WALK. RIDE. RODEO. (2019)
CAST: SPENCER LOCKE, MISSI PYLE, BAILEY CHASE, SHERRI SHEPHERD, CORBIN BLEU, MAX EHRICH, ANN RALEIGH CAIN, KATHLEEN ROSE PERKINS, MITCHELL HOOG, POWER, THE HORSE etc.
DIRECTION : CONNOR ALLYN.
With this post, I will be hitting a milestone. This is the hundredth post on my blog and since starting this renewed journey of putting my words in this precious mould in June 2018 I have only garnered strength, the support of fellow writers and readers and the sheer durability of the blogging community from where creativity begins as a stream and then gets diversified into multiple tributaries, all depositing in the eternal sea of exchanges. SO THANK YOU AND MAY THE POWER OF OUR WORDS ALWAYS BE MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD AND BE OUR ONLY WEAPON OF CHOICE AGAINST UNRAVELINGS OF THIS WORLD.
I’ll not take much time here. It feels good to write my hundredth post on an inspirational tale that reinforces the proverb of WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER affixed with our will power and a Zen like zeal to overcome all odds. In recreating rodeo champion AMBERLEY SNYDER’S life script in which a chance accident left her paralyzed from the waist down but never truly crushed her spirit, WALK. RIDE. RODEO. becomes more than a title or even a literal one. It becomes a mantra for self definition, just like Amberley didn’t let her physical debility affect her chances of participating in rodeo championships. In the process, bouyed by the support of her kindred and a divine power to rise above present circumstances inbuilt in every human but exercised by the truly brave, she got back on her beloved equestrian partner POWER and tasted victory.
The movie, which I watched on Friday, May 24th, 2019, was lucidly structured and did well in attempting to grasp the helplessness and passages of anger, hurt and resignation she experienced. For a sportsman and competitive player, a debilitating physical condition can feel like the end of the world. It can be so for everyone since the functioning of the body as a cohesive whole is central to our very day to day existence, so much so that we take it for granted and when out of the blue, an unlikely change overcomes our anatomy, we snap. Amberley weighs her options, dreads the premature end of her flourishing rodeo career but burns with the desire to get back on the saddle and conquer milestones galore. That is a stubbornly defiant and empowering stance. The way she controls her mind is exemplary.
She instinctually understands and internalizes the reality that she can possibly never walk again owing to a severe spine injury . Yet she evinces hope that her life can mean so much more than a designated void. She extends that hope to herself first and then to others.
As for the writing, it’s simple, lucid as I had mentioned earlier and even the part of the accident and its aftermath is rendered without making it sensationalistic.
The key takeaways from the film are a sense of community it builds for a survivor, starting at home as with Amberley’s family. So the values are instilled in her to be a good sport and others too motivate her, down to the couple that helps her revive herself and calls up medics at the site of the accident.
Another takeaway is of rodeo getting represented as this spirited proclamation of individuality. It’s an old fashioned sport and it fits in with the old fashioned, well meaning ethos of the tale set in coyboy country – the region in which rodeos are lifelines for the people. It’s a good thing in these times to let high spirits prevail in a non-exhibitionist way.
Above all, it’s a clean family film so you can watch it with everyone. The life lessons are especially a must for younger demographics as Amberley was a teen herself when she experienced a life changing transformation.
Inspiration from and directed towards the specially abled is paramount in WALK. RIDE. RODEO. Of course Amberley had the resources to get rehabilitation but it’s not about money. Some people have the resources but zilch emotional motivation to guide a survivor while others rise up by inspiring actions even if there is a hole in the pocket. Here it’s the emotional resilience that wins the day for her and her coterie of supporters.
The performers are sincere to the hilt. Spencer Locke is just right as Amberley, Missy Pyle is great as her mother while the others do full justice to this biographical tale. Above all is the majesty of POWER, the touch of beauty in Amberley’s life.
WALK. RIDE. RODEO. has been added to my feel good American film canon. It inspires and at 1 hour 39 minutes utilises its running time to tell a good story with its heart in the right place. It upholds the great American Dream narrative.