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Secondhand Lions [Import]

Haley Joel Osment , Michael Caine , Tim McCanlies    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)

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If you can get past its thick layer of syrup and molasses, Secondhand Lions reveals itself as a thoroughly decent family film that anyone can enjoy. It gets a little sappy sometimes, but there's something to be said for a movie in which Michael Caine and Robert Duvall play eccentric old brothers who take the easy approach to fishing: instead of a peaceful rod and reel, they use 12-gauge shotguns. When 14-year-old Walter (Haley Joel Osment, teetering on puberty) spends an eventful summer with his great-uncles on their vast Texas farmland (he's been dumped there by his delinquent mom, played by Kyra Sedgwick), he soon discovers they've lived lives full of adventure, excitement, passion, and mystery. Either that or they're old-time bank robbers with a long criminal record, and writer-director Tim McCanlies (who invested similar warmth into The Iron Giant) does a nice job of concealing the truth until the very end. Full of enriching lessons and homespun humor, Secondhand Lions has more substance than most family films. If you enjoyed Holes, you'll probably enjoy this movie, too. --Jeff Shannon

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They really lived Oct. 7 2006
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Walter (Haley Joe Osment) an introverted kid gets to stay with his two eccentric great-uncles, Garth (Michael Caine) and Hub (Robert Duvall.) While there He is told of their robust adventures and how they came to be there and rich. However everyone else tells a different story. He comes to understand them and some of life through several events. One of those events is befriending an over the hill lion which just may represent a couple of uncles.

It is not so much the bonding formula of the story as the way the tail of exotic places and heroic acts is intertwined with everyday life. I think of stories my own parents and grand parent told of such things as encounters with Poncho Via in Mexico where they sold him horses and were invited to leave.

It is not so much the stories as the goodness of man that was being portrayed, moving back and forth in time, with a few adjustments to history, made you feel that they were your great-uncles who could believe such tales. And yet...

If you find that this movie moved you then it is time to try two others that are similar. "Dust" (2001) with Joseph Fiennes and David Wenham. "Little Buddha" (1993) with Keanu Reeves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN? July 17 2004
It was sad for me to see adults pushing their kids in the long-winded queues for Spiderman2 and Pokemon at the local theatre, while this touching entertainer was tossed aside (relatively) to the sidelines.
There is no doubt that Secondhand Lions is a semi-manipulative film, it has its fair share of smarmy feel-good contrivances that betray its zeal to tug at our heart strings. But the quirky mirth of all its characters, the idiosynchratic plotline, and a healthy dose of moving, meaningful moments makes this a very wholesome experience.
Duvall and Caine, as two reclusive millionaire uncles drunk on guns and eccentricity, pitch in very well. Caine warms up to his part in the film first, but the screen is really owned by a very fit Duvall, who soon becomes the pivotal character in the film as the uncle that the kid (Hailey Osment) turns to for advice. Osment does remarkably well to hold his own against these two big tykes. A barnful of cute animals and a truckful of drooling relatives round up the doozy cast.
Some fantastic (literally) flashbacks form an interesting trope for the movie's core message: that in our lives having conviction in things we may doubt to be untrue is ultimately a critical virtue. This leads to a somewhat corny twist at the end but it's an interesting one to make the point. There's plenty of action and some amusing gags that even evoked loud guffaws in the theatre.
All in all, whether you have kids or not, but especially if you do, this deserves a recommendation of the highest order.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow (for sure) July 12 2004
I cannot understand why Amazon uses paid reviewers who are afraid to like the films they review and don't even bother to see many of them, as indicated by the errors of fact in the second quoted review. Make no mistake, folks, this is the real thing: a truly mesmerizing family film that is able to be humorous, scary, thrilling and inspiring - frequently all at the same time. How many years has it been since three generations of your family were able to repeatedly laugh and cheer loudly for a film? This is in the rare class of films that will go on and on, like Wizard of Oz, Shane, Dragonslayer, High Noon, Miracle on 34th Street, and a very few others, except that it is better than several of them. It is a film for all time and all ages. It is definitely not just a "kid's picture". Perhaps I am partial to "modern legends." I think we all are.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Family-Friendly Movie Jan. 20 2011
I loved this movie. It was hilarious and yet deeply moving at the same time--a great family story about a boy finding a place where he belongs and two old men finding something meaningful in their retirement. The uncle's story is provided in small chunks, as one uncle tells his nephew about their past. Parts of the video were hilarious and all of it was clean and very family-friendly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real family entertainment April 11 2004
When my husband first brought Secondhand Lions home, I looked at the title blankly. Never heard of it. But he defended it by saying if Robert Duvall and Michael Caine were in it, it must be worth a look.
Rarely does our nineteen year old son watch television with us. For some reason he decided to that night.
WOW! The three of us were laughing too hard to fully appreciate every funny scene and had to play back constantly. In one particular gem of a moment Robert Duvall is harrassed by a foursome of juvenile delinquents at a restaurant. And so he calmly sets out to help these young men understand what true manhood entails. We played that scene four times in a row just to get all the laughs!
The flashbacks of these two elderly brothers' lives is rigged for maximum hokem which adds to the charm and the earnest interest of their distantly related nephew dumped in their care sets the stage for a wonderful coming of age story.
Every single character reaches the high notes. When it threatens to teeter into treacle, just the right line brings it on home.
If you want to laugh and cry at the same time, if a high moral tone crossed with a savvy cut and thrust is of interest, and if you're as sick as we are at Hollywood's latest barnyard sex-o-rama scenarios, do yourself a big favor and get this little known treasure!
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