Walk the Line
Movie Stats & Links
||Joaquin Phoenix, Reese
20th Century Fox
||It's more adult
matter, or for teens who want to jump on the Johnny Cash
||It's a good story
for dudes and dudettes.
||Some scenes in
bed, but nothing gratuitous.
his dressing room and chasing after Vivian.
||There's a chuckle
||Too many to really
list. I loved the whole thing.
||Johnny to Vivian:
"He didn't like our gospel song."
||James Keach, Cathy Konrad
First off, no one can ever accuse me jumping on the
Johnny Cash bandwagon. There were those who jumped on the
bandwagon a few years ago, when Cash hooked up with hip
producer, Rick Rubin, and came out with a batch of albums
that reiterated how truly cool Johnny Cash was, and
now there are others, with the release of the movie, "Walk
the Line," saying theyíve always been a Johnny Cash fan. Me,
Iíve got proof, as yes, that is me in the picture to the
right, as a little dude, some 2 Ĺ years old, around
Christmas in 1969.
this review isnít about me, I just wanted to show Iíve been
a Johnny Cash fan since I was, well, at least 2 Ĺ, and it
was with huge anticipation that I awaited the release of
"Walk the Line." I was not disappointed, not in the least.
Letís get to itÖ
Walk the Line
A Movie Review
"Walk the Line" is the latest bio-pic from Hollywood.
Last yearís "Ray" sort of set the standard, and "Walk the
Line" follows greatly in its shadow, surpassing it in some
ways, and, oh hell, I biased, it just plain surpassed it.
For this one we get Joaquin Phoenix playing the role of
Johnny Cash, and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. The movie
opens, getting us into Folsom Prison, as the prisoners await
the performance of one of their heroes, namely Cash. We see
Johnny, looking at a table-saw blade, and we get flashbacked
to Johnny as a young boy, and his brother Jack, with Johnny
mesmerized by the music on the radio, Jack studying/reading,
and his father yelling for Johnny to turn the radio off. We
then see one turning point in Johnnyís life, with the death
of his brother, and then the next turning point, Johnny, in
the Army, stationed in Germany, where he starts writing
As the movie progresses, we see Johnny married to his
first wife, Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin), and his failure at
being a door to door salesman. Johnny, though, still with
the music bug in him, starts a band with his buddies, and
somehow gets Sam Phillips (Dallas Roberts) to let him
audition. At first playing him a gospel song, things arenít
going too well for Johnny and the boys, and then Sam tells
him to play the last song he would play on earth if he were
dying and on the way to meet his maker. Johnny pulls out
"Folsom Prison Blues," even though his band-mates never
heard it before, and the rest is history.
Well, the rest isnít really history, the movie then
progresses to life on the road in the early days with the
boys, his meeting June Carter, the struggles he has with his
marriage to Vivian and drugs, and wrapping up with his
marriage proposal to June. Iíd fill you in with a lot of
this, but I donít want to ruin any of the steps the movie
takes on this part of the Johnny Cash journey.
There is always so much more to the story of a man than
you can put in a two-ish hour movie, and "Walk the Line" is
no different than "Ray" in that respect. With "Ray," Jamie
Foxx became Ray Charles, so much so that at times I forgot
it was Foxx playing a character. For "Walk the Line,"
though, there wasnít a time I forgot it was Joaquin playing
a character and it was really Johnny Cash on screen, but
thatís not meant to really sound like a bad thing, because
Joaquinís passion for the character really shined past that
so much that I didnít care. And as great as Joaquin was,
without the performance of Reese Witherspoon as June, this
movie would have probably fallen flat on its face. I hate to
sound like a normal critic, but the chemistry the two of
them had on screen was fantastic, and thatís really, what I
think, made the movie surpass "Ray" for me. Another big
impression was the singing, and although not exactly Johnny
and June, the fact that Joaquin and Reese sang their roles
also impressed me, especially with neither of them having a
true singing background.
Although Iíve been a Johnny Cash fan for years, I do
admit Iíve been jumping off and on the Reese Witherspoon
bandwagon for the past few years, but after her in
Like Heaven" and now in "Walk the Line," I am 100% back on
her bandwagon. As far as Joaquin, Iíve always found him to
be a pretty good actor, but this one now makes me a fan.
Alright, enough gushing about the movie, itís obviously 5
stars out of 5, but after seeing the movie, it reminded me
that I do have one regret, and itís not even about the
movie. As much as Iím a huge Johnny Cash fan, I missed one
great chance to meet him. I had concert clearance to see him
back in 1996 at the House of Blues in Chicago. I thought
about bringing my photo of me as a little dude with me to
the show, on the off chance I might meet him and get him to
sign it. Then I didnít bring it, and after the show (it was
great, although I never did write a review for it) was over,
I just went home. At a different concert a few months later,
one of the other photographers who was also at the Johnny
Cash show asked if I met him. I looked at them like they
were strange, and they told me the photo pass got them
backstage for a meet & greet. I donít have many music idols,
although I am a fan of many, but Johnny Cash has always been
one of those idols, and to this day, Iím bummed I didnít
take the chance to meet him. At least Iíll always have his
Oh well, that review and commentary kinda rambled a bit,
but "Walk the Line" is a great movie about, for me, a music
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!!