November 26, 2005

Movies, Books and Life 101.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:35 pm

I don’t go to the movies very often. In fact, I think I saw three movies in the last three years and I only went because some of my cronies were going and agreed to drive. Last night I was driven to see Walk the Line, which everyone within earshot of a television or a radio knows is a movie about the life of Johnny Cash.

Going to the movies about once per year makes me a lousy moviegoer, but I’m sure that I’m even a lousier movie reviewer. I figure that the good reviewers are the folks who get paid to write movie reviews, and, from the ones I’ve read, it looks like the trick to being a good movie reviewer seems to be using a string of clever adjectives and complicated word play to ensure that the reader cannot figure out whether the good reviewer liked the movie or not.

With that said, here is my pedestrian review of the movie.

I liked it.

Then again, I like Johnny Cash, and I suspect that people who don’t like Johnny Cash won’t take the time or spend the money to see the movie. But, even a bad reviewer, such as I, knows that a Johnny Cash fan could be disappointed if, for example, the Napoleon Dynamite Guy played Johnny Cash, or if the director dressed “The Man in Black” in hot pink.

Turns out that Joaquin Phoenix did a pretty amazing job at pretending to be Johnny Cash. The guy actually did his own singing and, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t sound like Johnny Cash. I also found it interesting that he learned to play guitar from scratch in order to play the role. Because we were a few minutes late, we wound up sitting in the third row, so I had absolutely no problem watching Joaquin’s fingers (which were three feet tall on the screen) during the musical numbers. Of course it is possible that the sound I was hearing was someone else playing, but his fingers were in the right place.

Much has been said and written about how well Reese Witherspoon played the part of June Carter, and she deserves all the accolades. Like Phoenix, she sings all her own stuff and sings it about as well as June Carter did (who never considered herself to be a great singer).

The movie starts with Cash’s troubled childhood, made even more difficult by the horrible death of his brother and his overbearing father. It chronicles his entry into the music business with the help of Sam Phillips and traces his rise to stardom and his bout with demon drugs. Mostly, however, it deals with his long relationship with June Carter, who penned “Ring of Fire” at a time when she and Johnny Cash were on the verge of becoming an item, the only glitch being that they were married to other people. Johnny Cash fans know how that ends. Johnny and June marry in 1968 and live happily ever after. In the epilog, the casual fans are told that June Carter Cash died in 2003 and Johnny died four months later.

If you like Johnny Cash, you’ll like the movie. [/pedestrian review]

Memo to Self: Go to the movies more often. Not a bad way to spend a couple hours.

I actually spent a good part of the day reading books. Remember them? I finally got around to finishing a book I started on the plane two months ago when I went to Spain, and I got halfway through a new one. Not to worry. No book reviews here. You’ve already suffered through the movie review.

Memo to Self: Shut the computer off now and then and pick up a farookin’ book.

Life 101
In addition to working my magic on multiple loads of laundry, I spent an hour or so filling out the necessary information for my Advanced Health Directive (i.e. “Living Will”). There is nothing quite as uplifting as defining whether one considers “terminal” to mean: (a) I will die in a few days, (b) I will die in a few weeks, or (c) I will die in _______ months (fill in the blank with six months or less).

Yeah…I know. Why didn’t I have one of these long ago? I guess I’m a bit like a plumber with an unfixed leaky sink at home.

Memo to Self: Bring the damned Health Directives to the Post to have signatures witnessed, preferably before the potential witnesses are shitfaced.

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