Saturday, November 19, 2005

Walk the Line

We were fortunate enough to get out last night and see Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, both of whom were excellent. Unlike Professor Althouse, I enjoy this time of year for the biopics, at least the ones about musicians. They're fun because it's like seeing a movie and a concert. Last year, Ray was really good, but Walk the Line topped it by far. One difference was that while I enjoyed Ray Charles' music, watching him (in the form of Jamie Fox) doing drugs and womanizing was kind of weird, given that the "Ray" in my mind was the nice little old man in the Pepsi commercials.

Now, Johnny Cash, on the other hand, here's a guy you expect to have had some problems. I mean, one of his most popular songs is about being sent to prison after killing a man just to watch him die. The movie doesn't disappoint, and what I liked a lot was that it didn't sugarcoat things. The way Mr. Cash got together with June Carter certainly didn't make him look like the nicest guy in the world, and they didn't throw in some lame rationalization to try to create sympathy.

One really neat thing about the movie was that Mr. Phoenix and Ms. Witherspoon both sang their own songs, and apparently neither had much of a singing background before that. They both did well, with Mr. Phoenix doing an excellent job. The other thing I really liked (aside from Robert Patrick of T2 fame doing a good job as Mr. Cash's non-supportive in the extreme father) was that the movie was not so terribly sentimental as many of these type movies can get. I thought it told in a pretty straightforward way the story of The Man in Black (I had to get that in there), and actually the two plus hours flew by. I couldn't believe it was over when the lights went on. Anyway, I highly recommend this movie, and not just for Johnny Cash or country music fans. After the movie, everyone I was with was talking about getting a Johnny Cash cd, and some of them, including my wife, are far, far from country music fans. I think anybody could enjoy this one.


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