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PCR #405 (Vol. 8, No. 52) This edition is for the week of December 24--31, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The Keys To A Great Vacation, Part One  by William Moriaty
"Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"  by Mike Smith
Soggy Noodle Awards - First Annual  by Andy Lalino
Time Warp Toy Box: Week 4  by ED Tucker
We've Come A Long Way, Baby -- Or Have We? From 1972 To 2007  by Lisa Ciurro
Hitler Is Good?... NFL Gets It Right .... Story Of The Year  by Matt Drinnenberg
The Year That Was .... Thanks For Everything .... Finally! .... Fanboy Calendar .... They Said It .... Passing On .... Sorry I Missed You, Part 2 ....  by Mike Smith
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Starring: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows and Raymond J. Barry
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 36 mins

Charles Chaplin. Clark Gable. Gene Kelly. James Stewart. Spencer Tracy. Jack Lemmon. Lee Marvin. Alan Arkin. Walter Matthau. Woody Allen. Richard Dreyfuss. Dudley Moore. Dustin Hoffman. Peter O’Toole Michael Caine. James Garner. Robin Williams. Tom Hanks. Can you guess what these eighteen actors have in common.? If you said they were all nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for a true comedic performance then step to the head of the class. That’s right. In the more than 380 nominations for Best Actor, only 18 came from comedies. Of these nominees, only Gable (“It Happened One Night”), Marvin (“Cat Ballou”) and Dreyfuss (“The Goodbye Girl”) took home the prize. Heck, the only Oscar Chaplin won was for his music. I bring this up because in a just world, the 19th nominee would be John C. Reilly for his performance in “Walk Hard.”

On a sunny day, young Nate Cox is practicing hard at the piano, ignoring his younger brother, Dewey’s, pleas to play. Finally, Nate gives in and the two spend the day having adventure after adventure. Tragically, Dewey kills his brother when the two begin dueling with machetes. Discovering the tragedy, Pa Cox (Barry) can only mutter, “The wrong kid died.” Using the tragedy as a stepping stone, Dewey Cox (Reilly) begins a musical career that will take him to the top of the charts, to the bottom of depression and back to the top again. After being expelled from high school because he sang a song suggesting a young lady hold his hand, fourteen-year-old Dewey heads to the big city, where he finds himself sweeping floors at the local dance club. When the lead singer of the house band can’t perform, Dewey volunteers to take his place, lending his vocals to “You’ve Got To Love Your Negro Man.” Dewey’s performance catches the ear of a record executive, who signs him to a contract. Unable to find a suitable song, Dewey sits down and writes the catchy country hit “Walk Hard.” And so the legend begins.

Inspired by recent biopics like “Ray” and “Walk the Line,” “Walk Hard” is a comedic look at those films and others that portray their characters as saints and not real people. And what makes “Walk Hard” so funny is the seriousness in which the filmmakers approached the project. It’s almost as if they are playing each scene straight, making the laughs come even quicker. It is the true comedian that can make you laugh and think at the same time and here Reilly nails every line. Whether back stage with a karate-kicking Elvis (the White Stripes’ Jack White) or discovering himself in India with the Beatles (played to perfection by Jack Black, Jason Schwartzman, Justin Long and an incredible Paul Rudd), Dewey’s life and career seem to be constantly in turmoil. The supporting cast is just as funny, with Fischer matching Reilly bit for bit as the seemingly innocent singer who joins Dewey’s show. Their featured song together, “Let’s Duet,” is a hilarious tune full of double meaning. In fact, this is the best batch of songs written for a comedy since Paul Williams penned the tunes for “Ishtar.” The film is also full of fun cameos. Besides the aforementioned Beatles you’ve got Frankie Muniz as Buddy Holly, Harold Ramis as one of a trio of Jewish record producers and “Superbad’s” Jonah Hill as Dewey’s spiritual inspiration. Throw in real musicians like Eddie Vedder, Lyle Lovett and Jackson Browne and the songs and laughs never end.

So while your fingers are crossed for John C. Reilly and that lucky 19th nomination, take the time to go see a true American legend, Mr. Dewey Cox. On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Walk Hard”

This week's movie review of "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.