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Movie Review: Walk the Line

Alternate Title: Sex, Drugs and Country Music

Story: Great music, lousy script. That could have been the shortest review I ever wrote (but it won't be). The life and times of Johnny Cash are brought to the screen in the most pedestrian manner imaginable. Here was a guy who still has the ability to capture the imagination of people across socio-economic lines and we don't get to learn much about him in this ho hum biopic.

It was directed by James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted) who co-wrote it with Gil Dennis (based on two biographies). They simply scratch the surface as they episodically depict a young, poor country boy who was unloved by his daddy, gets lucky with his music, discovers sex, drugs and groupies, becomes a cheatin' man, falls for a good woman, yada, yada, redemption.

At first I thought there were too many songs but then when I realized how weak the script was I longed for even more singing. The good news is the performance numbers are terrific. If you are a Johnny Cash fan than this film has your name on it despite its shortcomings.

Acting: Joachim Phoenix is perfect as Johnny Cash. Like Jamie Foxx in Ray, Phoenix nails his look, his twang and his voice. Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash hits it on the head as well. Both actors did all their own singing. I was impressed. When I got home I played a Johnny Cash CD to listen to the original.

Predilection: I like Johnny Cash.

Soundtrack: Fabulous.

Theater Audience: A smattering of country fans at a very early show.

Drift Factor: It was way too long and I started to look at my watch after only 45 minutes.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No , but I have a feeling there will be some nominations for acting.

Nit Picking: This filmed screamed for an editor.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are a fan check out the big screen. Otherwise, check out some Joachim Phoenix's other work: Hotel Rwanda, Signs, Buffalo Soldiers, Quills, Gladiator, The Yards, (Clay Pigeons, U Turn and To Die For.

Length: Two hours and 38 minutes. AURGH!