A boy named Walter is dropped by his mother Mae at his great-uncles' house. Later, Walter will find out his great-uncles' big secret, and rumors say that Hub and Garth, Walter's great-uncles, have stolen a lot of gold and money. (some say they stole it from Al Capone) Did they really steal that money or not?Written by
The ending was re-shot due to negative test-screening feedback. The re-shoot cost $600,000. The original ending (which does not include the scene with the sheikh's grandson) is available on the DVD. See more »
While Hub is fighting the teens in the diner there is a Coke machine in the background with the modern logo on it and its signature wave which dates to 1969 (should be all red with white Coca Cola lettering). Also visible is the pinball machine Odds & Evens which dates to 1973. See more »
During the end credits, the adult Walter's cartoons depict a variety of adventures. See more »
For the UK cinema release, the distributors requested a PG certificate from the BBFC and 21 secs of footage was cut to remove shots of flick knives and violence. DVD releases were upgraded to a 12 certificate and the cuts were reinstated. See more »
The first thing I noticed in this film was the farmhouse, a caliche road, and the mailbox--and I knew it was rural Texas. Then I noticed a couple of uncles sitting on their front porch with shotguns, and a young teenage boy not knowing exactly what to think. I was hooked immediately when flipping through the TV channels and seeing Secondhand Lions.
This film was made in Pflugerville, a suburb northeast of Austin, and of course there is a rural road, a farm house, and stock tank (pond). It was the first thing that caught my attention, and it felt like Texas. And then there was Michael Cain and Robert Duval playing characters in Texas. I've seen this movie five times or so, and it is not difficult to imagine Robert Duval playing a character from Texas. However, Michael Cain, well if his Texas accent wasn't perfect, his character was perfectly played! And as brilliant as Cain might have been, Robert Duval was just as good as Robert Duval can be, and that's about as good as it gets. Cain plays Garth, and Duval plays Hub and the 13-or 14-year-old Walter is basically dumped with the uncles by his mother one afternoon. The uncles aren't happy about the situation. Walter's not happy about the stranding with the uncles. But the audience is in for a treat as this story develops.
While Haley Joel Osment played a believable Walter, and Kyra Sedgwick was also excellent as Mae the mom, the movie's writer and director Tim McCanlies has to be given credit for a realistic setting, and an amazing story that allows character development, and what might be a pretty bad situation, child abandonment with strange relatives, to become a wonderful story.
Yes, Cain and Duval play curmudgeonly uncles, but they also play loving and caring uncles who grow so close to Walter, they try to figure out how to protect him from his irresponsible mother. Work in some traveling salesmen, that occasionally succeed in getting past the shotgun blasts from the front porch, to sell garden seeds (in a variety of packages, but only corn grew), or to sell a sickly lioness, and this plot is wonderful.
The lioness is nurtured back to health by Walter, but one day she escapes and heads into the garden of fully grown corn. I probably would have named this movie "Lions in the Cornfield," because that is an extremely strong image from this movie, and seeming ridiculous situation. But Secondhand Lions actually uses the symbol of the uncles as aging, yet protective lions who have had better days, and Jasmine the lioness, to communicate all that is quirky and good in life.
As strong as Duval and Cain may be in their acting roles, the story is equally as idealistic in siding with right, and opposing evil. When a movie is idealistic, and believable, and fun, I can't help but give this film a solid recommendation (9 of 10 stars).
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