Director: James Mangold
Year Released: 2005
Formulaic recounting of country superstar Johnny Cash's early years: like last year's Ray, it has a troubled lead who (a.) came from poverty, (b.) had marital/commitment issues (notice how the first wife is portrayed as a bitch so the film can legitimize the second marriage to June Carter?), (c.) struggled for recognition and (d.) struggled with drug addiction but fought through all these woes to find love and conquer the music world (both films also conveniently drop off the last third of each of their lives). Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon are both excellent - Witherspoon in particular since I was never convinced she was that astounding as an actress - which is important, considering the script is so hastily cobbled together and obvious the momentum of the movie has to be carried by the performers instead of the plot. Remarkably, director Mark Romanek's three minute video for "Hurt" is more affecting than all two plus hours of this - when I wondered, after the screening, why he didn't direct this biopic, I realized in his own way he already did.