The true story of history grabs me tighter than fiction can. In the last couple years, I've gone on non-fiction crazes after reading Undaunted Courage, Patriots, and Seabiscuit. The historical fact keeps my cynical eye away and I become fascinated with how the events really took place. What did Meriwether Lewis write in his journal while spending time at Fort Clatsop? Why did Benedict Arnold betray his country? How could a horse become the country's biggest media hope in 1938?
I loved Laura Hillenbrand's book. I am a casual horse racing fan, but her research and storytelling are top notch and hooked me immediately. For the first part of this year, you couldn't escape the news that Seabiscuit the book was now Seabiscuit the movie.
Stace and I saw Seabiscuit the other night and really enjoyed it. The cast is great. I've always liked Chris Cooper and he is perfectly cast as Tom Smith, the quiet horse trainer. Screenplays are almost always below the level of the original book, but the writers preserved the spirit of Hillenbrand's work here. Seabiscuit and the three men responsible for him comeback from their own personal failures and triumph together. They have been down and out and cast off, but they keep plugging away. A country in a deep depression identified with the story of determination. In 1938, a horse showed that success from any past and background was possible.
The plotline is pure cliche Hollywood and that might turn you off. Seabiscuit is a true story about the little guy winning out and making it against all odds. I turned it around in my head and thought about that. Maybe Hollywood borrowed something from Seabiscuit.