Thursday, December 08, 2005

when I was arrested I was dressed in black

So, this morning, I woke up left my house and sitting on my back porch was a bottle of Tennessee Whiskey. Now, I haven’t drunk whiskey since I met my husband and I only started drinking whiskey when I realized I had to lay off the vodka circa 1998. I have a pretty good idea where the bottle came from and why it was on my back porch, which made me think to myself… Maybe it’s about time I invested in a shotgun. Thank you June Carter for the inspiration.

As I said in my posting on Brokeback Mountain, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a kid, the summers of my grandparents farm, the horses, my sheep, hiking on the mountain, and copperhead snakes. I’ve also come to realized that I HATE the suburbs. There is this distinct non-confining environment and realism that rural and urban setting offer. It’s not so in the ‘burbs, but that’s for another post. Anyway, as I was saying… nothing brings back memories of my badass country grandpa more so than listening to Johnny Cash.

Walk the Line, 7/10

Walk the Line was my most anticipated film of the year. (You would think it would be The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I’m not keen on being reminded of how Disney destroyed my life long dream.) I finally made it to a showing of Walk the Line last weekend, but not before my sister in law saw it three times.

Joaquin Phoenix does more than disappear in an impeccable impression of Johnny Cash like Jamie Foxx did in Ray; he stepped into the man and radiated Cash from the inside out. The performance is powerful and authentic, but not so much that you don’t feel like you’re seeing a new side of the man in black. Performing the music himself, Phoenix brings something different to the standard Cash recordings, without altering or betraying their intention. This is especially apparent in the Folsom Prison recordings. It’s liberties like this that make the film a film as opposed to an attempt to reenact a documentary.

Reese Witherspoon’s sheds the dumb blonde safe type cast she’s seemed imprisoned by since the double-edged sword that was Legally Blonde. A southern girl with plenty of sass herself, she gave life, love, pain, and power to woman who’s on stage persona couldn’t be different from her real world.

Sadly, this is where the greatness of the film ends. The screenplay is a mess. There is some good dialogue that captures slang perfectly, but the story seems to be more like an outline with stops along the way than a fully developed film. The problem isn’t the running time, which clocks in over two hours, but the misuse of the time the film is given.

I understand that this was to be a film about June and Johnny and not the Johnny Cash Story per se, but leaving the film, I don’t feel like I really know much about the two and certainly nothing about their life together only that Johnny had to work damn hard to woo the girl of his dreams to his side.

The direction is good, but again falters somewhat by the hollow script. James Mangold’s direction of the stage scenes were the stand out moments as he fully accomplished the goal of having us on stage with Johnny and June to experience their love instead of viewing a musical number from the audience perspective. Over all, the film and the soundtrack are worth experiencing, but the depth of the work falls squarely on Phoenix and Witherspoon who both deserve nomination after nomination when the awards come rollin’ around.


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