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'Walk The Line' hits the ground running

December 03, 2005|By Matt Bellner

Walk the LineIf you like the music of Johnny Cash, you will thoroughly enjoy "Walk The Line." Not a fan of country music? Avoid this movie and finish your holiday shopping. I'll send you my Christmas list. You're welcome.

"Walk The Line" is based on Johnny Cash's autobiography and stars Joaquin Phoenix as the legendary musician. Reese Witherspoon plays June Carter Cash. The film chronicles Cash's rise to fame and his love affair with June.

I'll take the cheap and easy way out to describe this movie. It's a country and western version of last year's hit, "Ray." It's essentially the same movie but unlike Ray Charles, who loved all women, Johnny Cash loves only one woman.

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The other difference is the fact that Phoenix and Witherspoon do their own singing. I was amazed at how wonderful they sound. My only complaint is there is too much singing in the film and, at times, I felt I was watching celebrity karaoke at Dimples (a wonderful place, by the way). Joaquin and Reese should have entered VH1's TV show "But Can They Sing?", because they would have destroyed Morgan Fairchild.

"Walk The Line" is a good movie. It's not a great film but it should land a few Oscar nominations. I can't see it winning Best Picture but what do I know?

The production quality is outstanding and really captures the musical spirit of the late 1950s and early '60s. The supporting cast is flawless and musician Waylon Payne, really stands out as Jerry Lee Lewis. That dude is going places!

"Walk The Line" is a love story and an excellent date movie. My date, Ramona, was so impressed with my movie choice, she took me out for a drink after the film's 136-minute running time and even offered to take care of my cat while I go home for the holidays. Now that's a good date! Who knows what will happen after I take her to see "Rent." Stay tuned ...

This picture is geared for older audiences, so please keep the kids at home. You've been warned.

Looking for a quality film that can carry a tune? Walk on down to the theater and treat yourself to "Walk The Line." You'll be singing its praise.

REEL FACTOID

It took four years for the producers of "Walk The Line" to secure the rights to the story from James Keach, who is a friend of Johnny Cash and his family. After Keach agreed, it took another four years to get the film made.

* MATT BELLNER is an actor and music historian from Burbank

20051203i4xf2hkf(LA)Matt Bellner

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