... we have a perfectly coherent, handsomely rendered couple of
hours, animated in particular by Damon's good performance — shrewd,
innocent, angry, wistful and, above all, likable.
Maybe this movie might have been more. But it could easily have been a lot less.
- Time Magazine critics on "All the Pretty Horses".
"It’s the kind of thing where there probably
won’t be a middle-ground reaction. I just have a
really visceral experience with it, and I imagine that other people will,
too — and that other people won’t.
You either get it or you won’t, and it’s
fine either way, but thanks for giving it a shot."
- Matt Damon, on ATPH.
Coolest Scene: Damon and Thomas break in a bunch of wild horses by themselves over the course of one day. It's all trained horses, editing, and for all I know, CGI, too, but it looks awful real. Nastiest Scene: Beaten until scabby and crusty in a grimy Mexican prison, Damon stabs this mean hombre who's been bumming him out. Cineast Factor: Director Billy Bob Thornton is definitely going for that decline-of-the-West tone from the films of Budd Boetticher and Sam Peckinpah. When to Go Get a Drink/Hit the Restroom/Answer That Page: The Damon/Cruz heavy-breathing scenes. The talented Cruz is given a lotta not much to do in this movie except look beautiful, and she comes off kind of stiff and English as a Second Language-y. Date Movie? Yep. It's got pretty people in love and pretty landscapes for them to love on. You Should Pay Nine Bucks to See This If: You like seeing former child stars firmly establish themselves as interesting and talented adult performers, which E.T.'s Thomas absolutely pulls off. Can't Wait for the DVD/Director's Cut: Tons of plot happens in the last half hour, upsetting a stately, leisurely pace, and making it apparent that Thornton had to slash his running time to appease the dark Miramax overlords.
6. “All the Pretty Horses” Billy Bob Thornton (director) and Ted Tally (writer) have adapted Cormac McCarthy’s 1994 novel into a classic Mex-Tex Western, and Matt Damon comes of age.
Buzzz ... wrong. Wonderful movie, and not just for scenery or Damon’s acting. The theme is honor in all its facets. The most significant criticism you make is that there is no sizzle between Damon and Cruz. First, the relationship is not at the heart of the movie — that would be a distortion of the story, at least as appearing in the book. Too much sizzle and the whole project gets sidetracked. Second, passion and true love are not the purposes of the relationship, but rather the process of discovery, growth, first relationship. The whole thing rang true for me. Yes, some emotional distance, but that was purposeful. You’ve fallen prey to current movie cliché. — Grant Barber
article in the New York Times: nothing really new - but any
article which appears in the NY Times can't be all bad.
ATPH apparently had a test screening somewhere, and a mixed review by someone in the audience was posted on tbe darkhorizons.com site. 5/29/99
Matt fan Val visited the filming of "Pretty Horses" on location in Mexico and brought back photos of some of the sets/sites. Click here to see.
Yet another article from the San Antonio Express News via Felicity:
Billy Bob's thoughts
'Pretty Horses' director talks about sex, violence, S.A.
By Jeanne Jakle
Express-News Staff Writer
Friday, Apr 16,1999
Before leaving San Antonio after four weeks of filming "All the Pretty Horses" here movie actor and director Billy Bob Thornton made his feelings known about sex.
Movie sex, that is.
Asked about one of the most talked-about scenes that was shot at a private Hill Country ranch - a romantic skinny-dipping segment involving Matt Damon and his female co-star, Penelope Cruz - Thornton said it'll probably "turn up being a kissing scene."
"I'm not big on graphic sexual scenes in movies. It doesn't do anyone any good. That's when I'd get up and get popcorn," he said Thursday evening after wrapping up his last day of shooting in a warehouse in downtown San Antonio.
The "Sling Blade" director/writer added he just never got into watching "other people having sex."
It makes him uncomfortable, he explained, "and people it doesn't make feel uncomfortable, well, I don't want them going to see my movie."
As for violence in the film, he did say there were one or two scenes in "Pretty Horses" that could be called violent, but he doesn't believe in gratuitous violence.
>hat is hardest to take in the movie, which was adapted from the 1992 National Book Award-winning novel by El Paso author Cormac McCarthy, is its "emotionally intense, heart-rending story." He said the main character, played by Damon, a young Texas rancher named John Grady Cole, learns "a lot of difficult things. He has to learn to live in the present; he realizes you can't hang on to the past. The movie's about leaving home; it's about life, about death, the things we all fear."
The movie was adapted from the novel by Oscar-winning screenwriter Ted Tally of "Silence of the Lambs" fame.
It's set in 1949. John Grady's mother sells the ranch where he grew up and he's forced to leave the only life he has ever known. The young hero and his pal, Lacey Rawlins, played by Henry Thomas ("E.T."), set off for the still-untamed lands of Mexico and eventually arrive at a hacienda where they're hired as cowboys, breaking wild horses.
There, he falls into an ill-fated romance with the beautiful daughter of a wealthy ranch owner, which leads to jail, a killing in self-defense and John Grady's greatest test of maturity.
After producer Mike Nichols bought the rights to the book, he approached Thornton to direct when the two were working on the political film, "Primary Colors," according to Thornton.
As for the movie's cast, Thornton said he was glad to get Damon and added that he also fought hard to get the relatively little-known international actress Cruz for the female lead. Cruz's credits include Pedro Almodovar's "Live Flesh."
"I met with her and saw her do two of the scenes, and that was all I needed," he said.
Musician and actor Ruben Blades plays her father, he said, and Bruce Dern, who plays the judge, will shoot his scenes at the next locale, Santa Fe, N.M.
"I like Santa Fe, but I'm sorry to leave here," he said of San Antonio and the surrounding Hill Country, which stands in for Mexico in "Pretty Horses."
"I wish we were going to be here longer," he added, explaining San Antonio had "a lot of good people who were really helpful."
"The land looked great, the locations fit like a puzzle" and the weather cooperated, he added.
As for the audience he's shooting for with "Pretty Horses," Thornton couldn't resist having fun with his first answer: "We're aiming it at people who are between 74 and 79."
Seriously, he believes the film's appeal should be wide: "It's not like a teen movie. The subject is an adult one, but it's about younger people. Actually, I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't relate to this movie." 4/14/99
There is a major story by Harry Knowles (that's him to the right of Matty in the photo above) of The Ain't It Cool News. He talks about his on-location-visit to the filming of "All the Pretty Horses" in San Antonio. Apparently the scene he witnessed is one after the main characters have been released from prison. You may notice that there is a big gash on Matt's face in the photo. If you have read the book, you know where that gash comes from.
You may not like that look of Matt, but, believe me, it could have been worse. I am actually relieved.
ATPG Seeking Cast and Crew!
From the Texas Film Commission page:
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES Feature; Pretty Horses Inc. Productions begins in March in the San Antonio area. Crew positions will be paid. Casting: Headshots and resumes should be mailed to the production office marked, "ATTN.: CASTING." Production office address: Pretty Horses, Inc. 100 North Main, #803 San Antonio, TX 78205
1/22/99 This from Felicity:
Here's a quote from Billy Bob Thornton in the Houston Chronicle (first real thing of 'substance' he's said on All The Pretty Horses so far):
1/22/99: According to today's issue of Entertainment Weekly, "All the Pretty Horses" is in the lineup for a November release. November is the most desirable month for the opening of a prestigious film - summer is for commercial blockbusters. However, this all depends on whether the film gets made in time.
1/21/99: In an article on Billy Bob Thornton, the following is said:
"Leo was never set to do the movie. I did meet with him, but before I did, I told the studio and Leo's people that we weren't about to pay any actor $20-million for a movie I was directing."
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES Feature; Pretty Horses Inc. Productions begins in March in the San Antonio area. Crew positions will be paid. Casting: There is no call for casting at this time. Production office address: Temporarily off the hotline. More information at a later date.
Val wrote on planetdamon
...Hutchison, dirctor of the New Mexico Film Office, says that work days on movies filmed in NM has increased over last year's figures. This is due to the fact that NM crews are becoming better known and better respected by the industry, projects are staying longer and projects select NM because of specific needs. The film commission is currently working with 15 films that may shoot here, but two high profile Hollywood movies that are likely candidates currently appear to be headed toward sharing film locations in NM and Texas . . . Cormac McCarthy's acclaimed ATPH--for which director Billy Bob Thornton just signed Henry Thomas as Matt Damon's sidekick--will film in West Texas and Southern NM. Damon and Thomas plan to research their roles prior to a March 1999 production start. A Columbia TriStar spokeswoman did say that locations have not been finalized. Hutchison says, "location crews were here this summer looking at various sites. The story of ATPH requires landscape identical to that of the border between Texas and NMand NM and Mexico which leaves the exact site wide open."
Who will play Matt's side kick?
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