Walk the Line
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon
Viewed in theaters: 11/25/05
Best Actor - Joaquin Phoenix (lost to Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Capote)
Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon (won)
Best Costume design (lost to Memoirs of a Geisha)
Best Sound Mixing (lost to King Kong)
Best Editing (lost to Crash)
So I'm a little embarrassed to admit that before I saw this movie I only knew three Johnny Cash songs : Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line, and I've Been Everywhere. Luckily now I'm more familiar with his music as I have the soundtrack and The Legend of Johnny Cash. My favorite Cash song is Highway Man. A friend of mine once said that it's un-American to not like Johnny Cash, and yes, I agree! He is a musical legend.
I have to give major props to Joaquin and Reese because I've always thought the two hardest things for an actor to do is to portray a real person (especially someone as famous as Johnny or June) AND have to sing in a movie. So props to them! Even though Reese, who is infectious as June Carter, won the Oscar for Best Actress, you could debate her role is more supporting, because after all she's supporting Phoenix's Cash and doesn't have nearly as much screentime as he does. This always makes me confused about how actors are placed in the lead or supporting categories, especially in a case like Reese's. Yes, she is the main female lead, but so was Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind, but she was put in the Supporting category. Maybe they decided to put Reese in the lead category because it was a bit weak that year (though she still would have won in the Supporting category) or because when you're a huge star like Reese Witherspoon, it's much better to have a Lead Oscar rather than a Supporting one, which is totally fine if you're a character actor.
Of course my favorite scenes were anytime when Johnny and June (anyone else love that song by Heidi Newfield?) were performing (especially Jackson). Even though I wasn't familiar with all the songs the first time I saw the movie, I still got into the music. Since then I've listened to the soundtrack many times so I knew all the words. No, I did not sing along. I noticed there were a couple songs in the movie that weren't on the soundtrack, hmph!
There's a question the man in the recording studio asks Johnny Cash and it's what song he would sing if he was hit by a truck and left on the road to die and had enough time left in his life to only sing one song so that God could hear him and it made me wonder, which song would I choose? Imagine? Calling All Angels? What if God Was One of Us? Or maybe something more upbeat like Walkin' on Sunshine? (Hey, I might as well make my last minutes on Earth a good time!)