Film #12: Ray. Saw it last night with Mom at the Trailridge Cinema, which is a second-run place in Overland Park. So, admission was $2.50, and my large soda was $2, and I was pretty happy. The movie, however, was not the best. I mean, it was probably, to me, an average kind of movie. Jamie Foxx was good (though honestly, my Best Actor vote still goes to Leonardo DiCaprio for The Aviator, because it’s a huge feat to get me to forget that he’s Leonardo DiCaprio), but the movie was bland. I blame the direction. The flashbacks cut into the action too much, for one. Consider the moment when Ray is faced with losing his family or dealing with his drug addiction: instead of keeping Ray on screen, letting things sink it, it’s like a soap-opera cut, just his face twisting into a mask of pain and then, BAM!, rehab. Also, I felt most of the script was twisted to make Ray look blameless through most things, so that the one thing the movie seemed to say was his fault — the drug use — was supposed to be this big shocking thing. But it never was. First, you only ever saw the tying-off, never the actual needle. You saw some jittery behavior and craving, but never anything ugly. Even his girlfriend died off-stage, and he absolved himself of the guilt for that pretty quickly. And I had a problem with all of the personal conflicts that seemed to be carried out above and around him, where the two people fighting (for instance, the old girlfriend and the new girlfriend, or the old manager and the new manager) made hateful eyes at each other over Ray’s head, and Ray seemed to never notice that his decisions were hurting people, which seemed to imply, Not his fault.
All of that is a long way of saying, I felt like this movie was made to sympathetically portray the life of a well-known and well-loved musical icon, though it masquerades as a movie telling hard truths about Ray’s life. Blah blah Jamie Foxx will get the Oscar and Taylor Hackford shouldn’t have been nominated.