Even I’m beginning to think this is a bit much

Sometimes, I wonder: where does all my time and money go? Why don’t I read more? And then I realize that I’ve seen 81 new movies this year (61 in the theater, and at least 20 on video), and it all makes sense.

#61: Walk the Line: The Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash love story, as produced by their son, John Carter Cash. I wasn’t terribly interested in this movie until the trailers came out, and even then, it took a little bit of word-of-mouth and cheerleading from to make it a priority movie for me. I’m not sure that I enjoyed the movie as much as I could have, because before going in, I didn’t actually know anything of Johnny Cash’s musical history.

I thought this movie was a better film than Ray in a couple of ways: it limited the scope of its story by making it mostly a picture about Johnny and June, where Ray was trying to tell an entire life’s story. This one pretty much began and ended with the Johnny and June show, though it did have to dip into Johnny’s background to get there. Walk the Line did a better, though not a perfect, job of really hitting some low points. It made Johnny Cash unlikable at times, or at least got close to it. Here’s where the family-sanctioned biopic is always going to have its limits, I know, and yet I keep holding that against films like this. June Carter came off as being something of a saint in this film, and even at his most doped-out, Johnny Cash looked like he always felt pretty bad about it. True stories have a tendency to become flat, anymore, because it would be bad form or something to stomp on the grave of the person being portrayed. So, not a bad film, but a little unsatisfying for me.

I thought the performances were really strong — Reese Witherspoon’s accent was really good, and Joaquin Phoenix had the voice down — even I could tell that, from the tiny bit of Johnny Cash singing/talking I’ve heard. They didn’t have a sparkling chemistry, really, but I think is right in suspecting that a few Oscar mentions will come from this film.

All-in-all, it makes me want to watch the Johnny Cash “Hurt” video again, and see June in the background.

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9 Responses to Even I’m beginning to think this is a bit much

  1. phillyexpat says:

    I genuinely thought they had chemistry. The first scene where he almost kissed her . . . you could cut the tension with a knife.

  2. next_bold_move says:

    She was a pretty amazingly likable character–a spunky little saint!

  3. next_bold_move says:

    What’s the rest of your music tag supposed to read? It seems to be cut off…

  4. kepkanation says:

    I read the Entertainment Weekly cover story on the movie this morning (no computer at work, what are you going to do), and it was kind of interesting. They really liked the movie.

  5. kepkanation says:

    I think it was, “I’m starting to question whether ‘Ring of Fire’ will ever leave my head.” Which I am still questioning. The only two Johnny Cash songs on my iPod are “I’ve Been Everywhere” and his cover of “In My Life.” That’s disappointing. I am, however, dressed mostly in black today.

  6. simplelyric says:

    Reese Witherspoon’s accent was really good

    Heh. Ginnifer Goodwin said that the accents were easy for both her and Reese Witherspoon because they’re both actually Southerners. (I’ve yet to see the movie, but Ms. Goodwin plays Johnny’s first wife in it. She won my heart back on Ed and kept it through her roles in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! and Mona Lisa Smile.)

  7. kepkanation says:

    Ginnifer Goodwin

    I couldn’t place her during the movie, but I think I recognized her from Mona Lisa Smile. She did a good job, though it wasn’t a well-developed role.

  8. kepkanation says:

    I just felt something missing, but it may be because I don’t find Joaquin Phoenix attractive, and therefore found it hard to believe that the June Carter character fell for his character so quickly.

  9. simplelyric says:

    She did a good job, though it wasn’t a well-developed role.

    Yeah, I had the impression that would be the case. Alas. I think she could really shine, if she had a bigger opportunity.

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