I fell in to a burning ring of fireÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I went down, down, downÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and the flames went higher. And it burns, burns, burnsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ oops, sorry, I’m a fella who likes to imitate Johnny Cash. Well, what’s not to like? The deep baritone voice combined with the bad boy image. I also have to mention the black outfit which is naturally slimming, or so the wife says.
If you’ve been living in a cave I should tell you that Walk the Line is the story of Johnny Cash. It follows him from a cotton picking childhood to drug addicted stardom. Walk the Line delves heavily into the June Carter romance, a part which Reese Witherspoon was no less than amazing in. Also on the acting front Joaquin Phoenix IS Johnny Cash in this film. I can see an Oscar nomination here. He’s earned it.
I’m not a huge Cash fan, not a Cashite or a Cashian, (What the hell do they call Cash fanatics anyway?) but I did enjoy this film immensely. Walk the Line has obvious parallels to last year’s Ray, which we should probably get into for all the fans out there. Both films stars have their lives marred by childhood tragedy which is kinda sorta their fault, but not really (huh?). Both Ray and Johnny had serious drug addictions during the height of their fame. Both have women that tried to set them straight. Finally, both Ray Charles and Johnny Cash had an initial interest in gospel though they went in different directions afterwards.
The comparisons are endless, but the differences between the films are more important to me. I’ll break them down for you so you can decide whether to see Walk the Line for yourself. Ray is a much more artistically shot film. Walk the Line is much more straightforward in terms of themes. Walk the Line has a more clear love arc in it, even if that arc makes Johnny Cash look a little like a bastard at times. Overall I liked Walk the Line a smidge better than Ray. It accepts the man’s flaws better. Ray attempts to portray a man who sheds his demons. Walk the Line‘s central theme is his demons.
If you do see the film you’ll be amazed by the collection of talent that used to play glorified barns. I’m talking Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Waylon Jennings. I’m guessing it would have cost you like a penny to see them too because everything cost a penny back then, even cars.
You should see Walk the Line if only to pay homage to the man who gave us the line “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” Go for the rollicking music or to fall in love with Reese Witherspoon all over again (in her first good role since Election). Go to see a true portrait of an artist, flaws and all. Fall into a burning ring of fire this weekend, you won’t regret it.