a solid cast of decent actors who seem to do their bestwith what they're given. Even the overall story had potential.
The major problem with this film is that the story elements aren'tpulled together as well as they could be. There are multiple on-goingstory lines but none really go too deep. And, information seems to bemissing. As such the film just felt very choppy; a bit of a story hereand a bit of a story there and by the end you get a larger, albeitincomplete, picture. Kind of like using high quality silk to make apoorly woven fabric with a bunch of frayed ends.
A classic tale of the little people vs the big 'uns. It is set in acommunity that could be anywhere in rural North America under threat ofsuburbanization, but happens to be Ontario. This could matter from abox office point of view since it is sufficiently recognizable toAmericans as to not need to be seen as a Canadian film.
The soulful, moody score from guitarist Bill Frisell helps carry thefilm forward as the down-on-their luck band of battlers try to fightthe rising tide as represented by the billionaire's dastardly son.Sonny Stanton is played so interestingly by Noam Jenkins that you endof sort of liking him anyway. My favorite scene focuses on him gettinginto deeper trouble losing tons of money at the track.
Lisa Ray and Rachael Leigh Cook fight for most delicious horse countrybabe. Ernie Hudson, Keith Carradine, David Alpay, and Joel Keller,among others, give character performances that provide a fun weft tothe scheming warp of counter-scam mastermind played by anunderstated-but-credible Luke Kirby.
Proof that Canadian film can be fun, I greatly enjoyed this film!