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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Perfect Film for a Saturday Afternoon!

9/10
Author: till_human_voices_wake_us from Sydney, Australia
19 April 2003

Got nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon before going out for the night then catch Big Spender.

Casper Van Dien gives a subtle but powerful performance as the convict trying to make a new life for himself and son beyond prison through rehabilitating horses that people have given up on, just as many people have given up on him. Van Dien shows not only his strong acting talents but his skill with horses and that he is more than capable of carrying a tune when his character has to sing. You will have to watch the movie to find out why!

A perfect film for all the family as it appeals to people of all ages and reinforces the message of being kind to animals, as well as people.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Great movie :)

Author: Jennifer (sweetnshy74) from Ontario Canada
22 April 2003

I loved this movie!! It is a perfect movie to watch with family of all ages. I think Casper did a wonderful job in this movie working with the horses as well as making his role very believable. I especially enjoyed seeing him sing even if it was for a small part of the movie. :)

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

brilliant and emotional

10/10
Author: paula smith (hotchicofessex@aol.com) from braintree essex england
26 August 2004

i caught this film last week on sky and i have to say it brought a tear to my eye, Casper was brilliant. the film is set basically on a racehorse retirement farm, and its the story of a racehorse called big spender, it shows the dedication of the local prison inmates to care for these horses and Eddie (Casper) and the horse named big spender have a special kind of relationship where each relies on the other to survive and survive they do.Eddie gets his life sorted and in doing so gets his parole so that he can care for his son and also a job in the bargain at a horse stables. Big spender the horse may be a failed racehorse but he reemerges as a quality show jumping horse. its brilliant and i think could bring a tear to the hardest of hearts.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A fun family movie from Animal Planet

9/10
Author: groucho3710 from Detroit area
8 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(There's a "spoiler" that's not really a spoiler in paragraph 3.)

There are two ways you can approach movie criticism: try to judge by some absolute standard, or come a little closer to reality and realize that not every movie is Gone With The Wind, and in fact most aren't even trying to be. There are classics and cult favorites and monster hits nobody remembers 10 years later. So, here's this nice little movie called Big Spender, which right away makes me think of Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera except that in this case, it's the name of one of the characters in the film, who happens to be a horse. In fact the whole movie is sort of a big commercial for The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which tells you something right off the bat. This isn't Turner Classic Movies, it's an Animal Planet original. It has an agenda, part of which is to not offend anybody because it's trying to sell you something while it's entertaining you.

What we have then is a rather formulaic and predictable story that relies heavily on simply whether you like the protagonists or not. Luckily you do. First and foremost is Eddie Burton, a small-time but incorrigible convict who seems to be rather well intentioned but just can't seem to shake the loser label he's worn all his life. About the best and most positive thing he's done is produce a sweet little 8-year-old son, whose fate comes into question as the movie goes on. Also at risk is the retiring racer Big Spender, who is dramatically saved from the dogfood factory by being fortuitously splashed all over the front pages of the local papers. However, even the TRF ranch proves not to be a totally safe haven, as its continued existence depends on the whim of the government and whoever else can be persuaded to donate funds.

Can Eddie survive prison, and his own occasionally sharp tongue, earn a certificate in 'horse management' (or whatever it's called), become employable, and make a home for himself and his child? Will the pretty jockey find a place in their lives? Will Big Spender, seen initially as little more than a wheezing bag of bones, recover and find a new lease on life? Will the TRF ranch itself survive? Do we ever really doubt that the answer to all the above is yes?

The ranch is not Tara and it is not run by Gerald O'Hara but Graham Greene doing another of his crusty curmudgeons with heart of gold, wry wit and a twinkle in his eye, and as usual he's great fun to watch. Casper Van Dien does a nice turn as the irresponsible but ultimately redeemable Eddie, whose past sins are never spelled out, but who just couldn't be that bad and still have such a soft spot for kids and animals.

There's more than a little overtone of Seabiscuit-everyone deserves a second chance, and in rescuing we are rescued-and we have no doubt that man and horse are destined to follow parallel paths when we see that they both love the same kind of peppermint treats. And when Big Spender is described as having been up to his knees in his own manure when he was rescued, we're smart enough to make the connection between him and Eddie. But we can't help pulling for the skeletal stallion with a sweet tooth and the feckless and temperamental Eddie. We just know they've got the right stuff in them somewhere and want to see them bring it out of each other. It's just a sweet little family movie, but then that's all it ever intended to be. Get some popcorn and watch it with the kids.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Best film I've ever seen.... well maybe not but its still great

10/10
Author: RobToseland (toseland@gmail.com) from United Kingdom
12 October 2005

This is one of the best films I've ever seen.

I was flicking thru the channels at 6am and Big Spender was just starting on the Hall Mark channel (190 on SKY in the UK)... anywho... i stayed up from 6am till 8 just to watch it.

IT WAS AMAZING, I love horses and the film was just brilliant.

Casper Van Dian was great in it, as were the horses playing Big Spender.

The injuries on the horses looked really real. lol (Duh... course they did) anywho Really good film, watch it with your family or on your own.... go buy it now!! Robert

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