So, it took me a while to come around.
Maybe it's because at the impressionable age of 11, I pledged an allegiance of eternal love to his (now tragically deceased) brother, or maybe I just shallowly couldn't get past the hair lip, but I have finally arrived at a firm decision.
Joaquin Phoenix is HOT.
Saw Walk the Line last night with Weirdo. Loved it. And not just because of aforementioned hotness, either. I really enjoyed watching the story of Johnny Cash's life, I thought the performances of both His Hotness Joaquin and Reese Witherspoon were fantastic, I was even blown away by their singing.
Seriously. They looked and sounded incredible together. I'm surprised she didn't dump Whatshisface Phillipe then and there and run away to the Grand Ole Opry to sing and live in harmony forever and ever with Leafy, for real.
There was another reason why I loved this movie so much, not quite as frivolous as the hotness of Mr. Phoenix, but an important one, I suppose. I have a rather tumultuous relationship with Johnny Cash and this style of music (if you can in fact catagorise it as a single style, which many would argue you really can't).
My father is a huge Johnny Cash fan. He loves (loved? I really don't know anymore)classic country, honky tonk and rhythm & blues. He used to play his guitar for my sister and I, and we'd sing along together to hits by Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and on and on. These are moments that I remember very fondly, but which also make me nauseous and dizzy with what my sister and I might have missed out on all these years without our dad. The thought that he actually knew something about something, and had this passion for music that we could have shared, well, it's all a bit too much at times.
As a kid, I wanted to think that my dad was a huge dork for liking that music, but secretly I loved it so much. The way the harmonies fit together, they way that we could belt it out because the pace was just right and the lyrics were simple and strong. Today, it just takes one bar of one song to set my stomach in knots and bring tears to my eyes; "Walk the Line," "Islands in the Stream," "The Gambler," and "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" are definitely on the stomach-churning list.
"Give My Love to Rose" is another one of these songs. Rose was my dad's nickname for my mom. She hated it with a fierce passion, and to this day will cringe at the reminder of that name. But I remember Dad singing this song with his guitar and his honky tonk voice, and to me I guess it represented how much he loved her. Even if that wasn't true, that's what I chose to believe and so that song is more that just a song. There are probably similar affiliations for all of these songs that tear at my heart, but I'm not sure I want to go there, and I'm damn sure none of you want me to. Eat that Dr. Freud.
I'm glad that they made this movie, and that it turned out to be really good. I think sitting in a dark theater, hearing all the songs together at one time, and focusing on the film, instead of on the memories that my mind wants to associate the songs with, might have been therapeutic. At the risk of jumping on the bandwagon, I think it's time to pick up a copy of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and get re-acquainted with this true and soulful legend of rock & roll.
Did I mention that Joaquin Phoenix is totally HOT? Trust me, see the flick.