Friday, May 14, 2010

'Walk The Line' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. Ah thaink thet y'uns is jist too coultural fer mei.

  2. You are welcome to join in, Ilion. It's kinda fun!

  3. There is a lot to talk about in this movie. I really enjoyed the music. Tyler Hilton was great as Elvis, and the guy that played Jerry Lee Lewis really captured the lawless edginess that Jerry Lee had in his day, and all while playing on a piano. I loved it when they were driving between stops on tour and June has her feet up over the front seat, and as JR looks over Jerry Lee says

    "Got something on your mind?"

    And when Jerry Lee was messing with June about touching his heart JR had no problem making it known he wasn't gonna put up with it...

    "Set down. Set your ass down Jerry Lee."

    But wasn't June Carter grand. I loved when she got all mad because the boys had been up all night, and she calls 'em on it for not being able to give a good show in the afternoon. And after walking away she comes back and starts throwing beer bottles at 'em all ... it was great!

    But best of all was how she loved John all through it, good times and bad, and he loved her. Reese Witherspoon gave the best performance I have ever seen her do, and Juaquin Phoenix was outstanding as Johnny Cash. The troubles he had with his father were key to the struggles that he had through his life. That relationship is really an important one. Ray Cash had his troubles, no doubt, but to take out his frustrations and disappointments on JR was totally wrong, and it damaged him for years, not really coming to peace with it until marrying June gave him an anchor and a base to deal with the world from.

    Well, there are a few ideas I had. What did you think of it?

  4. Welll... I'll probably GET the movie in a day or two! Such a hurry you're in! ;)

  5. (I'm not going to actually read your notes 'til then.)

  6. Wait a minute, weren't you the girl with the tune in her head she couldn't get out, and so we went ahead and ...

    Okay, well.... okay.

    : )

  7. You're Netflixing it. Well, I think you're going to like it. I will be very interested to hear what you think of it.

    I will tell you one thing. I like the shows we have been looking at. We have had a pretty good run. They often leave me smiling and thinking about them for some time, in a good way.

    Nothing against space aliens and episodic trysts, but I do feel better, I really do, when I am involving myself in things that I think speak to me in some way, or are just very well done.

    I still have been thinking of Jane Eyre.

  8. I'm sorry -- I do see how I confused the issue!

    I am enjoying watching -- really watching -- the movies so much, and I love 'comparing notes'. I'm so glad you're still enjoying "Movie Club."

  9. "I am enjoying watching -- really watching -- the movies so much, and I love 'comparing notes'."

    Me too! Yes, absolutely, take your time and enjoy them. They're for fun, and to help us experience and make sense of things, I think. It's not work. I forbid it.

  10. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the people in the audience when Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter on stage? They are still telling that story!

    You're right about the performances -- I don't think I've ever seen Reese Witherspoon in anything but comedies before, and as much as I have enjoyed those, I had no idea how beautifully she could handle the quiet moments that are so critical. Like the morning after Cash imploded on stage (Las Vegas, I think), being there to make sure he was all right before leaving. And that moment of understanding and empathy, and humility, when Cash has introduced her to his daughters after a show, and Vivian tells June to stay away from the girls.

    Speaking of which, I thought Ginnifer Goodwin was pretty awesome as Vivian. The helplessness of the early years worrying about making ends meet, only to be just as helpless once Cash finds starts to find success but has nothing left for her, or their family, when he's not working. And then he falls in love with someone else. Her scenes were never very long, but always seemed to be about something painful, yet she showed the range of ways pain is felt, and expressed.

    And I do think Juaquin Phoenix was great. You really feel whatever state Cash was in -- I thought he was particularly poignant in the scenes where he is just so exhausted. But also with some moments of really low-key humor -- like in the recording studio, when the producer has egged him into singing his own song, and when his buddies start improvising some accompaniment, he's surprised to find out they're good!

    My favorite scene, I think, is with both of them -- the morning after the Thanksgiving awfulness upon awfulness. She's there, again, making sure he's OK, and he is so broken. And how much she loves him is so clear as she talks to him about this "second chance."

    I love that June didn't give in to Cash, thinking she could make him better, but made him make himself better. And, if she had married him sooner, we wouldn't have had the great scene on the bus, where he wakes her up to propose -- and she tells him "No" -- again. He does this I've-got-you-all-figured-out bit where he tells her she's afraid of being in love, with that perfect combination of smugness and righteousness. And she gives him what-for about waking her up in the middle of the night, and says "Rule number One: Don't propose to a girl on a bus. Rule Number Two: Don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream." I loved it.

  11. "Rule number One: Don't propose to a girl on a bus. Rule Number Two: Don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream."

    That was so great.

    And also:

    "June, I think it's time."

    "It isn't time. It isn't a quarter till time. It isn't anywhere near time!"

    You had the real sense, the very real sense, that she wasn't going to let John put anything past her, that she wouldn't allow her life to spin out of control with his, but that she really loved him just the same.

    My favorite scene would be when John asked her to marry him, after asking and asking, and after being told the only place she would speak to him was on stage...his portrayal was so heartfelt, the sadness and single mindedness, the sense of not being complete and of desparate longing, and her quiet hesitance, and then acceptance. Very good. I'll tell you the truth, Cath, I enjoy reading your stuff. It's the best part of this blog. Most fun, anyways.

  12. "Rule Number Two: Don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream.""

    I seems to me that most modern young American women, raised to lap up that "soulmate" and "'love' is an overpowering force that 'just happens' and in which one has no will of the matter" bullshit, would never think to respond like this.

  13. Hey, Iion! No, I don't think she would have ever have accepted the idea that love was something "in which one has no will of the matter." (Or, maybe that first ugly divorce 'cured' her of such notions.) If this portrayal is in any way accurate, June Carter worked very hard to manage both her feelings for Cash and the relationship itself. To be so very much in love with him, deny herself the intimate relationship she clearly desired, and still be completely present to him as a loving friend -- no small thing.

  14. It isn't a quarter till time.

    So great!

  15. I was contrasting June Carter with present-day women.

  16. Good to see you, Ilion. I agree, many women would not act this way, but June Carter loved John, and that does not refer to a romantic feeling as much as it does to the actions that she chose to take. In the song she wrote Ring Of Fire, she was speaking of a burning care in her heart for a man she knew was ill and could not draw near to - because it would have enabled him rather than help him, and it hurt her to be caught in that situation. It translated into her doing the hard work of acting in a manner that was best for him, best for her and best for them. I see that as a woman that is strong, in the best sense.

    "To be so very much in love with him, deny herself the intimate relationship she clearly desired, and still be completely present to him as a loving friend -- no small thing."

    That's it exactly.

  17. I was contrasting June Carter with present-day women.

    Hey, Ilion,
    I don't know that contemporary women are any more unrealistically (or self-indulgently) romantic than women a generation or two ago. Certainly Cash's first wife, Vivian, stands in stark contrast to June Carter, as she and Cash got married with all kinds of expectations, after having dated briefly and corresponding for a couple of years while he was in the service oversees.

    Actually, my guess is that the romanticism, or whatever you'd call that I'm-going-to-meet-someone-perfect-and-everything-will be-wonderful mindset, is just a part of youth. I certainly went through my "phase" like that, like most of my friends. I guess we were pretty lucky that we 'came of age' in circumstances that allowed for dating, having boyfriends, learning a bit about relationships -- both how to nurture them and how to survive them -- before getting married. And if we were really lucky, we just got a reality-check or two, instead of something really disastrous. I have to say, there were quite a few guys of that age who were just as sure there was a perfect girl just around the corner, and I think their disillusionments fell in the same wide range.

    I suppose there are a lot of people who don't dismiss the expectation that someone 'perfect' is going to come along, always hoping the next love will be the "soul-mate", and for them every relationship is probably cruelly disappointing. But I find it even more distressing to encounter young people who never have any romantic hopefulness at all -- as if they were born disillusioned. Maybe they were, sort-of -- so many young people take to heart what they learn of other people's disappointments, and they grow up believing they can never trust ANY relationship to hold.

  18. Oh, I'm not saying that men don't suffer from the romanticism bug -- in fact, I think young men tend to be even more unrealistic about romance than young women are.

    But, that "soul-mate" BS that is so popular amongst women (and feminized men) these days is a whole different thing.

  19. As Nicholas said, June Carter loved Johnny Cash -- not simply the idea of Johnny Cash.

  20. "I find it even more distressing to encounter young people who never have any romantic hopefulness at all"

    I believe there is now a dissociation between sexuality and romance.

    No dissociation on the two for June, as John was well aware. I think that is a very pleasant and good thing. Men should want to earn a women's affections. People are not throw-aways, and treating one another that way is the antithesis of romance.

    I like romance, in the real sense. Chocolates and flowers, well maybe, but only if it is a reflection of something more. One of the scenes that struck me as romantic was June taking John with her to church, and looking up at him while she held his hand, knowing that there were a lot of troubling things going through his mind, and being willing to stay there with him like that ... that's the best, in my mind.

  21. That was lovely, and whether it was an act of friendship or romance, it was love, and truly wanting the best for someone.

    (I was almost surprised it made it into a modern movie, but that's a whole other discussion.)

  22. I have been trying to decide on a movie suggestion -- honest! At first, I was thinking that Wuthering Heights might be too grim, but the story is so far removed from the 'burbs, and the reviews do look pretty good...

    Should we go for the untested Wuthering Heights?