Two Bits and Pepper Movie Poster Image

Two Bits and Pepper

(i)

 

Pointless, crass, violent girls-and-horses tale. Beware.
  • Review Date: October 25, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Parent-child communication and honesty is essential. Good triumphs over evil.

Positive role models

Two mildly rebellious tween girls learn a lesson about listening to parents and following rules. The main mom and dad, though well-intentioned, seem inept, naive, and not very bright. A second set of parents leaves a child with an irresponsible, bratty older sister while they go on vacation. No ethnic diversity.

Violence

Lots of scary action: Strange men attempt to lure young children into their cars; a pony is shot and fights for his life with visuals of him on the ground bleeding and then undergoing a surgical procedure; a drunken cowboy drives his car into and kills the pony's mother (off-camera collision); cars crash; stalkers lurk around a house with two children alone inside; a pony is captured by cowboys hoping to sell him for meat; a policeman is knocked down and his car careens over a hillside; a house is set on fire with kids inside. One long sequence shows a bumbling but vicious kidnapper trying to get into a locked bathroom with two girls inside; he stabs at the door with a sharp tool puncturing the door so that he's getting closer and closer to them. Afterward, when the two girls are held captive, he ties them up and threatens them; a gun is brandished.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

"Butt," "moron," "jackass." Extensive talking about farts, hearing farts, smelling them. 

Consumerism

Shasta soft drinks, Hawaiian Punch, Cracker Jack.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Villains smoke. In two scenes drunken cowboys drive vehicles; in one instance a pony is killed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Two Bits and Pepper is a senseless, scary movie with many scenes that find children and horses in danger. Attempts at humor (frequent farting and cartoon-like villains) along with two likable talking horses cannot overcome the story's utter disregard for the seriousness of kidnapping and the fears that surround such an event. Two girls are stalked, chased, captured, tied up, held at gunpoint, and trapped in a burning house. Parents are depicted as misguided and stupid, neglecting to search the most obvious places for their missing daughter, leaving a child in the care of an irresponsible older sister, and having little self-control. Particularly deplorable is a lengthy sequence during which the audience is led to believe that the beloved pony is dying. The movie also has a few mild insults -- "butt," "jackass," "moron" -- and some smoking and drinking, and one instance of drunkenness leads to the death of a pony.

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What's the story?

Tyler (Lauren Eckstrom) and Katie (Rachel Crane) are best friends who are crazy about each other and about TWO BITS & PEPPER, their beloved pony and horse. But they pick the wrong time to disobey Tyler's mom and dad, who've forbidden them from going into town on horseback. Two kidnappers have come to their community (Joe Piscopo, equally despicable in two roles), hoping to lure one child or another into their car and hold him or her for ransom. The girls' path crosses with the villains after Tyler is punished by her mom and runs away, taking refuge in Katie's home. The kidnappers find them, alone and vulnerable. Ty's parents, the local sheriff, and the two horses all set out to save the girls. After a fire, gunshots, a horse being captured and then shot, and many tense moments as the girls attempt bravery in the face of danger, Two Bits and Pepper help save the day.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

In this mess of a movie, the filmmakers lose sight of logic, good taste, and, above all, empathy. Attempts at humor fall flat: Joe Piscopo is grating, unfunny, and sadistic; the farting is continuous and gross. Making light of children being lured into cars with offers of a ride home and candy are unconscionable, as are scenes of drunks driving cars and running into things. Kids are in danger in scene after scene; innocent animals are threatened, captured, and shot and one is killed by a car. The filmmakers continually rely on jeopardy (real, cartoonish, and false) to keep a young audience involved, but it's way too scary for most kids. For the rest of us, it's a bottom-rung movie, hard to sit through by any standard.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss some of the issues that this movie brings to mind: listening to parents and sticking by their rules and requests, and keeping safe in a world that sometimes isn't safe. What behavior endangered Tyler and Katie?

  • Why do you think movies about kids and horses are so popular? What makes horses so fascinating and appealing?

  • Talk about the character of the villains in this movie. Were they meant to be scary? Funny? Mean? Dangerous? Do you think kids of different ages might see them differently?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1995
DVD release date:May 16, 2006
Cast:Joe Piscopo, Lauren Eckstrom, Rachel Crane
Director:Corey Michael Eubanks
Studio:PM Entertainment Group
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship, Horses and farm animals
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:milld violence, language and thematic elements

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