Secondhand Lions (VHS, 2004) Reviews
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Secondhand Lions (VHS, 2004)

49 ratings (39 Epinions reviews)
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The Best Movie In A Long While

Sep 21, 2003 (Updated Oct 11, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great performances, script, really funny all the way through

Cons:Not for the weak humored

The Bottom Line: Fun for the whole family, but that's just an excuse to see a good movie and say that you're taking the kids out.

September Movie Pick of the Month
My Monthly Movie Picks are just movies I see once a month and review. They aren't the best or worst movies of the month, just something I say "I'll make this my Movie Pick of the Month" to. I decide what movies before I see them, so I will not always pick good or bad movies.

For a while, it seems there have been a chain of mostly mediocre, decent, or just bad movies. There were few movies to come out that I would say "Hey, that was a great movie!" when walking out of the theater. It seems that movies are just becoming the same thing, and few movies are topping others. However, Secondhand Lions really brought some of the old back into the new, and the combination made a terrific and fun movie!

The movie didn't have much advertisement, and I barely even heard about it when I decided to see it, so it was, sadly, in one of the smaller theaters, beaten by Once Upon A Time In Mexico. From this, I'd assume that the movie won't make a lot of money, which really is ashame. I could quite honestly say that this was the best movie I've seen all year. Better than all of these million dollar summer blockbusters, better than all of them.

The movie has a terrific cast. The leads are performed greatly by Haley Joel Osment, Robert Duvall, and Michael Caine. Robert Duvall and Michael Caine play grumpy, old men from Texas who always keep their rifles close by. Their performances are backed up with great enthusiasm and accents, as well. Osment plays a 14 year old kid who's been left to live with his two uncles (Caine and Duvall) whom he doesn't know. Used to a world with more technology (TV and telephone), he is shocked to find out that technology is almost non-existent, so he has to make do with what he can. Osment is always great at playing an innocent child, and this one is no exception.

The story is a very interesting one. Walter (Osment) is being left with his two uncles, Hub (Duvall) and Garth (Caine), whom he doesn't know, while his mother claims to be going to school in Fort Worth. From the beginning you can see that his mother is made of nothing but lies, and Walter barely trusts her. His mother tells him that his uncles disappeared for 40 years, and came back with lots of money, which they now hide. She pretty much wants Walter to get on their good side so they can get a piece of the will.

When they arrive at Hub and Garth's shack, they find the men shooting fish in the pond behind their house. When they see Walter and his mother, they are disappointed to find out that they are relatives (Walter and his mother aren't the first relatives to try and be nice for a piece of the will). However, after some arguing, they let him stay.

To fast forward a bit, Walter becomes inquisitive, and asks Garth (the less aggressive of the two) about their past, and where they were for the last 40 years. He explains that they went on a vacation in 1914 only to be caught at the beginning of the first World War. After getting drunk with some soldiers, the two wake up on a ship to North Africa, and in uniforms. In battle, Hub saved Garth many times, and became quite a great fighter. When war was over, they went their separate ways, and Hub began liberating slaves. With his many adventures, Hub meets and falls in love with a princess, and gets into more trouble with the man who was arranged to be married with her. The man tries countless times to kill Hub, but Hub keeps coming closer to killing him.

While getting these stories given to him in small intervals, Walter tells his two uncles that instead of shooting every salesman that comes by (which they do for hours at a time for fun), they could see what they're selling, and buy some of it. They like his idea, and end up buying lots of things (clay pigeon launcher, vegetable seeds, even a lion for hunt). However, they find out that a lot of the stuff they got was a rip-off. The seeds were all for corn, and the lion was very old.

The lion is very important in the story. Hub always complains about being to old and useless, and that everyone under estimates them. When they get the old lion, Hub is angered to see that it's old, so it won't be hard to hunt. Walter takes care of the lion as a pet, and nurses it to strength. Near the end, when Walter is in trouble, the lion has enough strength to save him. Like this, Hub and Garth, though old and under estimated, built up enough strength to save Walter from himself. They taught him to be a better person. And in this, they were secondhand lions... or at least, that's what I got from it.

Though the movie seems like a rather serious movie, it is actually more of a satire on love stories, while mixing in some drama, as well. Every time it shows the past, and tells the stories of Hub killing men to save the princess, it shows him kill 30 men by himself. Also, the movie has a more subtle humor to it. It's not the kind of movie that someone who likes American Pie would like (just an example, not a fact). It has more things like they were eating sausage and eggs, and Walter kept looking at a pig and a chicken just watching them eat bits and pieces of their own species. And also, while Garth was telling part of the story, he was explaining how Hub stopped the man from trying to kill him and the princess, and he said, "Some say that he was scared that Hub would come back and kill him. Others say that he was doing the honorable thing, since Hub had saved his life. I, personally, think that it's because he struck oil and became the 5th richest man in North Africa."

The movie ends very well. A little part from every scene has its part in making the movie have a happy ending. It really is a heartwarming thing. And it teaches a valuable lesson: trust and are important. "Just because something ain't true don't mean you can't believe in it," says Hub, while teaching Walter that he can't just not trust everyone.

The movie is good on many levels. There is the fact that you can take your whole family, and everyone would love it. Then there's the great storyline, which will really keep you on the edge of your seat, even if it is pretty simple. Then there's the acting, which is really one of the best things of the movie, and helps make the story believable. The humor, which is put in places you wouldn't expect (Hub and Garth had a cruise ship the size of their pond in their pond). And lastly, the overlaying message, which can teach anyone something new.

Really, I recommend this to every single person who's reading this review. It really is a great movie, and deserves to be seen. Even if you're normally not into a movie like this, just see it. You'd be surprised at how great it is.

Recommend this product? Yes

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Set in Texas in the 1950s, SECONDHAND LIONS tells the touching story of Walter (Haley Joel Osment), a shy teenager sent to stay with two estranged unc...
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