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Walk the Line

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Just saw the film last night, and one of the first notes I wrote in my notebook was being impressed with Robert Patrick's understated yet powerful performance. When he was on screen, you always knew that he was there and having an effect on the events, even if he didn't say a word. I appreciated the fact that he did all of this without scary Terminator eyes.

So, Christian, while I'm not an industry dude or a reviewer of official credential, you can at least say that a shlub from rural western Ohio noticed Patrick's performance

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I was reading one of the industry blogs

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Just saw the film last night, and one of the first notes I wrote in my notebook was being impressed with Robert Patrick's understated yet powerful performance.

FWIW, I thought he was very good too. But he is given so little screentime that we simply don't get enough time to be acquainted with his character on any really significant level.

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Admittedly, I haven't read any reviews of this film, but I didn't see it addressed in this thread, so I have a question: What's with Kahlil Gibran? The idea of June Carter, at that age, carrying around, reading, and handing a copy of The Prophet to Johnny Cash is simply incredulous. Hollywood can't show an altar call, but it can slip in some pseudo-Baha'i.

I realize that Elvis loved the book, and maybe June Carter did read it, but... I don't know, it was just an odd scene to me.

Edited by Michael Todd

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Admittedly, I haven't read any reviews of this film, but I didn't see it addressed in this thread, so I have a question: What's with Kahlil Gibran? The idea of June Carter, at that age, carrying around, reading, and handing a copy of The Prophet to Johnny Cash is simply incredulous.
FWIW, you are "incredulous." The idea is "incredible." :)

Except I think it it isn't, because I think it really happened.

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Back then we all read Gibran. I still will look at some of his stuff (including other books - my favorite is Jesus Son of Man) from time to time. Besides he was Lebanese Christian. It would be an exaggeration to put him in the same league as Rumi, but I think there is probably a Sufi influence to his work. (And back then, nobody here read Rumi.)

Edited by Darrel Manson

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At the junket, one of the religious reporters asked if The Prophet was a New Age thing, and both the director and Reese Witherspoon, I think, said that June Carter really DID give that book to Johnny Cash, after she got it from Elvis Presley (and then one of them said something about there being a whole potential subplot about June and Elvis that they could have gotten into, but didn't). The director then said:

When people say "country music" and they're not part of the world of the south, in areas like this in Los Angeles or New York, they can think instantly "hick", and then they can think "ignorant", and then they think, "They never read a book in their life." And these people were smart. These were really smart people, and if anything I kind of get really riled up about, it's the kind of biddification of the music world in which country and western -- first of all I think it's just horrible to call it country and western, like what does that mean, like what is that? It almost reduces it to these stupid bars with the bulls and things. This is some of the greatest music of the century, and it would be like calling rock'n'roll leather'n'whips. It's just stupid, and it reduces some of the most powerful music of this century, born of this country, one of the greatest cultural contributions this country has made to the world, and somehow the name has come to imply it's slightly, like, dim music. And I really was out to also, if there was any way, not directly but indirectly, to make it clear that there is nothing dim about this music.

For whatever that's worth.

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Has anyone else seen the 1969 documentary Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music?

I spent the weekend with my in-laws, and they had all seen Walk the Line, and then found this documentary on DVD, dir. by Robert Elfstrom as a film school project. It includes some footage of the Folsom Prison concert and another prison concert in Tennessee, and follows Cash and his band as they tour in 1967 and '68, so it takes place after the period covered by Walk the Line. There's a visit to Dyess, AR, and a duet with Cash and Bob Dylan that's a bit weird, and several gospel songs.

Here's the relevance to Walk the Line--my father-in-law and sister-in-law noticed that several shots from this documentary appear to have been cribbed for the 2005 film, and including some of the concert footage. I'll have to see WtL myself before I can corroborate, but the documentary is certainly worth seeing.

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Has anyone else seen the 1969 documentary Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music?

I spent the weekend with my in-laws, and they had all seen Walk the Line, and then found this documentary on DVD, dir. by Robert Elfstrom as a film school project. It includes some footage of the Folsom Prison concert and another prison concert in Tennessee, and follows Cash and his band as they tour in 1967 and '68, so it takes place after the period covered by Walk the Line. There's a visit to Dyess, AR, and a duet with Cash and Bob Dylan that's a bit weird, and several gospel songs.

Here's the relevance to Walk the Line--my father-in-law and sister-in-law noticed that several shots from this documentary appear to have been cribbed for the 2005 film, and including some of the concert footage. I'll have to see WtL myself before I can corroborate, but the documentary is certainly worth seeing.

The movie actually blends songs and between-song-commentary from Cash's two famous prison concerts -- Folsom and San Quentin. The songs are taken (mostly) from Folsom. But the between-song-banter, particularly Cash's acerbic quips about the dirty yellow water -- are taken from San Quentin.

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Phoenix Retraces Cash's Footsteps at Folson

Joaquin Phoenix, whose portrayal of Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" has made him an Oscar front-runner, returned Tuesday to the scene of one of the musician's most famous concerts Folsom State Prison. . . . Warden Matthew Kramer presented Phoenix with a prison-made license plate bearing the actor's name, and gave another to [shooter] Jennings bearing the movie's title. The event was organized by Prison Fellowship, a group that runs Bible studies and other educational programs in prisons. Fellowship spokesman Joe Avila said the movie's message would be good for inmates because Cash's "whole life was a message of redemption." "The movie is about how he screwed it up really bad, and he turned to Jesus Christ to help him change," Avila said.

Associated Press, January 3

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Fellowship spokesman Joe Avila said the movie's message would be good for inmates because Cash's "whole life was a message of redemption." "The movie is about how he screwed it up really bad, and he turned to Jesus Christ to help him change," Avila said.
If only!

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Wanted to chime in here, rather than in one of the Oscar threads, where I wasn't sure which one to use, to express my surprise at the reaction to this film's 5 -- count 'em, 5 -- Oscar nom's as a ... get this ... DISAPPOINTMENT. The AP story said Line was "shut out" -- except for those two MAJOR acting nominations. Dave Poland calls the film's nominations a "big miss."

Reality check: The film has grossed a boatload of money, is well liked, and deserved its Acting nominations. It's one of the few films that got exactly what it deserved in terms of nominations. What's the fuss?

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What Christian said.

True, I'd prefer Walk the Line to at least some of the actual best picture nominees. But I don't think Walk the Line really deserves a best picture nod. It deserves the nominations it got, and I'm pleased that it got them.

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Wow, the DVD release is coming right up, much sooner than I thought it would. I'm very excited; I might even buy the collector's edition, by virtue of the superior artwork on the case.

Well, I picked up the 2-disc Collector's Edition today. I'm excited to watch it again, as I think I was more impressed with this film that most of the people on here (and I normally don't love biopics).

And Jeff is right, it is a very nicely put together set. Well worth the extra $5 at HMV.

IPB Image

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from Rolling Stone:

While Foxx lip-synced to vocals performed by Charles, Phoenix does his own singing in the film -- and learned to play guitar from scratch. Witherspoon and the rest of the cast -- including the relative unknowns who play Cash's buddies Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis -- did the same. To prepare the actors, music director T Bone Burnett led them through a three-month singing-and-playing boot camp.

I finally saw this last week. I thought most of the performances were dead on, except for Elvis. It took me a good portion of the early part of the film to figure out Elvis. Any baritone can "do" him with a little practice. This kid couldn't. WORSE, what was more confusing was that of all of the imitative performances in the whole film, "Elvis'" backup band was the most confusing. They didn't even try to approximate the early combop sound. They just wailed and flailed like a bad Brian Setzer tribute band.

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I picked up the 2-disc set at Target, where it was $10 more than the single and it was a BAD IDEA JEANS moment. I actually think they made the single-disc artwork so egregiously ugly to push people to the 2-disc. Anyway, the extras on the second disc are thus far irredeemably lame; the Folsom retrospective tells the story through replaying the footage from WALK THE LINE (!). And postcards-- who cares about postcards? The commentary and deleted scenes (some of which are pretty great) are on the single-disc version anyway.

Signed,

the fool who paid for the prettier box

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I realized two things the minute I saw the 2-disc set in the store: 1, the extras were completely inadequate considering that the price was $10 higher, and 2, I absolutely had to have it. I just couldn't leave that fine artwork with the fiery-painted Cash behind in favor of that cheapo one-disc print.

I almost returned my copy an hour later, feeling guilty about spending so much more when I could've got the one-disc set and give the difference to, y'know, starving children or something. But then I decided that instead, I would simply vow not to buy any more DVDs until Lent is over.

I call this feeling of guilt DVD: Digital Video Decadence.

And postcards-- who cares about postcards?

Hey! I kind of liked those, even though I can't think of a single practical thing I could do with them.

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I like the postcards simply because I think Walk the Line had the best posters of 2005, and I like to look at them "perty pictures."

Plus, at HMV where I bought it it was only $5 more.

After the ceremonies last night, my friends and I watched Walk the Line and it grew more on me after a second viewing. Reese totally deserved the Oscar (out of the films I've seen; I haven't seen The New World or Sophie Scholl yet Jeffrey, so don't get too upset ;)).

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Heh. Well, I think Reese is a good choice too. She was the best in the category, anyway, and it was definitely a gutsy performance. I didn't flinch.

On another subject, was I the only one who thought Joaquin looked like he was in the drugged-out portion of Johnny Cash's life whenever they showed him on the Oscar-cast last night?

Man, I hope he's going to be okay. The car wreck a few weeks back has made me worried about him.

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The New York Times, of all papers, asks why Johnny Cash, who talked about Christian faith for most of his life, wasn't represented that way in the film.

And James Mangold's answer?

...he tried to use Mr. Cash's love for Ms. Carter as a symbol for various forms of redemption.

"June was a figure of redemption," Mr. Mangold said, "beautiful in the way that God's light is beautiful."

::blowup::

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The New York Times, of all papers, asks why Johnny Cash, who talked about Christian faith for most of his life, wasn't represented that way in the film.

And James Mangold's answer?

...he tried to use Mr. Cash's love for Ms. Carter as a symbol for various forms of redemption.

"June was a figure of redemption," Mr. Mangold said, "beautiful in the way that God's light is beautiful."

This is what bugged me most about the film. Performances were great, certainly. But all of the things I've read about Cash have me believing this--Johnny Cash loved three things deeply in his life: drugs, June Carter, and Jesus Christ. This film only shows two of those loves. So watching the deleted scenes, and hearing Mangold say this was laughable to me too.

Edited by Jeff Rioux

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I don't deny that the film shows Cash reacting BADLY to his "prison". What I do deny, at this point, is that the film does not in some way see his life as a "prison", just as he saw it.

Just watched this one. I was puzzled what caused Mangold to end the film with the scene that he used, and went back to watch it with the commentary on.

In the process of doing so, I encountered the drug bust scene where Cash is arrested, and Mangold says something to the effect, that Cash had only spent one night of his life behind bars, yet emotionally and psycologically his whole life until this point had been lived behind bars of his own making. I thought it was an interesting assertion--that all Cash's prison-themed works were about his own struggles with an incarceration of his own doing.

Not sure that Mangold presents Vivian as part of the prison, just that he presents Johnny's perception that she's part of his prison. But I do think he pulls his punches a bit, and makes it easier for the audience to be "okay" with Johnny's treatment of his marriage, as well as June's marital problems, by never once introducing us to June's husbands and having Vivian's character be somewhat shrill.

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I just did a double header this weekend of Walk the Line, and the film Johnny Cash produced and narrated The Gospel Road a sort of documentary about the life of Jesus.

It was interesting watching the two together, and I've reviewed the latter for my blog.

Matt

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We are on the same Page, Matt.

I just watched Walk The Line for the first time, loved it, did a bunch of fact checking at Wikipedia and was pleasantly surprised that most of the movie remained true to the autibiography. I also listened to a CD all weekend that has the 16 Greatest Hits of Johnny Cash.

I fully, as never before, now understand David Eugene Edwards.

-s.

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Where would we be without Wikipedia? I did exactly the same!

FWIW I've done two other bits on the Gospel Road film at my blog here and here

Matt

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