November 04, 2004

Gratuitous Llama Movie Plug

If you haven't yet, may I strongly recommend that you go see "Ray" - the new movie about the life of Ray Charles. Abso-freakin-lutely fantastic. Jamie Foxx sticks Charles' mannerisms perfectly. And of course, the sound track is positively bitchin'.

I have no idea how accurate the bio materials are. But I assume that no one would be brazen enough to invent, for example, the drowning of Charles' brother when he was a little boy. And I'd heard before of his womanizing and heavy drug use. Whether and what the psychological connection might be among these items and the music he produced - heavily emphasized by the film - I simply cannot say. (The reason I'm slightly dubious is because a similar technique was used - with hilariously inaccurate results - in "Amadeus" many years ago.) On the other hand, from what I do know, the film is very good at exploring the roots of Charles' style - gospel, R&B and country - and the manner in which he fashioned them into a new sound.

Oh, one other very refreshing thing - no preaching. Not about handicaps, not about current events, not even about race. Charles' sharecropper background is treated as a matter of biographical fact, not as a platform for moral outrage. In fact, even the scene in which Charles refuses to play a segregated concert and gets himself banned from Georgia is handled without sanctimoniousness and hyper-piety. And as for the drug use that eventually drove him almost over the edge in the 60's, Charles is the victim of his own demons.

Seriously, go see this movie.

Posted by Robert at November 4, 2004 08:40 AM | TrackBack

Reportedly, Ray Charles worked with the filmmakers on the script and spent several months working with Jamie Foxx on the characterization. I'd have to assume that it's as accurate as possible--at least from Charles' point of view.

Posted by: John at November 4, 2004 12:23 PM

I scanned the credits to see if there might be any kind of attribution. I didn't see one, but that doesn't mean anything.

I can readily believe Charles coached Foxx. What amazed me is what a good actor Foxx actually is - I'd never thought of him in any way other than in terms of silly sketch comedy and sit-coms. But he was fantastic here.

Posted by: Robert the LB at November 4, 2004 02:04 PM
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