Mare Winningham and Ryan Merriman in Everything That Rises (1998)

Quaid's Cowboy Courage

When Jim Clay (Dennis Quaid) was a young man his father raised him to be a cowboy and do what needs to be done to run the family ranch. Whilst times have changed and his father is gone Jim has a son of his own but his style of parenting is just like his dad's was, tough and uncompromising when it comes to work and horses. And it leads to his son Nathan (Ryan Merriman) trying to impress and live up to his father's expectations as they ride their land, something they may not be able to do much longer as business is bad and unless things change Jim may lose the ranch to developers. But things become complicated when Nathan is left paralyzed in an accident and it changes everything for the Clay family.

"Everything That Rises" is such a simple movie yet some times the simplest of movies end up the most captivating. Here we have the typical, make that cliche set up of a rancher who is facing the prospect of losing the ranch which has been in his family generations as the local bank is now owned by a bigger bank who won't extend on the loan. And just as cliche we have the changing face of the modern day ranch as land developers want to buy up the land to turn into new homes and towns. But whilst rancher Jim Clay's pride and determination to hold on to the ranch is part of the story it is not the only part.

Running alongside this familiar theme we then have the story of Nathan who is left paralysed from the waste down after a vehicle accident involving his dad. This leads to a whole host of stories as we have Jim struggling with the guilt over what happened. We have Nathan trying to stay positive but finding it difficult at times when he has to rely on his mum to lift him out of the bath. And there is also veteran ranch hand Harve Presnell who encourages young Nathan to look past the wheelchair when it comes to what he can do. All of which combines to create the heart-warming side but not one full of huge drama or huge scenes of sentiment just good old fashioned story telling and heart warming moments.

What this all boils down to is that "Everything That Rises" is actually one of those movies which is not so much about the story but about how the story, the look and the characters make you feel and the combination made me feel amongst many things like I could watch this again.