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Walk the Line
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Web Site: www.walkthelinethemovie.com
Kiddie Movie: It's more adult matter, or for teens who want to jump on the Johnny Cash bandwagon.
Date Movie: It's a good story for dudes and dudettes.
Gratuitous Sex: Some scenes in bed, but nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Johnny trashing his dressing room and chasing after Vivian.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: There's a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: Too many to really list.  I loved the whole thing.
Memorable Quote: Johnny to Vivian: "He didn't like our gospel song."
Directed By: James Mangold
Produced By: James Keach, Cathy Konrad

Walk the Line
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 2:13 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
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. But 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" 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 songs.

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 "Just 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 music.

Oh well, that review and commentary kinda rambled a bit, but "Walk the Line" is a great movie about, for me, a music idol.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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