Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

January 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

I always preface a review of a comedy by saying comedy is subjective. What is funny to me may not by funny to you. For example, I can’t stand Seltzerberg movies but they all make a ton of money so what do I know. Who am I tell tell you those movies aren’t funny if you got a laugh out of them? I mention Seltzerberg movies because they are the reason I didn’t see this movie when it came out. They probably were the boat anchor that kept this movie from being bigger than it could have been. The Seltzerberg crowd probably didn’t see Walk the Line and took a pass on this movie because of it. People who liked Walk the Line or Johnny Cash in general probably felt like this was another stupid parody movie like Meet the Spartans and avoided it like the plague. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

This is a parody movie. But it doesn’t parody Walk the Line exclusively. It really doesn’t parody that movie at all. I know that’s hard to believe considering the name of the movie. It’s more of a love letter to popular music and trends over the last 50 years. The music in the movie isn’t exclusively a Johnny Cash parody. One could argue it’s not a parody at all, just really good music. The title song, Walk Hard isn’t really funny persay. It’s just a good song written in a Johnny Cash style. Duet  is funny for it’s healthy use of doubt entendre, but it’s not a parody. Really, it’s just a movie with a lot of good songs.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is about, well, Dewey Cox, played brilliantly by John C. Reilly. The rest we get his whole life story played out in flashback is because “Dewey Cox needs to think about his whole life before he plays.” This really is every behind the music you have ever seen. As a boy he cut his much more promising brother in half accidentally. As a result of the trauma he lost his sense of smell. His brothers ghost pops up periodically  to remind him to be double good for the both of us. Then later on to mock Dewey for being a loser.  Introducing the most modest form of rock music makes the teens in his rural area drug and sex crazed. He takes his 12 year old girlfriend and leaves to make a music career with himself at 14. His father is quick to remind Dewey that “the wrong kid died.”

As his career takes off he meets every major figure in music, from Elvis to the Beatles. Of course, he has to address them by full name and remind them the names of their hit songs. In most musical biopics, this is just sloppy writing. In Walk Hard its done in a humorous way to point out the sloppy writing in musical bio pics.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the movie because you really should see it for yourself. Dewey Cox has a wild life and career spanning the decades. Pretty much anything that happened to a major musician happened to him, other than ending up broke. The movie is long enough as it is so it probably would have taken too much for him to lose all his money then bounce back. Probably would have taken more than it would have been worth and not been that funny anyway. Drugs, sex, martial infidelity, arrests, Dewey Cox does it all. In the end, he is honored by some kind of gathering of musicians. At this point, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam makes an appearance in this movie! Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands ever. How this movie got off my radar is behind me but it was worth it alone to hear Eddie Vedder say “What do we think of when we think of Cox?” It would be like hear Tito Santana swear. It was way too cool of a personal moment for me in this movie.

I’m not going to explain the jokes or spoil the movie. Fortunately, you can watch the whole thing for yourself at the link below for free. So please watch this movie. I feel the more people who find this movie the better. This has cult classic written all over it.



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