Making the Grades
8 Seconds is based on the true story of Lane Frost, a popular bull rider who lost his life in the rodeo ring. The two primary conflicts that the movie portrays are the marriage between Lane (played by Beverly Hills 90210 star Luke Perry) and Kellie Frost (Cynthia Geary), and the inability for Lane to feel that he meets his father's expectations.
I have never been a rodeo fan, but have had opportunity to spend many days hanging around bull riders and the backs of chutes while producing television coverage of rodeo events. 8 Seconds accurately captures the wild and lonely career of the professional cowboy. In an understated way, it shows how little money can be earned in a sport that demands you put your life on the line for every performance. When you compare rodeo money to hockey earnings (I won't even touch baseball), you wonder why there isn't a shortage of pro rodeo players.
The biggest problem with 8 Seconds, other than a good dose of organic language, is that the most interesting part of the story happens to be the fact that Lane died. The riding is entertaining but the marriage conflict is repetitious, and the problem with his father is not explored in enough depth and is resolved much too easily.
The language presented here may be troublesome for many parents, especially if young children are watching. However, the writers must have spent some time around rodeo rings because the favourite expletive used here is the same one heard most often at the rodeos I attended. I guess when you are surrounded by something, it becomes a major part of your vocabulary. As for violence, 8 Seconds has some well filmed rodeo scenes that realistically depict what you would see in the ring. I am much softer on violence realistically and responsibly portrayed, and I feel 8 Seconds gives the city slicker an accurate taste of what the rodeo is all about.