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"Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story" movie review


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"Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story" movie review
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Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2007-12-26, 18:19



Starring: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer and Tim Meadows
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Rated: R (sexual content, nudity, drug use and language)
Trailer: Click here!

Hmmm...kinda silly. I've looked very forward to this since seeing the trailer about two months ago (which made me laugh out loud). It has hits and misses, like a lot of these types of movies (that whole recent Will Ferrell/Judd Apatow/Stiller & Wilson spoof/tacky trend...put it this way: if you saw, and liked, "Anchorman", "Old School", "Talladega Nights", "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", "Knocked-Up", "Superbad", etc., I guess you'll like this. That's the sort of humor and tone this movie uses. It's not everyone's cup of tea; but some people eat that stuff up.

It wasn't bad, but not the laugh riot I was expecting/hoping for. But I did laugh out loud 4-5 times, and that's a tough thing to make me do at a movie, so...

About half a trillion cameos and appearances by people who seem to populate the above type movies (Paul Rudd, always-funny Jane Lynch, Justin Long, etc.), as well as some SNL ties (Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell and the supremely cute and funny Kristen Wiig). Even Jack Black! Honestly, all it was missing was Vince Vaughn and/or one of the Wilson brothers (Luke or Owen).



But hey, bonus points for Lyle Lovett and Jackson Browne appearances.

The thing I liked most about it was that it ripped to pieces every stock cliché you see in these big-budget musical biopics ("Walk the Line" and "Ray", chief among them...but also "The Buddy Holly Story", "La Bamba", "Great Balls of Fire", etc.). The actors all play it straight, which kinda makes it funnier. Reilly is a blockhead, but he's so good at earnest goofiness, I just laugh. He certainly carries the movie, and Tim Meadows has quite a few hilarious lines and scenes (a running gag throughout the movie is Meadows' character introducing Cox to increasingly harder drugs..."you don't want no part of this shit!", while simultaneously extolling all the fun parts of the drug in question, until Cox finally says "you know, I think I do want some part of that!"...the decades roll on: pot, cocaine, pills, LSD and, finally, the little blue pill).



Funny stuff, seen in context.

Funny performances by the sexy Kristen Wiig and mild-mannered Chris Parnell, as Cox's first wife (perpetually pregnant) and bassist, respectively.

It's pretty much wall-to-wall gags and "see 'em coming for miles" jokes, but some work.

As I said, it does a great job of spoofing all the conventions seen in movies like "Walk the Line" and "Ray"...the way they're shot, the pointing-out-the-obvious so the casual audience member makes connections, the childhood trauma or difficulty being the springboard (and nagging ghost) to the lead character, women troubles, drug and legal battles, hitting rock bottom and rising up again, the attention given to period-accurate sets, cars, musical instruments and equipment (this movie nailed that part as good as any I've ever seen, right up there with "That Thing You Do"), redemption, finally "realizing what's important", having certain events in life spark song titles or topics, etc.

Distilling down a long, complex life of someone like Johnny Cash or Ray Charles into a neatly-packaged two-hour movie aimed at the casual multiplex viewer is tough to do, and this movie kinda has fun pointing that out.



I saw it in a mostly-empty theater, which, looking back and hour or two later, might've had an impact on it. I'm thinking had I seen it with a nighttime, ready-to-laugh crowd, it might've seemed funnier somehow? I don't know. I still got several good, hard laughs and numerous chuckles. Some stuff falls flat - or tries too hard - but that's often the case with this type of movie. They tend to swing for the fences, every chance they get, and a lot of foul balls - or complete misses - are easy to get with that approach.

A decent, but not great, movie. See it with friends, especially those who like the movies and actors I've cited above. You'll get some laughs from some of the more out-of-nowhere, WTF?! lines or scenes. In a nutshell, take Reilly's character from "Talladega Nights" and have him - not Joaquin Phoenix - star in "Walk the Line"; that pretty much describes it: 6-out-of-10 stars

************

The nitty-gritty (spoiler summary):

Spoiler (click to toggle):
Spoiler (click to toggle):
Dewey is born, grows up, walks hard, becomes famous, loses it all, gets it back and is finally "rewarded" - 2007 fashion, via a "lifetime achievement" award at what looks to be some lame MTV-esque award show - and performs his latest song, a look back on his life. An on-screen text tag is added, letting us know that Dewey Cox died three minutes after performing the song. Doesn't sound funny, I know, but it was...again, context. Stick around after the credits, for some footage of the "real" Dewey Cox playing his signature tune from a 2002 performance in San Francisco.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2007-12-26 at 18:30.
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CrazyChic
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Clemmons, NC
 
2007-12-26, 20:35

I saw the movie today. Your review was spot on. However, I found it hard to think of Jack Black as Paul McCartney.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2007-12-26, 20:45

Yeah, that was very strange. I think Justin Long and Jason Schwartzman were pretty damn good as George and Ringo, actually, especially Justin (holding the sitar was a cool touch, and he seemed to have George's accent and phrasing down).



But Jack Black never even sounded like McCartney (forget even looking like him). That was just odd. He went from a posh British accent, to something that sounded more Scottish, and then back again (and even something weird in between that was very ???). He never had that familiar Beatle-y/Liverpool thing that the other three - Rudd, Schwartzman and Long - were doing.

Very odd. I did like the little Yellow Submarine-like cartoon they all became as they ingested the LSD.



I also noticed that a lot of things that were in the trailer didn't make it to the final cut (the Cox sausage commercial, John mocking Ringo's "octopus" comment, disco-skating on the TV show, punching out Patrick Duffy, calling Eddie Vedder "Eddie Veeder", etc.).
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2007-12-26, 23:54

Ahahaha...Paul has a photoshopped "Flick-o-meter" now. No way I can compete with that.

That's what my Sweeney Todd thread was missing. A Flick-o-meter.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2007-12-26, 23:58



I've had it for a while now (since summer, with my "3:10 to Yuma" review (or somewhere around that time).

PM me your e-mail and your "1-thru-10" rating and I'll make you one real quick. I've got Illustrator open, so it's no problem...

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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2007-12-27, 00:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post


I've had it for a while now (since summer, with my "3:10 to Yuma" review (or somewhere around that time).

PM me your e-mail and your "1-thru-10" rating and I'll make you one real quick. I've got Illustrator open, so it's no problem...

No thanks, Paul. I already made my own.
  quote
NosferaDrew
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Los Angeles
Send a message via ICQ to NosferaDrew Send a message via AIM to NosferaDrew Send a message via Skype™ to NosferaDrew 
2007-12-27, 00:25

I mixed the commentaries last week. They shot the commentary to the unrated version of the film - it's about 30 minutes longer than the theatrical cut (1hr36m) and, man, it really seems a lot longer than just over 2 hours!

I thought it was a pretty ambitious film and some of the songs were fantastic (A Life Without You, Beautiful Ride). They say in the commentary that it took them 18 months just to write and record all the songs and John C. Reilly's voice is really great.

Pscates, maybe you blocked it out, but you neglected to mention the male frontal nudity scene. You get, like, three times more in the unrated version!

Overall, I think it's a good movie. A bit uneven, but definitely worth a look.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2007-12-27, 00:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by NosferaDrew View Post
Pscates, maybe you blocked it out, but you neglected to mention the male frontal nudity scene. You get, like, three times more in the unrated version!
Waitwaitwait...what movie is this? Three times more...what?

I'm suddenly...intrigued.

(JK. Dewie Cox just isn't my type. Of movie.)
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709
¬°Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2007-12-27, 00:35

Male frontal nudity in a movie named "Walk Hard"? Color me shocked.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2007-12-27, 00:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by 709 View Post
Male frontal nudity in a movie named "Walk Hard"? Color me shocked.
I know.

Plus, it's from Judd Apatow. Let's look at his canon.

Anchorman
The 40-Year Old Virgin
Fun With Dick And Jane (surprisingly clean/disappointing, depending on how you look at it)
Talladega Nights
Knocked Up
Superbad

I mean, here I thought the guy was the last bastion of high-brow filmmaking, or something.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2007-12-27, 00:45

Yeah, that was a bit strange.

You just don't typically see wangage in mainstream, non-porno flicks. If you do, it's fleeting, from a distance and there's movement and obstructions (just a flicker of dick). But there's a scene in "Walk Hard" where Dewey is in his hotel room with his band and groupies and he's taking a phone call. Some guy is standing over his left shoulder, completely still, a foot or so from Dewey's face, just hanging around.

It's just...there.



Very unexpected. And it happens again later.

And oh yeah, I did forget to mention this in my initial post/review: the music in this movie is pretty good and enjoyable! I really liked some of the songs, and they worked. I stuck around and watched the credits, and saw that Reilly had a hand in quite a few of them. And I saw Marshall Crenshaw's name there too, so you know that's good stuff.

It's a lot like Tom Hanks' "That Thing You Do", in that new songs were written in a specific style and with a period in mind (mid-60's pop) that really sounded like it belonged, and they were real songs you might've heard back then. Seems to ground it, making it all a bit more enjoyable (as though someone really put some work into it).

This "Walk Hard" movie, music-wise, is the same way. Some really nice tunes throughout. I figured that was Reilly singing. He does do a nice job. But I still laugh every time I see him...all I do is think back to how he was in "Boogie Nights" and I lose it.

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