Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Ray Robinson

I went out to see Ray last night at the cheap theaters in Fairfax City (god bless second-run theaters).

Overall it's a pretty good movie, with an obviously great soundtrack. His drug use is used as a driving force for the movie. His first smoke of pot, his first taste of heroin, and his checking into rehab to get clean create a pretty powerful rhythm and theme for the story. If the movie was fiction instead of about a celebrity the movie would have ended there, but it strangely jumps forward 15 years to his being allowed to play in Georgia again (he was banned from playing in state after refusing to play in front of a segregated audience) and then a set of captions quickly summing up the last years of his life. Unfortunately, any impact made on me by the scenes of struggle in rehab were quickly erased by the tacked-on ending. It is a pretty good movie compared to films about other music stars, though. Details of musical brilliance and how he managed as a blind man, particularly in his early days, are very well done.

Jamie Fox is pretty good in the role, but the one who actually blew me away was C.J. Sanders, the little boy who played Ray in all the flashback scenes. Seeing this kid react when his little brother drowned and then watching him go blind and learn how to move through life without sight was amazing. Perhaps he had a lot of guidance and help from the director, but if the small scenes in this movie are any indication the kid has a lot of talent.

The cheap theater is also running Napoleon Dynamite; depending on my mood I may try to catch that later this week.



Jen said...

Wow, I didn't realize it was even out. I guess the advertising budget was pretty small. Napolean Dynamite was pretty overhyped; depending on how much you're paying at the second-run theater, it might be best to just rent it. I'm really looking forward to seeing The Woodsman, although that is seeing limited release also.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

I have Napoleon Dynamite in my Netflix queue but it's like, number 52 or something. I don't mind that it's so far down since it and Garden State both apparently have "long waits." Overhyped? Darn. I kept hearing how it was sooooo good, etc.

I didn't even realize Ray did drugs, or rather, I suppose I would have suspected weed but not heroin. Damn. (Still recovering from having seen "Requiem for a Dream" over here, ha.)

Hebdomeros said...

Unfortunately, heroin was a big drug of choice in the blues and jazz world. Many of the greats died from heroin overdose in the 50's and 60's.

Yeah, Napoleon's out on video. The cheap theatre costs $3, so it's about the same as a rental. If I'm by myself it's about the same. I've heard nothing but good things about it, but who knows. Went hiking today instead, so I'm a bit tired to go out to Fairfax. Possibly tomorrow.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Where is this second-run theater, by the way? There's a second-run theater near me in Alexandria (well, it used to be, I haven't paid much attention to it recently), but it doubles as an, er, adult theater. (Again, I'm not sure it still does, but...) The idea of going to a second-run theater that also shows, er, adult material (I'm trying not to use the p-word for fear you'll get bad hits!) kind of skeeved me out too much to go there to enjoy cheap flicks (normal flicks, I mean).

I'm generally pretty bad about paying full price for movies.

Jen said...

That's strange--I didn't realize that there was a wait for movies on Netflix, although I guess they only have a limited amount of movies, just like the store.

If Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle isn't too far down the que, you should pick that up. It's pretty stupid funny.

Hebdomeros said...

It's at University Mall in Fairfax City. The shopping center's on Braddock Rd. directly across from George Mason's campus, and the theatre is around the back.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Yep, sometimes there's a wait. Garden State and Napoleon Dynamite are the only ones I have had to wait for thus far... of course, I'm definitely using the flat fee structure to see a lot of the movies I missed over the last couple years. I'm not sure I'm a huge "new release" person, really.

There is no wait for "Resident Evil 2." Ha.

Thanks for the tip on the theater! I need to be saving my pennies a little better than I do.

Hebdomeros said...

Garden State is a good movie and worth the wait. The Woodsman I really want to see at the theatre, but I think it's only showing one place downtown.