Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ray 

The Girl and I caught a late showing of Ray this past weekend. It was good, but a little long. A friend of mine saw it before we did and warned that "If he had been on heroin for ten more years, we'd still be in the theater."

Ray follows the most tumultuous years of Ray Charles' career, from when he first set out to make a living on the road as a musician, through his growth and success as a commercial artist, as well as his years of addiction and eventually road to recovery from heroin. Through flashbacks, we also see him as a child, dealing with the loss of both his younger brother and his eyesight, and how he deals with both of those events throughout his life.

Jamie Foxx does a great job as Ray, who you probably won't particularly like through much of the movie, but you'll end up admiring him and rooting for him to grow beyond his own flaws. He's already been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor: Musical or Comedy, and won the National Board of Review award for Best Actor. While we're on the subject of awards, the film itself was chosen as one of the NBR's Top 10 Films of the Year, and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture: Musical or Comedy.

I think it deserves the nominations, but I don't think the film should get the top award. It was definitely long, and not in the fashion of, "Wow, was it really 2-1/2 hours? It just flew!" More like, "Okay, I get it, move on." But what really bothered me was the frequency with which the microphone, and occasionally the boom from which it was suspended, drifted into the top of the frame! The first time I noticed it was during the hummingbird scene, but it made several appearances throughout the rest of the film. I felt like I was watching Dark Shadows or Star Trek (the original series). There's just no excuse for a mainstream, well-funded movie to have visual errors like that in the final cut. Would it have been that hard to fix it? It just made me feel like I was watching out takes instead of the feature presentation.

On an up note: C.J. Sanders, in his film debut, was amazing as Ray as a child. But the performance of note for me was Regina King, as Margie Hendricks - one of the Raylettes, and one of Ray's long-term on-the-road lovers. You may remember her first as the wife of Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character (which earned Gooding a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) in Jerry Maguire. She burned up the screen (especially in the "Hit the Road, Jack" sequence), and even when her character wasn't actually on screen but was the subject of dialogue, I could still picture the character. Great performance.

Check it out, but don't go when you're hungry or tired.

Reality Check: The Girl liked it, loved the music, but didn't think it was anything spectacular. She didn't notice the microphone issue at all, so maybe I'm just obsessive about that kind of thing...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:03 PM