Thursday, March 27, 2014

50 to 1

For God, All Things Are Possible
By Jan McClure

Movie Review of
50 to 1
Director: Jim Wilson
Cast: Skeet Ulrich, William Devane, Christian Kane

I live in New Mexico where a lot of this movie was filmed, and so I enjoyed seeing familiar places.  The movie is a true story, and even though I knew the outcome of the race, it still kept my attention.  It’s a classic story of the underdogs winning, with some interesting twists.  I left feeling good. Overall, this is an enjoyable movie.

The movie begins 10 years earlier at a bar brawl, which is how horse trainer Bernie Wooley (played by Skeet Ulrich) and horse owner Mark Allen (played by Christian Kane) met.  Because Bernie defended Mark, an unbreakable bond was formed even though they didn’t see each other for another 10 years. 

Bernie, the horse trainer, is down on his luck and about to lose everything he has worked for.  When he learns that Mark is a horse owner, he seeks him out, hoping to secure a job with him.  Mark remembers how Bernie defended him and entrusts him with the job of scouting a two-year-old horse that someone had call him about.

At first, Bernie tells Mark that the horse, Mine That Bird, isn’t good because he is small and runs crooked.  However, once Bernie sees him on the racetrack, he changes his mind.  This is how an unknown trainer and an unknown horse become inseparable, and the training begins.

However, Bernie and the horse are not very successful.  The veterinarian and Mark’s business partner, Leonard Black (played by William Devane) is not impressed with Bernie and allows him just one more chance. 

The film then follows their journey to the Kentucky Derby.  There are many trials and struggles along the way, as well as the development and deepening of relationships. The team becomes known as "the cowboys," and they are mocked and judged for their cowboy hats and ways.

This reminded me of when I first moved to New Mexico from California.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but I too thought that some of the ways of this area were very backwards and that folks needed more culture.  After living here almost 30 years, I know my first impressions were very wrong.  This area has strong values of faith, family and appreciating their heritage.  In fact, when I first came here, I was impressed with how business meetings and events would often start with prayer.

(An interesting side note: The pastor of my parish had prayed with one of the true-life members of the horse team before they had headed for Kentucky.)

In this movie, the differences in the values and actions between the cowboys and the social climbers are clear. And although God is only mentioned a little, in my opinion, faith played a significant role in the true, original story. 

No one thought the cowboys would have a chance at winning.  The odds were 50 to 1 and their ways were not orthodox. “But for God all things are possible”  (Matthew 19:26).

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (and we hope you will post a comment below!):
  1. When have you been told that something was impossible, yet the outcome showed differently?
  2. What groups do we still have prejudice towards?  What does our faith call us to do about it?
  3. Why is it good to pray before important events? Is it for good luck or something of higher importance?


Anonymous said...

Very nice article! I like that you have the three questions at the bottom to encourage discussion with biblical principles in mind! ♥

Good News Ministries said...

Thanks for the feedback! All of our movie reviews have questions that can be used in family discussions, youth groups, etc.

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