If you're a big fan of the late Johnny
Cash (he was never very punctual, that guy), then Walk the Line
will be for you. It's his life story, in case you didn't know.
If you're a big fan of the late Johnny Carson, and you go to see Walk
the Line because you think it's his biopic, you'll be sadly
disappointed. Johnny Carson isn't referred to even once. You
figure the two would've met at some point.
The film is directed by
James Mangold (no relation to Luther Mangold, the famous porn star).
James Mangold previously directed the films Identity, Kate & Leopold,
Girl Interrupted, and Cop Land. Cop Land is just
like Disney Land, only in New Jersey and with more crime.
Beverages are less expensive in the former, though.
Anyhoo...Joaquin Phoenix (no relation to the Phoenix Suns basketball
team) stars as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon (no relation to Reese's
Peanutbutter cups) stars as June Carter Cash. Oh! Is that a
spoiler? Disregard that last bit if you don't know that they got
married in the end. And the last sentence, too.
The Masked Reviewer was confused throughout the movie if June Carter
was the same June Carter that did the voice for Rocky, the flying
squirrel, star of "Bullwinkle." So, he listened hard to her voice
as she sang, trying to determine if that was the same voice. Right
time period. June Carter in the movie was fond of comedic bits
too. But then, the Masked Reviewer realized that it wasn't June
Carter singing...Reese Witherfork wasn't just lip synching, she was
doing her own songs! Singing! With her own voice! Not
only that, Joaquin Sacramento was doing his own singing too! Wow!
That's unheard of.
As it turns out, the Masked Reviewer was confused. June Foray did
the voice of Rocky (and Tweety's owner, the little old lady). But,
nevertheless, Joaquin and Reese were singing not some of the songs, but
all of the songs. And they did a darn fine job.
If Jamie Foxx can win an Oscar(tm) and never sing a note, Joaquin
Phoenix should definitely win an Oscar(tm). Not only did he act
like Johnny Cash, but he sang like him. And it wasn't just
passable...it was convincing. So was the performance. So
were all of the performances. Everyone was good.
Most of the movie is carried by Reese Witherknife and Joaquin
Houston. They give moving, realistic, interesting performances.
The only problem to speak of is that the movie does drag a little...some
points are repeated a bit too much (we get it, Johnny Cash liked to pop
pills) and don't move things forward enough. The two-hour-plus run
time is a bit too long.
Still, it's an interesting film about an interesting guy.
You'll find out why he wore black all the time. You'll find out
why he doesn't like power saws. You'll see him get drunk and fall
down. What's nice is that the film portrays him in a way that his
music did...real life. Sure, not all of his songs were real.
He probably never killed a man, just to watch him die.
But...oh...what was the point? Joaquin Phoenix did his own songs!
That's about all there is to say. It's filled with good
performances and, if you're like the Masked Reviewer and can't sing a
single Johnny Cash song, it's still interesting to learn about a guy who
made his mark on the music world.
Watch out, Oscar(tm)-givers! There are three sure-fire ways to
win an Oscar(tm) -- play an epic ancient warrior, play a dead musician,
or play a physically or mentally disabled person. Ka-ching!
Oscar(tm) gold awaits. Just look at Jamie Foxx in Ray.
Or that guy from Amadeus. Or Sissy Spacek for Coal
Miner's Daughter. Okay, the guy from Amadeus didn't
win...and Loretta Lynn isn't dead...but her career is. The person
who will really clean up is the guy who plays Ricky Martin, once he
kicks the bucket...dead musician and mental retard. The
Masked Reviewer smells a sweep.
Expectation from the Title: After robbing a bank to get money
for his sick son's operation, Bob is pulled over for reckless driving.
The cop suspects that Bob has been drinking, so he has to pass the field
sobriety test. His getaway depends on it. And so does his
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Johnny Cash should've worn brighter colors. Black is so drab.
The Pros: Excellent lead performances, amazing that the actors
sang all of the songs themselves.
The Cons: A bit too long, but interesting nonetheless.