Genre: Coming of Age Drama
Age Range: Ages 8 and up
Runtime: Approx. 98 minutes
The Derby Stallion - Overview
Fifteen-year-old Patrick McCardle (Zac Efron) finds himself in a dilemma when he befriends a has-been horse trainer and is presented with an opportunity to live out his real dream. For Patrick, the choice is easy; telling his father will be the hard part.
A former baseball player himself, Jim McCardle dreams that his son will be a baseball star someday, and he truly believes that it is Patrick's dream too. In reality, Patrick doesn't even like the sport. He loves horses and dreams of racing in the Derby Cup. So, when Houston Jones (Bill Cobbs) - one time Derby Cup winner, but currently the town drunk - offers to train him, Patrick works up the courage to ask his parents for permission.
Patrick's parents are understandably concerned, but they agree to let Patrick train. His parents aren't his only challenge, though, Patrick must also contend with the current Derby Cup champion, spoiled rich kid Randy Adams, who fights him every step of the way. And, when an unexpected tragedy strikes, Patrick must decide whether to finish what he started or give up altogether.
The Derby Stallion tells a story that has been told many times before - a young kid does not share his father's dreams, has to inform his father of this and go after his own dreams, and has to face the rich bully in order to accomplish his dreams. While the moral of the story is positive, the version told in this movie places a high emphasis on winning. Patrick is encouraged to follow his dreams to win, but no wise adult ever tells him that following his dreams is important even if he doesn't win, at least not in so many words (there is one attempt by Houston, who tells him he has a winner's heart, which his arch rival does not have).
The film does place a high emphasis, though, on being a good person. Several of the characters in different situations make positive choices and set examples of honesty and integrity.
The Derby Stallion - Note to Parents
This movie contains some minor language and mature topics. One character refers to another as a "horse's ass." Other language issues are mild and infrequent.
One character in the movie is known by others as a drunk. He is often seen drinking out of a bottle that is confirmed to be alcohol. The character does give up drinking later in the movie.
Mature topics include racial topis that are discussed a couple of times during the movie. A man relates a story about a black man who was in love with a white woman, and how the town did not like it. Also, one character in the movie passes away. The funeral for this character is shown, and several of the other characters are shown crying and distraught.
The Derby Stallion - Topics to Talk About
- When a character's health is failing, he states that it is his own decisions that caused it. How do every day decisions affect one's health in later years?
- In following a dream, how important is winning? What things could be more important than winning? Could something be worth pursuing even if the pursuer never actually wins?
- One of the characters is an alcoholic. What effect does alcoholism have on a person's life, or the people around the person? What causes a person to become an alcoholic?