tek's rating: ½

Bite the Bullet (PG)
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This came out in 1975 (the year I was born), but I didn't see it until 2015. It's not something I think I had ever heard of, and probably never would have seen it except that it was included in a 2-DVD set, along with The Quick and the Dead. (Both movies star Gene Hackman, although they were made 20 years apart, and have no real connection.) It's set in the early 20th century, so you might expect it to have an "end of an era" vibe going on, but it didn't seem to me that it did. I mean, there's a motorcycle or two in the movie, and cameras, but otherwise it easily could have been set decades earlier. Anyway... it's about a 700 mile horse race. On the whole, I didn't care about the race at all. In fact, I found it hard to feel like it even mattered, considering that the competitors all seemed to reach the various checkpoints within the same basic time frame, so the only time the race really mattered was at the very end. And yet, throughout the race, they acted like it did matter, which I just didn't understand. There's no way they could have failed to realize that it didn't matter who reached each checkpoint first. But for no readily apparent reason, they did care. Anyway, there were some amusing lines of dialog scattered throughout the movie that I liked. And a few dramatic scenes that I liked. But most of the movie I found a bit boring. I mean... a bit. Not really boring. And certainly the good bits made up for the boring bits. But... eh.

So anyway, the competitors include a couple of former Rough Riders, Sam 'Clay' Clayton (Hackman) and Luke Matthews (James Coburn). And a woman named Miss Jones (Candice Bergen, whose name on the DVD was the main reason I bothered watching it). And a British guy, and a Mexican guy (with a bad toothache), and an annoying young guy, and an old guy, and... I think those are all of the main ones. And I don't know what else to say. There's some stuff about respecting horses, I guess, and that was laudable. And there were a few chuckles. But the movie was definitely longer than it needed to be. Again, I really liked a few of the dramatic bits. But on the whole... eh.

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