Fresh Horses (1988): David (Hoosiers) Anspaugh Sophomore Jinx

After making a promising debut with Hoosiers, an old fashioned but well acted film, David Anspaugh experienced what is known as sophomore jinx with Fresh Horses, which was a huge artistic and commercial flop despite the presence of Brat Pack stars Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, then at the height of their popularity.

Based on Larry Ketron’s play (aka as The Eccentricity of People and Syntax) tells the preposterous story of Matt Larkin (McCarthy), a wealthy Ohio University who breaks off his engagement to his equally rich and “proper” fiancée (Chiara Peacock), when he falls in love with a poor stranger (Ringwald), who he meets in a dubious party in Kentucky.

Once revelations are made about secrets of her shady past, and influence of her present, Matt must decided whether he is willing to accept her for who she really is.

Anspaugh’s direction is pedestrian, unable to elevate the silly material, and turn a mediocre play into a decent movie, though it must be said that the source material is pointless and often incomprehensible.

Quite mysteriously, the helmer has coaxed dull performances from his two gifted actors, who have done much better in the movies of John Hughes and other directors.  As a seedy character, an underage tramp, Ringwald may be out of her league.

Secondary cast includes Patti D’Arbanville, Ben Stiller, Leon Russom, and Doug Hutchison.



Released: Nov 18, 1988

Running time: 105 Minutes