Walk the Line

Last night, for my birthday, my wife and I went to see the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.
Wow.
In my opinion, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon nailed Johnny Cash and June Carter. No wonder the latter hand-picked the former to play them.
My wife, who isn’t familiar with Cash’s music beyond “Ring of Fire” (written by June Carter, in case you didn’t know, which my wife did not), thoroughly enjoyed the picture. She discovered she likes Cash’s music, too. I’ll have to load some up for her on her iPod Shuffle.
Sidebar: My wife told me that Rosanne Cash, Johnny’s oldest child from his first marriage, was not thrilled with the portrayal of her mother, Viv, to the point of having walked out of the screening she attended. My wife and I agree that Rosanne has nothing to worry about. I don’t think Viv came off as hysterical or unhinged at all. I think she came off perfectly as what she was: a woman who realized that she was not her husband’s true love; a woman who knew her husband was unfaithful, and that her life was not the least bit what she had expected it to be. Given that, I don’t think Viv’s actions, as portrayed in the film, are the least bit out of line.
I thought the movie was great, even if they had to gloss over some more intriguing parts of Cash’s life due to the time constraints of a major motion picture. This was not only a story of a man’s dream to record and perform his music, it was the love story of Johnny and June.
Days before we saw the film, I signed up for an account with eMusic. If you sign up now, you get 50 free downloads. Unlike the iTunes Music Store, the MP3s you download from eMusic have no DRM attached. You can burn them to a CD, load them to a music player, pretty much do whatever you want to with them, just as if you had ripped them from a CD of your very own. I used a little over half of my free downloads to get Cash’s The Complete Sun Singles. This was very timely, given the material is heavily featured in the film. (Consequently, after using my 50 free downloads, I’ve since cancelled my eMusic account; they don’t have anything else I want.)
What’s sad is that, at 35, my wife and I were the youngest people in the theater, and that’s a real shame. Walk the Line is highly recommended, even if you’re not a fan of Cash’s music, and especially so if you know little about the man or his career.

2 thoughts on “Walk the Line

  1. I was skeptical going into the movie as the “tag-along” but I really dug it. I usually get bored during 2.5 hour movies, but at the end of WtL I wanted more. I gotta get the DVD.

  2. I can’t wait to see what scenes didn’t make it in to the final cut.
    One thing that resonated with me was, in the beginning, when Jack mentions “Mama’s hymnal” to J.R. (That’s what Johnny was called when he was a child.) One of the discs in the Unearthed box set–and available as a separate CD–is My Mother’s Hymn Book, and it’s exactly what it says: spirituals from his mom’s old hymnal. Even if you’re not a Christian, you will love this music.

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