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Fresh Horses
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Fresh Horses More at IMDbPro »

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Vastly Underrated and Under-Mentioned Flick

8/10
Author: randal_helm from United States
13 February 2005

I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out. I was in love with Ringwald at the time as she was(and is still if the laws of physics still apply) about 5 years older than me. I really liked it then, and have been trying to get this on DVD for years.

I was afraid that the film wouldn't be as good as I remembered, and it wasn't in the WAY that I remembered, but it was BETTER in ways that I didn't have the experience or maturity to appreciate at the time.

While aspects of the film are dated, namely the syrupy, St. Elmo's Fire-ish theme song in the opening/closing credits, it held up surprisingly well. The only thing that keeps me from giving this higher marks is the unfortunate 80's gloss that works so well for the John Hughes films, but keeps this one from transcending the rat-pack genre.

If this film were made today, it would never be filmed or sold as a "box-office" film, but would rather go through Sundance, IFC, etc., and the style would be more raw, more gritty. By and large though, that just didn't happen with "Teen Stars" in the 80's, and I'm amazed they got this film made at all! Also, for the people who don't seem to get the "Fresh Horses" reference, my take on it is not definitive, but there is a line where Ben Stiller is talking to Matt (McCarthy) and says something to the effect of letting a tired horse go, and getting a "fresh horse" in reference to dropping Jewel.

It seemed to me that the metaphor was that while the characters all cared about each other, each relationship("horse") had more selfish/cynical motivations behind them. In effect, the relationships were being used to move themselves from one-point to another towards their goals/desires, whether or not they themselves understood or acknowledged them.

Ringwald uses McCarthy to get out of her marriage, McCarthy uses Ringwald to get out of his engagement, Stiller seems to use his friendship with McCarthy to avoid growing up and getting serious, McCarthy seems to be trying to fulfill an image of himself as a white-knight, though he finds that he doesn't have the character, he also seems to need the superiority he feels over Jewel due to her lack of education and so on....

Unfortunately for most(it seems!), the movie required you to do a little thinking, and probably drew the wrong crowd due to its co-stars, who were maybe expecting Pretty in Pink II, or Pretty In Pink "for adults", but I do not agree with that view of the movie.

If you haven't seen it, give it a shot. Just go in with a blank slate and take it as it comes....

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

McCarthy and Ringwald: an attempt at a serious story.

Author: celluloidcity from Sydney, Australia
27 January 2004



After watching this film I had some questions. What does the title refer to? There are horses in this film but are they fresh? Does it refer to the couple at all? And what does that have to do with the love story? Who comes up with these movie titles? And why?

Silly questions aside, Fresh Horses is a film with an adult story aimed at using the onscreen chemistry of Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald, (who were first paired as everyone knows in the excellent Pretty In Pink) in a serious love story. Ringwald is Jewel, a mysterious country girl, all pink lips and tousled curly hair. She meets Matt (McCarthy) a college upper middle class guy with a pretty stable and boring life. He's engaged to the perfect women, and has your typical annoying university friends. She has a past and a reputation, but he becomes smitten with her and attempts to change his life so they can be together.

As my Video and Movie Guide said, this film is just an adult version of Pretty In Pink. He's more classy than her, she knows who she is and he has to learn to be worthy of her, not the other way around. I don't know about that judgement. Yes, it is the same couple. Yes, the story is similiar, but with sexual themes. But the more I think about the ending, the scenery and the sets of this film the more its intelligence shines through. The film is about pushing you to change, propelling someone to see their life through other's eyes and making you believe in yourself.

As someone said in the messageboards, the settings are eerie, and the characterisations are spooky. Viggo Mortensen is great as Green. Ben Stiller, as Matt's friend is weirdly creepy. We never quite know what people's motvations are, and although the dialogue is terribly clunky in moments between the two leads, this is a film that knows it is not formulaic. For the plastic period the 80's, Fresh Horses sits nicely jagged in its themes and story. They should not be all be standard and set.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A follow up to my comment below

Author: mistermycroft
24 February 2004

I just wanted to add a few more thoughts to the comment that I left last year, which a few people have cited to. Again, I will say that this is by no means a great film. Much of what happens is, at least to me, unrealistic and unconvincing. Molly's speech in the cabin to McCarthy and his friends, about her childhood, is also somewhat laughable. But the movie has quite a few elements which make it worth watching. Many scenes are memorable. Ones that stick out in my mind are the pool party and the conversation afterwards, the scene where Ben Stiller talks to McCarthy about how difficult it is to make friends at their age, and the strange scenes where McCarthy goes to the house in the woods and meets Jewel and her female friend. I am still uncertain as to what exactly was going on out there, as to why these kids were hanging out at such a remote location. The film looks visually stunning and makes you want to visit these places. As for the title, I believe that at one point Stiller compares Molly to a worn out nag and says that McCarthy needs a "fresh horse" to ride, or something like that. I agree, the title makes little sense. But I recommend the movie.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Right and wrong, lies and truth, and love.

9/10
Author: dxndmom-1 from United States
5 December 2006

I have seen the words "ethereal" and "haunting" used in descriptions of this movie.....and I think they are dead on! I remember renting this movie just after it came out on VHS, and I totally fell in love with it, here it is, almost 19 years later and I STILL love it!

Andrew McCarthy's character is so real, you see men like him every day all across America, ready to get married for all the wrong reasons, or ones that seemed right to start with, then they wake up and see there's something more to their life around them. He's also the boy you always wanted to meet or date in high school or college. Molly Ringwald's character is.....just too painfully real. You hurt for her, with her, then you're angry at her and you want to know the truth, and you feel the love.

So many people hack this movie to death saying it's horrible.....but I don't think they've ever been in love so they wouldn't understand. OK yes, it's a bit hokey in spots, and somewhat hard to believe, but it WAS 1988 when it was made, the decade when "Greed is good", so you have to look at it from that perspective.

PLEASE, PLEASE watch it! Watch it with an open mind and an open heart, you won't be disappointed!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Molly Ringwald: camp Lolita or serious thespian?

4/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
14 March 2007

Molly Ringwald, softer and more contemplative than in her John Hughes/high school comedies, plays a shady girl from the wrong side of the tracks who meets and has an affair with preppy Cincinnati college kid Andrew McCarthy; the fact his rich friends disapprove and she has such a questionable background may prevent things from going further. Not a terrible movie, but filled with self-defeating clichés and occasionally overwrought dialogue. Ringwald struggles a bit with her redneck accent, and McCarthy does nothing to elevate his pinched, emotionally-parched persona, but the look of the film is quite vivid and the atmosphere is well-captured. Perhaps it was a good idea to re-team the teen lovers from "Pretty in Pink" in a more grown-up setting, but the filmmakers didn't go far enough with the idea, and the coy finale seems a little undernourished. ** from ****

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Shoot the Horse, It's Lame, Lame, Lame

2/10
Author: jimmylee-1 from Silicon Valley
2 July 2006

"When you become our age, it's harder and harder to make friends" says Tipton as he loyally stands by Matt. Jeez, with friends like that, it's no wonder this lame movie got made - no one was brave enough to tell any of the cast how bad it was. Didn't any of them watch the dailies?

So, maybe at some point in his career Andrew managed to rustle up major chemistry, but in this movie, he manages to deliver the eternal best friend chemistry instead of the lost in lust type. He's very likable, but I don't think that's what we were going for, and he is just miscast. And Molly delivered some of her lines like she was reading them for the first time from the teleprompter ("I'm used" she says in the same tone she would use to announce "pink is my color") instead of part innocent/part femme fatale. I don't think either of them was getting the coaching they needed.

The tension between the college and the surroundings was interesting for a while, but difficult to fathom. There aren't many universities that I can think of (maybe it's a Midwest thing?) that are so close to the swamps of Deliverance.

When this movie came out, I really wanted to see it, because I loved St. Elmo's Fire. I wasn't able to because of school and work. I'm glad I missed it and saw it on cable, although I wasted quite some time waiting for the good part...waiting, waiting, waiting. Maybe there was a good story there at some point, but it didn't show up on the screen.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Unexceptional

6/10
Author: ProofUndeniable from United States
24 July 2003

This movie is really only for those who were/are serious fans of either Molly Ringwald or Andrew McCarthy. The storyline is implausible and the characters are woefully underdeveloped. McCarthy stars as a young man named Matt who is engaged to marry his socialite girlfriend, but scraps those plans when he meets Jewel(Ringwald). The film follows Matt as he tries to figure out who exactly Jewel is and what secrets she might be hiding. For her part, Ringwald does a decent job. Her southern accent isn't overdone or ridiculous, though it is a bit odd. To her credit, she believably portrays a character that is totally unlike any of those in her previous movies. McCarthy, on the other hand, seems like a reincarnation of every part I've ever had the displeasure of seeing him in. He wanders through the film aimlessly and seems totally disinterested the whole way through. Overall, not a bad effort on Ringwald's part, but I would only recommend watching this movie if you happen to catch it on cable.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A touching and somber look at romance.

6/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
13 November 2000

Andrew McCarthy plays a college student that falls in love with a less educated and less cultured young girl(Molly Ringwald). Two immediate problems are: McCarthy needs to break off an engagement to his well to do girlfriend; only to find out that Ringwald is younger than he thinks and needs an annulment from an abusive husband.

Dark, moody and almost full blown depressing. If you liked PRETTY IN PINK, this is the more grown up version. I always seem to find McCarthy a sympathetic character, but I really like his cool attitude he brings to the part. Miss Ringwald is simply great in this role.

Rounding out the cast are: Ben Stiller, Patti D'Arbanville, Viggo Mortensen and Molly Hagan. Stay with this one, don't jump off in midstream. This is very under rated and deserves your attention.

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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Imagery of Ringwald's best film draw's you in.

9/10
Author: triple8 from Conn
16 August 2003

I think of all Molly's movies, "Fresh Horses" has to be the best. I never forgot this movie or Ringwald's "Jewel", not only does she look absolutely stunning in this, but her acting is perfection.

This movie is extremely underrated. One reviewer stated this movie is haunting. It is. There is no good reason WHY it is but hundreds of movies with this type of plot have been made and this one really stands out, it has a dreamlike feel to it. The characters simply jump out at you, the movie gets 10 of 10 for scenery and atmosphere, there's a compelling ethereal quality about this movie and Ringwald's Jewel and even though this was not her most popular movie it was her best hands down.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Too easy to just stereotype...McCarthy and Ringwald

7/10
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
23 May 2006

do rather well with the subject matter- albeit limited, and as a previous review mentioned, ("Pretty In Pink, Redux")...sometimes there is fault with pop culture trying to seem clever; just ask Stephen King.

Ringwald is a decent actor, and was unfortunately pegged into these type roles for awhile- I will have to watch her later films to compare, as it seem she has not been given enough range. Since this film was made in the late 80's; there needs to be a twist; Andrew McCarthy provides a sympathetic character-trying to do the right thing. (Was there a "right thing" in 1988?). I seem to remember films like "American Psycho" reflecting , more accurately, the political and social climate of the times.

What the audience does see, is interesting and expository. For example; why do the Ben Stiller and McCarthy character have to visit their college girlfriends at their indoor/outdoor swimming pool?; this is a gross exaggeration. Unless their parents owned a software company; being well-to-do does not necessitate an Olympic sized/Mariott Hotel swimming pool.(Wow-the parents went to St. Martin-not exactly a world cruise). But, yes, this is the 80's. So we will excuse that. I can remember films like "Soul Man" (1989) and "Who's That Girl" (Madonna- throw-away trash film) The Ringwald character could have been better developed, she is a townie; married too young; the speech when she explains her childhood could have been more nuanced, more true to life. Ben Stiller is realistic, except when he delivers the title phrase to McCarthy- ..."drop the old nag and get a new one"... when referring to Jewel(Ringwald). Also the final deus ex machina- where Ringwald is assaulted, yet stays with Green (Viggo Mortenson) is contrived and convenient. Andrew McCarthy is a good actor, without the luxury of a story-line.

In the late 80's, there were some films with social merit. This was one of them, but you may have to block out some of the more ridiculous polarizations. The fact is that there will always be college, college preppies, and townies, who drive 1979 Camaros. The writer must show the audience why we should care, and learn about the many conflicts and psychological issues.

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