on 14 February 2008
Who could ever find the thought of buying an old secondhand Lion funny? Or two grumpy old men with guns? If you have a good story, then you can usually make a good movie. This movie can make you cry.It will make you laugh. It will touch your heart. It will fill you with rage towards the villains. It will also fill you with joy. I have watched this film with kids, and grown ups. We all, without exception have enjoyed this movie. No one has been bored, everyone has had a comment to make afterwards. A few have shed tears. The story is a feel good tale with delightful twists and turns and some wonderful characters. Duvall and Caine are really very good and exceptionally well cast. My world would be a sadder place without this movie.It is a delight and a favourite.
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.
on 5 January 2004
This has everything you could possibly look for in a film. It's hillarious, it has great action, great story and brilliant acting, and without the explicit stuff that can occasionally creep in with those.
I saw the trailer for this and I must say I wasn't too excited, because from the trailer the film seems to just be about a boy who goes to stay with a couple of old men on a farm, then the boy (Walter) starts liking them. And this is fine for people who like that sort of thing but this film, but for those who want more, it's there and most trailers don't do it justice.
They say old people still have their memories, and this film certainly shows that using brilliant Indiana Jones-like action/comedy flashbacks.
But it still has the charm that a film set on a farm should have because the story is brilliant.
It is set primarily on a farm in Texas where two old men live. Apparently they have loads of money and Walter's mother wants him to try and find it. From the start you can tell she is quite selfish. Walter pretty much has to fend for himself and the curious, adventurous yet timid boy is excellently pulled off by Haley Joel Osment. Quite a few people go to the house but the two old men are simply no to be hassled, shooting most people who try to enter, and Michael Caine and Robert Duvall work extremely well together.
All three main characters change a lot during the film, either becoming more open, braver, or more caring.
The music and camera work was also very good, using many different styles of camera for different moods, and quick bursts of action music when needed. Also, none of the cheesy comedy music that sometimes spoils a joke and stops you from laughing.
One of the best films I have seen. 100%
on 6 September 2010
By his own admission, Michael Caine has made many bad films, although none, he says, that didn't pay well.
Rest assured, however, that "Secondhand Lions" does NOT fall into that category - it is a hidden gem, with both Caine and Robert Duval in top form as two crazy great uncles, ably supported by Haley Joel Osment as their great nephew who is abandoned into their care one summer and slowly learns the truth about the two grumpy old men's adventures in their younger days.
Not to be missed by any Michael Caine or Bob Duval fans !
on 8 January 2013
A very charming film: Young Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is sent to live with two elderly, eccentric uncles, Garth (Michael Caine - not my favourite actor but good in this) and Hub (Robert Duval - very good) by his trailer-trash mother, Mae (really excellently portrayed by Kyra Sedgwick) so that she can go and enjoy herself. She has a hidden agenda; the two uncles are allegedly millionaires and sleazy Mae (and her equally appalling boyfriend) want to get their hands on some of the loot and she wants Walter to find out where it's stashed.
But that's the framework of the plot; in-between times, the uncles have their own dynamic way of dealing with annoying travelling salesmen, seedy relatives and obstreperous young tearaways. And then there's very clever flashbacks of their exciting lives during and after the First World War in the Middle East which involves the sinister Sheikh (a suitably sneering Adam Ozturk) plus Princess Jasmine (glamorous Emmanuelle Vaugier) - and Jasmine just happens to be the name bestowed on the secondhand lion.
And there's lots of dogs, lots of laughs and lots of homespun philosophy - a well-acted, thoroughly enjoyable film for just about everybody.
on 17 February 2004
Where do I start, when I first heard about this film I wasn't convinced about seeing it, but I thought because of the big name stars in the film, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and Haley Joel Osment I thought it must be worth a look. Lets just say this I am so glad I choose to see it, it is without question one of the greatest films I have ever seen. It has comedy, great stories and something for everyone to relate to especially the father-son role.
Yet again a fantastic and convincing performance by 14 year old Haley who gets better and better, I know when some of you watch this you will notice the voice thing while that was part of the movie, how a boy goes to stay with his uncles for the summer and is taught how to be a good man. Some of the high pitch squeaking was deliberate as to enhance the true growing up of young men.
The realtionship between Michael Caine and Robert Duvall was brilliant they havent worked together for 30 years yet they respect each other as brothers on and off screen and have a very strong personal relationship anyway.
whilst filimg this all the main stars paid tribute to each other especially Michael and Robert to Haley but you could see from the film that there was so much respect and fondness between the cast it was fantastic to see.
This truly is one of the greatest family films of all time and really makes you laugh and feel good. This could cheer up even the saddest of people with serious issues i think, it teaches you to believe in what you want to believe whether it is true or not.
Watched this film on terrestrial tv (I hate it when they don't advertise these films!!) the other day and didn't have a clue what it was about but was interested to see Duvall and Caine together.
Haley Joel Osmont in all fairness had a tough task to capture screen time from the legends he is working with but he comes across very well as the shy boy first in fear, then in awe of his ageing Uncles. Caine and Duvall are exceptional as always as the weary brothers who get stuck with this kid, who shows them how to live again.
The cutscenes showing their past and experiences are shown with the grandeur that a boy would imagine. This is very well done because as you are watching it you are not sure if the stories are true, but never the less are captured by them. When Duvall's character explains that it doesn't matter if something is true so long as you believe in it hard enough is quite the poignant moment.
The ending left me with a smile too, and I guarantee it will do the same to you
I watched "Secondhand Lions" fearing that like so many movies all the best parts were already in the trailer and this 2003 film would be a disappointment. Instead, I was happy to see that writer-director Tim McCanlies's film exceeded expectations. The story begins with a man named Walter (Josh Lucas) getting a phone call from a sheriff about his uncles. It sounds like bad news but before we can find out we have dissolved into the past where Walter is now a 12-year-old boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is being dumped by his flighty mother (Kyra Sedgwick) on two uncles he never knew he had.
They are actually his great-uncles, Garth (Michael Caine) and Hub (Robert Duvall), and while his mother insists that he has to do this because she is going off to court reporting school she keeps talking about the fact that these two old guys have got a lot of money buried someplace on the farm and either he can find out where it is or become so beloved by them that they will remember him in their will. There is another set of relatives who come for the weekend in their Sunday go to meeting clothes and they are not happy to see any competition. As for Garth and Hub, they like to sit on the front porch and shoot their shotguns at the salesman that come along and there are a lot of those, because it seems everybody knows that the two old coots have a lot of money and their own theory about how they got their hands on it in the first place.
There are no surprises here in that we know the young boy and the two old men are going to change each other. When one salesman actually has the nerve to come back and face those shotguns a second time it is Walter who suggests maybe they should find out what the guy is selling. That marks the beginning of a lot of changes as Garth and Hub start to buy a lot of things from seeds (mostly corn apparently) to a giraffe and, as the title indicates, a used lion. Actually a used lioness, who becomes the pet that Walter never had ("Secondhand Giraffe" does not have the same sense of flair apparently).
Most of the best parts of this film have Garth and Hub engaging in their eccentricities. They like to use their shotguns to fish and when a bunch of young hotheads try to pick a fight Hub at least is more than willing to show them the error of their ways (he also gives them another chance after showing them the correct way to use a knife). For his part Garth spends time now and then telling Walter the story behind Hub's habit of sleepwalking in the middle of the night. The story has to do with the young Garth (Kevin Haberer) and Hub (Christian Kane, a familiar face from the televison's "Angel"), who ended up in the French Foreign Legion and had some rather unbelievable adventures with a beautiful woman named Jasmine (Emmanuelle Vaugier) and a dastardly Sheik (Adam Ozturk).
The story might be unbelievable, but Walter has been getting bits and pieces of Hub's special speech that he always gives to young men. Walter is not old enough to get the whole speech yet, but the key part is apparently that being able to believe in something is important, even if what you believe in is not true. Of course the climax of this film involves young Walter coming to understand this great truth. This helps the message of this coming of age film work for youngsters watching the film who have neither a secondhand lion nor a pair of eccentric uncles in their lives.
While getting used to Haley Joel Osment's deeper voice is going to prove difficult for some people, the chief joy here is watching Duvall act just a bit nut and Caine lay on the American accent. Duvall is the most eccentric of the pair but Caine has this nice ability to manipulate his brother while still seeming to play the second fiddle. There is a rather neat payoff to what happens to Walter when he grows up as a result of this rather unique childhood but the film really does not have time to let us enjoy that at the end of the film. It will, however, compel you to watch the credits for a few additional tidbits.
Sometimes you have to give a film credit just for trying. “Secondhand Lions” comes across as a tad mushy, always searching for a tear-jerking moment, but it never goes over the edge. Haley Joel Osmont plays a pre-teen dumped by his flighty Mother at the Texan ranch of her two eccentric uncles (Michael Caine and Robert Duvall). Caine and Duvall excel in humorous odd behavior and compliment each other’s characters (Caine is the sensitive one and Duvall is the macho brother). Haley Joel Osment overacts a bit as the naïve castaway, but his heart is intact. Besides hunting fish with shotguns, violently chasing away traveling salesmen and buying an old lion just to shoot it when it arrives, the two uncles start to grow fond of their ‘nephew’. What follows is a summer of tall tales, oddball relatives, a gang of teenage bullies and a large cache of money that is rumored to exist on the property. The stories Caine tells Osment about their past are lively, humorous and vividly reproduced in scenes edited throughout the film. It seems the two brothers were shanghaied to Morocco during World War II. The biggest secret regards the cache of money that all the greedy relatives want to get their hands on.
The direction and sound is superb and the acting is believable if you can get past Caine’s inability to sound like a Texan. Director Tim McCanlies directorial debut keeps the story going and the end result is a nice surprise. It seems life can be fair after all. This makes for a good family film, especially for younger boys, but it’s nice to have a movie that exudes a wholesome atmosphere akin to a Mark Twain story. It may be another ‘coming of age’ story, but the cast and director make sure you are never bored.
Lots of extras are here, including the Director’s commentary (there’s some interested anecdotes), an ‘On The Set’ mini-documentary and another documentary on actor Haley Joel Osment, which is fairly amazing considering his age.
on 7 October 2010
What a wonderful and surprising little gem of a film! It is delightful in the way it gently sucks you in to the life of a young teenager, sent to stay with what at first seem strange and austere elderly uncles - who slowly reveal outrageously adventurous earlier lives. What a great film, that will appeal to ages!