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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
We did not order a blu-ray version. The DVD was delivered a month later than the stated delivery date. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great movie!! Amazon delivery was a little late. But worth the waitPublished 2 months ago by Walter Bakema
won't play in blu-ray as it says it will. may look into returning if we don't get it going soon.Published 3 months ago by Janice McFadden
I didn't realize how long shipping would take; however, the item is in excellent condition and I'm pleased with the purchase. Thank you.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
One of those rare movies that doesn't receive the praise it deserves
That's because there is no swearing or violence
Blu-ray will not play on my Blu-ray player. When we try to play the movie we get a screen that says "this disc cannot be played because the player setup specifies a different... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer