Hey guys. It’s your friendly neighborhood Dilemma here. Because The Academy saw fit to nominate so many seemingly terrible movies in major categories this year, I’ve got some catching up to do before the Oscars telecast. I know my responsibilities as a blogger, and it’s my obligation to have appropriate ammunition with which to judge and mock the Academy Awards. It’s how I do.
So I hope you’ll join me in my quest to catch up on all of 2011’s most celebrated, awful-looking films. We start with the one…the only…
WAR HORSE! Huh. Whoa whoa whoa yeah
What is he good for?
Absolutely nothing. Good God.
00:01 – Here we go. A young boy looks on in wonder as a horse lays on the ground. Is it WAR HORSE? Nope, it’s WAR HORSE’s mother, giving birth to WAR HORSE. A virgin horse birth, I’m sure. And fade to black. Is it over? That was merciful. Oh wait…
WAR HORSE and his mom are galloping together. The boy still looks on in wonder. At least I’m assuming it’s WAR HORSE. He doesn’t neigh like a goddamn horse of peace, I can tell you that. WAR HORSE and his mamma trot through bucolic fields of green. A far cry from the blood-filled trenches that WAR HORSE knows are in his future.
The boy has a look on his face like he has never seen a horse before. Or maybe just never a fucking WAR HORSE. He gives WAR HORSE an apple.
00:04 – And “Come on, boy” are the film’s first words (in human language; neighs don’t count). The odds of that had to be like 1:3.
WAR HORSE, even as a teenager, always seems at the ready, like he’s waiting for the Kaiser to make his first move.
00:06 – WAR HORSE just got sold like a fucking slave. And neither he nor the Holy Mare are happy about it. They have a sad goodbye, as horses are wont to do.
“He’s something else, that one.”
When Spielberg does the slow zoom in on someone’s face, that’s how you know that person is having what’s known as “a feeling.”
This English (or Irish, or wherever we are) village looks like it was created based on watching cartoons based on Dickens novels. The village in “The Quiet Man” seemed more genuine.
There is debating about the auction price for WAR HORSE. 30 guineas. That’s a made up currency, right?
Anyway, we are over eight minutes into this movie and WAR HORSE has yet to fire one bullet. I call shenanigans.
“Quite a beast there. What’s he gonna do working in a farm?” They call that foreshadowing in the biz, kids.
Emily Watson is apparently married to the grumpy drunk dude who bought WAR HORSE. Oh and the wonderstruck kid is that guy’s son, and he’s so happy that WAR HORSE has come home. Emily Watson…like all ladiez, you know what I’m saying…is a fucking raincloud on the parade. She wants them to take WAR HORSE back because they can’t afford 30 guineas. Dumb ladiez don’t know made-up currency when they see it. No financial sense in women, I tell you.
A conversation that actually happens:
“You have 30 days to break him or I’m bringing him back myself.” — Emily Watson
“Don’t worry, mum. I’ll raise him meself. I’ll raise him real good.” — Wonderstruck kid
WAR HORSE himself is silent on the subject.
(I should also note that the “kid” at this point is not really a kid anymore.)
13 minutes in and no war.
“I’m gonna call you Joey.”
“FUCK YOU JUNIOR MY NAME IS WAR HORSE THE CONQUEROR AND YOU WILL KNEEL WHEN THOSE WORDS CROSS YOUR PATHETIC LIPS”
ha ha ha a cute goose is following the drunk father around. Ha ha ha ha silly goose. Still got it, Spielberg!
Emily Watson watches her son with WAR HORSE and has a look that either says, “Aw, my boy really is bonding with that horse,” or “I’m concerned my boy is going to violate that horse in the dead of night.”
Seriously, you should see the shame on WAR HORSE’s face everytime this little punk calls him “Joey.”
“Come now, Joey. (whistle). You can come now, Joey.”
WAR HORSE: deadpan stare. CLASSIC WAR HORSE.
omg WAR HORSE learned how to go to the kid when called. Omg omg omg. It’s all happening.
The drunk dad and Emily Watson are super impressed. For his part, WAR HORSE is nonplussed.
A Dickensian banker wants to foreclose the farm. This has to do with war….how, exactly? Fuck. I ask, they answer. The banker: “I can’t wait for the money, there’s a war comin’.” More foreshadowing, as they say in Hollyweird.
The banker looks unsettlingly like Ed Rooney, btdubs.
If the banker is Scrooge, the farmer is Cratchit, the kid is Tiny Tim in this Dickensian nightmare….what does that make WAR HORSE? The Ghost of Christmas Awesome, I suppose. I cannot wait until WAR HORSE holds a loaded Magnum to this banker’s dome and neighs, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” You know it’s coming.
Drunk farmer wants to shoot WAR HORSE because of drunk. The kid/horsefucker stands between the barrel of the gun and WAR HORSE. Dumb kid. WAR HORSE doesn’t need your interference. He dodges shotgun shells as a light warmup drill. He’d have that farmer de-armed and be drinking his milk from his hollowed-out skull before anyone knew what happened. It’s like nobody even realizes that this is a WAR HORSE. Even though he’s so clearly designed to be a killing machine.
23 minutes in and we’re still concerning ourselves with shit like whether WAR HORSE will wear a saddle and what that wacky goose is up to. WHERE ARE THE DEAD KRAUTS I WAS PROMISED?
(Quick editorial note: at this point in the film, I would be shocked if it doesn’t end up being Spielberg’s worst movie.)
“Come on, boy, walk on, Joey. Come on!” – in baby talk voice no less. That is not how you talk to a WAR HORSE.
They are really making a big deal about whether WAR HORSE will be able to plow this field. Compelling stuff. In Act II: will Emily Watson finish sewing a blanket in time for winter?
It just occurred to me that they shoehorned this goose into the film for the inevitable sequel: WAR GOOSE. They can just re-purpose George Lucas’s Howard the Duck suit. Andy Serkis will be involved. Oh yes, he will be involved.
(image courtesy of Lisa Hanawalt at The Hairpin)
“Joey” learning how to plow is getting the full Spielberg treatment: swelling music, close-ups, townspeople gathering to ooh and aah like this is a close encounter of the WAR HORSE kind. What fucking treacle. If this is how plowing a field if directed, I can’t wait to see the melodrama when WAR HORSE actually goes to war.
Ha ha ha, the banker has a lackey who holds his umbrella for him. Of course! Of course he does. Every single beat in this movie has been played a thousand times before. At least until WAR HORSE starts a-shootin’!
This boy looks like he’s 22 and talks like he’s 9. And that’s discounting the fact that he moons over his horse like he’s a little girl who just read “Black Stallion” for the first time.
WAR HORSE is racing a car! WAR HORSE is racing a car! Oh the statement this makes about class in 20th-century Britain. It’s a new take on John Henry. It’s horse vs. car!
Ha ha ha ha it’s raining and that crazy goose just came inside the house. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Whatta goose!
Uh oh…rain ruined the harvest…and, oh Christ this first act is fucking killing me. I can’t pretend to care about the ups and downs of this family farm anymore.
“Well, I might hate you more. But I’ll never love you less” – Emily Watson. Uh, where’s that screenplay Oscar, guys?
Oh shit, yo! War’s starting! They’re gonna ring the bells in town and then never ring them again until war is over. F-f-f-f-f-foreshadowing.
Uh oh. Drunk father has enlisted WAR HORSE in the war without his kid’s permission. Who is that kid going to masturbate on now? The fucking goose?? What a nightmare.
“You can’t. He’s mine. I trained him. He’s my horse.” – something a mature teenager says to his father who just sold a horse to save the family homestead. Likeable kid. Real hero.
“I promise you man to man that I’ll look after him, as closely as you’ve done.” – something a military officer headed to war would definitely take the time to say.
Finally, 45 minutes in, WAR HORSE has gone the way of Elvis, Johnny Reb and Richard Harrow. He’s in the army now. Still no gunplay though.
“This isn’t the end. I solemnly swear we’ll be together again. Wherever you are I will find you and I will bring you home. “ – Normal, likable protagonist. Who is also stealing from Last of the Mohicans.
“Jesus, kid, fuck off. I got some Germans to kill.” – WAR HORSE
WAR HORSE actually tries to break free and run back to the kid. I guess he’s opposed to the draft.
Now some boring stuff where the officers figure out how awesome WAR HORSE is. We already know that Spielberg, we don’t need to watch more people find out. Can we get to the part where he shoots down the Red Baron?
In my imagined version of this film, WAR HORSE’s kill count is in triple figures by this point. And that’s just counting the ones he kills with his bare hooves. A true WAR HORSE only turns to firearms when absolutely necessary.
Maybe WAR HORSE is so broken up about being separated from his mother that he plans to secretly infiltrate the Germans to try to meet Freud?
I wish this movie used anachronistic music like A Knight’s Tale. There have been some slo-mo tracking shots that the Stones’ “Wild Horses” would be perfect for.
Finally! War! Only 58 minutes in! The Brits have attacked the camp of the Germans, and let’s just say this isn’t actually the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan.
The Germans kill lots of Brits with machine guns, including WAR HORSE’s rider. WAR HORSE, abandonment issues racing to the surface, does not want to be taken prisoner by the Germans. Until his new frend horse touches noses with him and then he calms down. That is a for real thing that actually happened in this movie.
The Germans speak English, even to each other. This movie is setting world records for plausibility. WAR HORSE is now a German WAR HORSE? WTF? A true WAR HORSE never gets taken alive.
Good. A cut back to the farm. This movie really needed a dose of adrenaline. Emily Watson working on some crops is just the ticket.
Now some German brothers are fighting about how to fold a shirt, but I think there may be some subtext. GOTCHA! Spielberg doesn’t do subtext, suckers.
Now the German brothers have gone AWOL from the German army because they are scared. And they brought WAR HORSE with them. WAR HORSE wasn’t scared, I can tell you that. He was thirsty for British blood after being turned. He was neighing something about eating a shepherd’s pie made of Limey bones and gristle. He’s Sgt. Brody WAR HORSE.
The boys are caught and gunned down as deserters, and this is really some fucking convoluted, episodic nonsense. MY GOD, WHO WILL RIDE WAR HORSE NOW?
Some boring little French girl now has WAR HORSE, and once again there is a lot of farming and very little WAR HORSE trampling screaming soldiers on the front lines while wearing a horsey grin.She is teaching WAR HORSE how to jump. Hmmm…I wonder if that is going to factor in later. Probably not.
Awww, the little girl is an orphan. JUST LIKE WAR HORSE. Hey, I wonder what that goose is up to. No good, I bet! Ha ha ha ha ha
This movie is basically an anthology about how boring European people were in the early 20th century.
Now the Brits have WAR HORSE back, at the 1:29 mark. Or maybe it’s the Germans again. Or the French. What the fuck difference does it make?
Oh Jesus Christ. WAR HORSE just volunteered to pull some heavy artillery shit so that his friend horse wouldn’t have to do it. For reals. WAR HORSE is definitely the second coming. He had a virgin birth and he’s such a fucking martyr.
(I hate this movie.)
It’s like Spielberg directed this film during breaks from Tintin, like while Andy Serkis had to change out of his Tintin suit to go to the bathroom.
Do you think Emily Watson and her son are doing OK on the farm? We haven’t seen them in a few minutes, and I’m worried.
Oh phew, the kid has enlisted now TO LOOK FOR HIS FUCKING HORSE. Which for all he knows is probably dead and if not, is somewhere in all of Europe. This movie was marketed as a feel-good story of heroism but it’s really a dark tale of obsession gone wrong. It’s like “Every Breath You Take.” Poor WAR HORSE.
Fighting. Fighting. War. War. That kid running around looking for WAR HORSE and just sort of being a pussy.
Here is the real fraud of WAR HORSE. He is not a fucking WAR HORSE. He is a horse who happened to get shipped to war. That is not as catchy of a movie title, but that’s what the real deal is. (Also: the acting in this movie is atrocious. Spielberg is not exactly known as an actor’s director.)
WAR HORSE – excuse me, “Joey” – is still trudging along, pulling heavy shit. His horsey friend’s leg hurts. Not usually a good sign for horses. Down he (she?) goes.
Shit. WAR HORSE’s mane has gotten long. It’s like he grew a playoff beard.
Finally, a showdown between WAR HORSE and a tank…which I’ve been waiting for the whole move…and WAR HORSE runs away like a little bitch?
WAR HORSE gets trapped and the tank follows him…because I’m sure that’s high on the orders list for World War I tanks….follow, torment and kill all horses. WAR HORSE jumps to safety. And keeps jumping over trenches. While bombs light the sky above him like fireworks. Because Spielberg.
WAR HORSE is really not the killing machine I had hoped to see. He’s more like a conscientious objector who sees through the hypocrisy of human conflicts.
Now WAR HORSE gets caught in barbed wire from running around like a psycho. Stupid fucking horse. Horse for brains.
There are scenes in this movie – like an entire British squadron calling out to WAR HORSE – that make me cringe just thinking about how they played in the London theatre.
This entire movie is like the “Earn it” coda of Private Ryan played out over 150 excruciating minutes.
Now a German and Brit are working together to free WAR HORSE because that is how wars work. Good, normal war.
WAR HORSE is really playing up this Christ thing, wearing the barbed wire like a crown of thorns.
WAR HORSE uniting the British and German in the trenches is the most implausible cinematic foreign relations gambit since Amazing Grace and Chuck.
And they just called him WAR HORSE out loud. Like, “That’s some horse alright…that’s a WAR HORSE.”
The farm kid is blind now because of mustard gas or whatever. SO CLOSE TO THE WAR HORSE REUNION HE’S DREAMED OF AND HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW IT.
Now some soldier wants the army doctor to stop tending to soldiers and tend to WAR HORSE. Another hero.
2:02 – They’re going to shoot WAR HORSE because of his hurt leg. And here comes the kid standing in front of the gun again? Nope, it’s his ridiculous horse call across the crowded camp, which of course WAR HORSE hears and runs to. You have got to be fucking kidding. He knows it’s WAR HORSE despite being blind. He just had a sense. I guess that happens to your true love.
How are there still 19 minutes left in this fucking movie? I’m hoping for an 18-minute closing credits.
War’s over. I guess those two soldiers who bonded over freeing WAR HORSE from the barbed wire spread the word, and that led directly to peace. Bells are a-ringing. Lot of action this last hour or so….but what’s that goose up to, do you think?
Happy ending, the kid and WAR HORSE return to Emily Watson and the goose at sunset and god save the king, blah blah blah. They probably both have PTSD something awful though.
I feel so broken, and I haven’t even watched The Help or Extremely Loud yet. February just got real.