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January 02, 2008



This was the only movie I wanted to see over the holidays, but work was insane and we never got over to the rickety old revue in time. It's still on our list. I can't help but crack a smile every time I see John C. Reily as Jim Morrison with his Jeff Spicoli doofus face. :-) Just thinking about it makes me smile. Add to that my fave female SNL'er, Kristen Wiig, and you have a winning formula in my eyes. (I'm rather simple and easy to please in case you couldn't tell.)Stacey


You can't make spoof movies anymore. They died when the studios started making all those horrible ones after Airplane and Naked Gun did well.Also, the trailers looked pretty bad. I didn't even know Jenna was in it. She was barely in the trailers. And if I weren't a Hollywood person, I probably wouldn't have noticed that Apatow was involved. Blame it on bad advertising.


As a fellow Canuck, I can vouch for Don when he says the promos up here leave a lot to be desired and understood where this movie is concerned. In fact, it was the movie poster that tipped me off to it being a satire in the same genre as the Date Movie and Scary Movie. I will have to find one of the promos we see up here online and link to it so you can all see what we're confused by.Stacey

Winnipeg Guy

I enjoyed the movie, it was no 40 Year Old, Knocked Up, or Superbad, or Ancorman...but it was still better than most of what Hollywood tries to pass of as comedies. I shudder to think that if the Wayan Brothers took the same concept they would have had a $60 mllion like their Scary Movie or Epic Movie work. It would have been horrile but the teens would have seen it.

Mike Mac

I just watched Walk Hard a few days ago. I had heard all the positive buzz for a while and friends who had seen it talked it up, but I still went into this movie with really low expectations(and I loved the Apatow summer comedies this year). I think this may have been the worst marketing campaign for a comedy, at least from a trailer perspective, of all time. I thought the movie was funny, despite suffering from a few musical numbers that were neither interesting nor funny. Tim Meadows' riff on marijuana was maybe the funniest minute of any comedy this year, though, and most of the rest of the movie would get a solid 'B'-average in the comedy category. Nevertheless, I was actually surprised to see Jenna Fischer on screen, as I dont recall seeing her in a single one of the awful trailers that focused on a young boy singing blues with an old man's voice and cutting his brother in half, possibly the two flattest jokes of the movie. In an age where comedies are so often inflated by the trailers wasting the only decent jokes in the film, it is hard to pony up $9 to catch a flick whose trailer induces cringes.


The first minute and a half of this trailer (http://youtube.com/watch?v=4yzjtnj8Y3U), right up to where the priest standing up and shouting, is what we see in Canada. Many versions of this 90 seconds, alone with a bit of Kristin and Jenny in tiny clips as their names are announced as stars, are cut and shown in rotation up here. I couldn't tell you how many we see, but they all look pretty much the same, so I'm gonna go with two official versions spliced to hell by tv stations needing to fill certain commerical timeslots.Stacey


I liked the movie, but am not the least surprised by its box office failure. Some reasons:1. Parody of a genre that wasn't exactly crying out for a parody.2. As Ken suggested, young audiences don't really get it. I imagine the core audience for "Walk the Line" and "Ray" was older. They would undoubtedly get the movie if they'd see it, but probably aren't as interested in a spoof (and probably wouldn't care for the full frontal male nudity). Ironically though, the film is not in the "Scary Movie" or "Date Movie" style. It has a strong narrative. I think there's a neither-fish-nor-fowl aspect that may be confusing marketers and audiences alike. 3. Judd Apatow's "brand" is as a maker of two types of films: more-or-less realistic character comedy that blends heart and raunch, and Will Ferrell wackiness. Parody hasn't been in his wheelhouse, and the ads make it clear that "Walk Hard" is nothing like "Knocked Up," "Superbad," et al. 4. The Jim Morrison take-off in the poster probably means nothing to anyone under 40. And it really helps to have some knowledge of rock music history from the '50s to the present to get all the references in the movie, much less the jokes.

Bing Bell

From the promotions it just looked to me like another Saturday Night Live-type skit, stretched into two hours.


By the way, the film is short by recent Apatow standards: only 96 minutes.

Tiny Writer

I enjoyed the movie, it had more than enough laughs to keep me entertained (and some great music to boot!)It does drag a bit in the middle, but I still felt it was worthwhile. That said, it had the WORST ad campaign i've seen in a very long time. The posters were a HUGE misfire - the Jim Morrison thing not only tells you NOTHING about the movie (hell, maybe less than nothing, since it's utterly misleading), but aren't funny in their own right.The previews were also VERY hit and miss, about half funny and half not at best. (the movie itself had a far better joke/hit ratio.)That said, it is an odd little movie, spoofing a fairly esoteric group of conventions (even if recent film history has made them feel more ubiqutious.)The tone is also inconsistent, at times it's extraordinarily broad and slapstick-y, other times it is aiming for a more sophisticated kind of satire where reality is only slightly tweaked.


I liked it. Songs were good and acting was good. It was smartly written smart parody. The problem was that didn't mix with the smutty dick jokes (including the repeated visual one). It was too crudely vulgar to be a good first date movie.


Funnily enough, tim w., the "tastes like Cox" bit didn't make the final cut of the film. That didn't bother me, because frankly (um, no pun intended), most of the Cox puns were pretty weak.

D. McEwan

There's full frontal male nudity? I'm there! God help us if every movie has to be a "Good first date movie" and/or "appropriate" for uptight middle-aged married couples, as I'm neither.I saw part of a promo on cable, with Dewey selling his sausages with "Start every morning with a delicious mouth full of Cox." Best advice I've heard in years. Dick jokes are my bread and butter. Sorry the poster doesn't read to people under 40, but as I'm 57, this is something for my generation, and I'm looking forward to it. It's my "Next see" movie, just as soon as I get over this bronchial infection I got seeing SWEENEY TODD. Folks, stay home if you're sick, like I'm doing right this moment.And if it starred Will Ferrell, I wouldn't go.


Yes, if Will Ferrel were in it a lot more people would go.I would even go.For me the Apatow movies have been getting worse and worse (40 Year Old Virgin is fantastic, Knocked Up good (but with a horribly fake ending), Superbad just okay, and well... this odd little movie that seemed like an SNL sketch (but not a timely one.)


Music parodies suffer from the same problem as sports parodies. The movies are pretty much a parody of themselves.They follow a formulaic plot. The characters are very one dimensional. And they contribute little in the way of new information to even the casual fan.If you have seen two sports and/or music movies, then you have seen them all.

dave w.

Great comments from everybody. I think the criticisms of the marketing effort must be dead on because I love John C. Reilly, I'm old enough to relate to the era, but the promotional efforts have failed to interest me in the slightest. There are at least three movies ahead of Walk Hard on my list. I'll catch it on Pay Per View.

Vermonter 17032

From what I've seen in the marketing and the few reviews I've watched, I have no interest in seeing Walk Hard. And I like John C. Reily. But I don't see him carrying a picture. He's more a supporting cast, character actor. But mostly, who wants to see a spoof of music bio pictures during the holidays anyway? Maybe if the film were released in February when there wasn't as much competition, then it might have done better.


After reading these comments, I'm more apt to lay blame in two areas: marketing and the general audience's lack of openness to the idea of John carrying a movie (any movie, really) in a lead actor capacity. Oh, ye of little faith! I adore John in any role he does, and I happen to think he's rather versitle and talented, so when I first saw the promos I got excited to see him. I would pay to see a man who knows how to act and bring new layers to any character he deems worthy of playing. The man is a pro, and more people need to start cluing into the idea that he will be starring in movies from time to time, not just playing second bananas for his whole career.Sheesh! And we say studio heads pigeonhole and stereotype actors!?Stacey


You need at least 2 of these 3 things to lure people into theaters these days.1. Stars.2. Special Effects.3. Comedy.Walk Hard only had comedy, but I think the marketing and title didn't lead people to that conclusion. As someone who use to work at a theater, you'd be surprised how many people just drive up and look at the marquee and base their decision of what to see on just the title or poster.

pat reeder

I think the problem was that it's a parody of a type of movie whose audience takes them very seriously. To enjoy a parody, you have to be familiar with the source material. You can like dumb action or horror movies and appreciate parodies of them all the more. But the people who went to see "Walk the Line" and "Ray" were adult fans of Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. They took their lives seriously, and didn't think things like drug addiction, blindness, racism and the death of a sibling were appropriate subjects for jokes. Now that I know "Walk Hard" is more a parody of an entire era of popular music than of any one movie, I'm more interested in seeing it. But the trailer made it look like a straight-up goof on "Walk The Line," which made the queasy jokes about killing his brother just seem juvenile and offensive.


It's a farcical comedy making fun of Johnny Cash. He's a hero to a number of people, boarding on demi-god status. "I know, let's make a movie spoofing Elvis!" Yeah, that'll draw an audience. Do they kick puppies over the end credits, too?Comedy is all about making fun of the elite, taking the powerful down a peg. That's why Doctor Strangelove works so well, and Mash: all the authority figures are pompous imbeciles.But making fun of Johnny Cash? A poor boy who fought his addictions and personal monsters to bring music to the world? Yeah, that's a ripe target for a comedic sucker punch.I get the angle of it, mocking the self-importance of pretentious musicians but still, to a lot of people, it looks like a roast of Johnny Cash.


I don't think this movie was making fun of Elvis or Johnny Cash. Its targets are overserious, paint-by-numbers biopics. I thought it was often very funny, and yeah, probably would have done better (financially) if Will Ferrell was in the lead. But hey, it doesn't involve sports, which seems to be a Will Ferrell prerequisite these days.


Let's Duet? Brilliant.Loved Walk Hard. I smiled all the way through.There was a commentary in the LA Times saying that it's because people thought it was spoofing Cash or Ray specifically.That's narrow thinking considering it's penned by Judd Apatow.Anyway I think Cash would have laughed all the way through it.Tim Meadows - "And you never paid for drugs. Ever."He was hysterical.Was it me or did John C sound a little like Roy Orbison at times??Mark B.


It seems to me that releasing an R rated movie over the holidays is a bad idea in itself. I spent the holidays hanging with my kids, we saw I am Legend and National Treasure: stuff a little more family friendly. Had it been the summer when I was looking for a break from the kids, I would have definately went to see Dewey.


Hmm. I put it to just plain bad marketing. This might be a fall guy, though, for an awkward-to-market film. In any case, the trailer didn't get anywhere near convincing me that I'd rather see it than Juno or Enchanted. I put it on my "rent on DVD" list, which is where most comedies end up. There's just not much room for non-action-oriented films in theaters for me.I never saw this as a send-up of Johnny Cash or Ray Charles, for the record. It just seemed too likely to be "dumb" to make it worth taking a chance in the theater. And, I knew, if I was seeing it and thinking borderline-dumb, the whole dumb-movie crowd would be there in the theater annoying me the whole while I was watching the movie, no matter how "smart" it might end up actually being.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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