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Secondhand Lions
cast: Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Haley Joel Osment, Kyra Sedgwick, and Nicky Katt

writer and director: Tim McCanlies

111 minutes (12) 2003
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
EV DVD Region 2 rental or retail
Also available to rent or buy on video

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by Robin Landry
I can't say when I've enjoyed a movie as much as I enjoyed Secondhand Lions. I was at first reluctant to even watch the movie because it had a child star in it which practically guarantees it will be boring. I took a chance on the movie because of the fine cast, and I was not disappointed.
   Secondhand Lions stars Michael Caine and Robert Duvall as two West Texas brothers who live life on their own terms in the turbulent 1960s. A confused young nephew (Haley Joel Osment) is dropped on their doorstep one afternoon while his mother (Kyra Sedgwick) drives off to Las Vegas to find her fortune. The mother knows that the two brothers have a fortune hidden somewhere on their ramshackle ranch and she hopes that her son can get his uncles to tell him where they have buried the treasure.
   Adjusting to life with his uncles is at first difficult. In the first scene where the boy gets dropped off, a travelling salesman pulls up in a car, which sets the uncles to shooting. Apparently the uncles use travelling salesmen for target practice. After a full day of shooting while the boy sits wide-eyed on the porch, the two uncles go into the house. One of the brothers comments to another that the boy sure is quiet. The other comments that the boy sure is jumpy too, apparently not realising that they've both been shooting over the boy's shoulder for the whole first afternoon of the his stay at the farm.
   The boy learns to appreciate the uncles but asks them one day why they don't just see what the salesmen want. This triggers a buying spree, everything from seeds for the vegetable garden, to secondhand lions for the aging big game hunters to shoot at. It's almost as if the uncles teach the boy how to behave like a child, but in the best way.
   Just as the boy is starting to adjust to his new life on the farm, more relatives show up. The first thing the mother asks the uncles is why the boy is staying with them. She accuses the boy of staying with his uncles just to inherit the gold. She declares that if the boy stays then she and her family are leaving. The uncles look at one another, smile and tell the woman that the boy's staying. The family leaves in a huff.
   Throughout the movie are flashbacks of the two brothers adventures in Africa in the French Foreign Legion. The boy, who's been lied to all his life by his mother and a father who's deserted him, doesn't know what to believe. In the end he has to believe in someone... but to tell you more would be to giveaway the movie.
   Just watching Caine and Duvall whoop it up in their roles made me long for the days when men were allowed the freedom these two had. If these men were alive today, there would be so many alphabet soup agencies after them; they'd never get to do anything fun or manly for the matter.
   The DVD extras include deleted scenes, but nothing would have been gained from watching these and it the movie is tighter without them.
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