Hermits Rock

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a rock star in possession of a good band and rockin’ tunes, must be in want of a substance to abuse.

I should take my cues from Laura and be more parsimonious.

The other night we watched Walk the Line; Reese stole that movie from Joaquin Phoenix and two-stepped all over his Black-wearing Boom-chica-Boom-ness. Pace Phoenix, you did a real good job, honest you did. However, without the luminescent Witherspoon your movie would’ve been just another movie about a music giant who sold everything to make the music he wanted and in the process became addicted to drugs ( Ray ), died in an airplane crash ( The Buddy Holly Story / La Bamba), or married his under-aged cousin ( Great Balls of Fire ). And take heed, though the jury’s still out on Foxx’s career, Busey (take heart, IMDB does not agree with my assesment), Phillips, and Quiad faded away after their bio-music-pix-hotness.

No Reese isn’t the ugly leading lady some people want, but she was neither legal nor blond in this one… she was strong, tenacious, and real… emphasis on down to earth and real. Though I enjoyed Legally Blond, in all it’s shimmering pink, refused to watch Sweet Home Alabama, and thought Election a smart, creepy movie, I never really thought her an ACTRIX till this flick. I mean, she would’ve always ranked higher than Keanu, but never an Ingrid Bergman. Well, she’s still below Ingrid Bergman… but who isn’t?

Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman,
let’s go make a picture
On the island of Stromboli, Ingrid Bergman
Woody Guthrie

Walk the Line was a good movie. But I felt I’d already seen it several times. I’m not only talking about Ray but also the fictional, non-bio-pic Hustle and Flow and the docu-flick about Wilco I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.

Each and every single one of these movies teach one lesson… the star must be tenacious as a dog: whether scratching or sniffing out and chasing down their prize.

...man ain’t like a dog.
And when I say “man,”
I’m talking about man
as in mankind, not man as in men.
Because men,
well, we a lot like a dog…

You must give everything to the muse… and tour, tour, tour. Inevitably, in the process of selling your soul and touring around the world promoting your music, a band member will give you drugs and your life, little more than a silver ‘55 Porsche Spyder, will careen out of control. Upon entering rehab you come to grips with the guilt you feel over the death of your brother. Biographical truth aside, that is, the biographical truth of the death of a sibling and the guilt felt by Charles and Cash aside, both movies seem to strike a false note when they so closely weave the recovery process with working out of the family psycho-drama—guilt isn’t the sole etiology of their addiction.

Suzanne, could I talk to you?
Deal with your feelings before they deal with you.
Do you always talk in bumper stickers?
Addiction isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. – You do. – Until you remove the solution…
...you can’t see what the problem is.
Postcards from the Edge

There is one difference between the two bio-pix and the purely fictional Hustle and Flow, though, the first two are also cautionary tales. Look what will happen to you and your loved ones because you’ve gone and whored yourself to fame.

But this truth is always mitigated by the Hollywood ending. Ray especially gilds the pill with it’s bi-cameral ending traversing his status as persona non-grata in Georgia with his faithful and admiring wife in tow. Never did such a ceremony occur; Jim Crow Georgia, though, I’m sure they came up with myriad punitive measurs never banned him; and, his wife had already left him, disgusted with his philandering.

We want the fame… we know we need to prostitute ourselves to the fame, to hustle and flow it to get it; but it’s like a drug and will consume us and those around us. How badly do you want it?

Jeff Tweedy also underwent rehab for painkillers, ostensibly prescribed to help him manage his migraines. He suffers from migraines and debilitating anxiety attacks… For one fleeting moment in the documentary about how they sold everything to make their groundbreaking Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, we see Tweedy bent over the toilet, the camera awkwardly balanced on the stall wall to get the musician as his head dips into the porcelain bowl retching. The camera man asks if it’s the medication. He says no, it’s his migraines. And that’s that. Four years after the footage, or so, he checked into rehab.



I think Joachin has more staying power than you insinuate. If nothing else, he’s got a permanent role in movies by that “Understudy of Suspense” Shyamalan.

you’re right he has much more range as an actor than quaid… eventhough enemy mine was a pretty good movie.

and he’s got a brooding quality that busey doesn’t have.

now he just needs a drug addiction.

but, still, RW shown, shined, showned in that movie.

man, i love the folsom prison album… as i do the song, I’m goin’ to Jackson. i think no to singers have more chemistry than june and johnny in that song!

come to think of it… i shouldn’t’ve used Jane Austin as my opening salvo but Moby Dick

Call me Johnny. The Johnny still retains the outcast, rebelliousness of Ishmael and it too is a story of obsession. Plus it paraphrases Hi, I my name is Johnny Cash.

“I’m goin’ to Jackson” makes me so proud.

Even though it’s a song about a hillbilly who knows so little about good times that Jackson’s the best place he can think to go?

Joaquinn is two ticks away from a nervous breakdown, right? Would that make up for an apparent lack of drug addiction?

Drug addictions are a bit more romantic though, I guess.

Exactly right. Jackson is the high point of romance for all who pass through this garden of love and magnolia.

Yeah, I think JP’s got some super-high anxiety problems, but that’s not nearly as sexy as heroin or cocaine—or better, heroin and cocaine.

ahh now! you’ve gone and done it G!

droppin’ River’s name is like droppin’ Himmler’s…

btw, Are we talking about Jackson, Mississippi? I used to drive through there to and from HU, and I couldn’t see anything but strip malls and baptist churches. What in God’s name could one do there at any time of the day?

I think that’s JRB’s point, JH. The only thing fun to do there is get laid.

No wonder it was teeming with little ones.

With regards to that museum article…ugh. I wish there was some way the social sciences could be banned from the university. They don’t seem to teach the difference between causation and corelation in these places. I remember one similarly ballyhoo’ed study by some young Harvard hotshot which sought to determine whether black children with black names fared worse in life than blacks with white names. They found that they did fare worse, but that blacks with black names were overwhelmingly concentrated in poor neighborhoods, so their poor performance could in no way be pinned on their name. Reading that put me in such a bad mood for the rest of the day, knowing that they probably spent enough money on that study to pay my student loans 10 times over. It shouldn’t have even made it past the brain-storming, scribbling-on-paper-napkins-in-the-local-diner-stage.

and now it’s happened… see if you banter enough, somebody’s gonna let their guard down and rant about something.

I was provoked. Linking to that article was like waving a red flag.

That hotshot social scientist was from Chicago, Steven Levitt, right? That was one of the weirder chapters in Freakonomics, actually, but they were real careful not to confuse causation with correlation. If the argument reached any conclusions, it was that that baby names (and their spellings) correlate among social class and percolate down, across classes, over time.

Nah, this guy is at Harvard. He was profiled in NYT magazine a while back, that’s where I found out about the study.

Yeah, that’s Leavitt. He had a superhott fellowship at Harvard, some kind of young genius thing, then was handed tenure at Chicago, where he teaches now. Dubner, who co-wrote Freakonomics, also wrote the NYT essay.

No, it CAN’T be him, because the guy I’m talking about is black. See what you made me do? You made me bring his race into it. The baby Jesus is going to spit on you yet again.

Jackson, Mississippi: It’s a lovely place to live but you wouldn’t want to visit here.

(Jackson was really on its way in the world until Grant burned it four times. Our post-bellum nickname is Chimneyville. Charming, no?)

Instead, we’re moving on up to the CAPITAL of the Confederacy. Stand by….

Roland Fryer. He cowrote the article with Levitt. Also see this story about it from CBS news.

Now that’s some seriously adept googling.

He’s still going to spit on you (and me as well) for hijacking J’s beautiful thread.

the thing that get’s me… jh’s rant aside… is where northwest arkansa boy, who's spent the last few years of his life in glorious iowa city, of all places, gets off dumpin’ on jackson!

just because you live in the jackson of the corn belt doesn’t give you any right to turn yankee on poor jrb’s butt and burn his city down yet again.

do you think they’ll do a study of the civil war and biblical first names?

i apologize to both laura, ms. midwest, and kathy, our local yank.

True dat. I’m playing a bit loose with JRB today… He let you slander me on his blog.

Then again, it is Jackson we’re talking about here that must count for something.

Did you notice that for the longest time Elrod had us on his blogroll at Pax Fellowship. I just don’t think he could bring himself to write it. We have a fine, fine backstory for “Fellas,” but that’s neither here nor there.

I saw that, too. In other weird linkages, GKB has us as “Hermit’s Rock,” even though we don’t actually possess a rock.

Nor are you singular.

That should read, “even though none of us actually possess a rock.” Singular/plural and all that.

Pwnd by JH!

Is it just me, or were other people unable to read the Roland Fryer page without hearing Tracy Morgan’s voice?

how much more heresy can this thread take?!!

you, GKB, are a role model, so watch your references!

You make me almost want to see the movie. I hated Legally Blond, and nearly cursed my way through Sweet Home Alabama . . . so I could not bear the thought of Witherspoon with Johnny Cash!!!

My wife went to see the movie with a friend from our cell group. She ranted about it as well.

I told her I was waiting on X-Men 3.

Hope that makes sense.

Bobby Valentine

I agree with J that Walk the Line is worth seeing, and RW is really good in it, but ever since K & I saw it, we’ve preferred gushing about Joaquin.

i too would say go see it. i was, i think too harsh on the movie in this. but that’s cuz i didn’t know what i wanted to say except that there fame is a doubled edged sword that those who seek it fall on time and again… except maybe hanks (though he too is divorced).

it is a very well done movie about redemption and the family psycho-drama is more nuanced than ray, though it still has the stock characters of the harsh father.

the scenes of cash and religion are particularly interesting and well-acted.

after writing that, i realized what a banal statement it’s a movie about redemption. what hollywood movie isn’t about redemption? (and typically the cheap kind… but, this is where Walk the Line does it better than Ray... recovery and love and community and the ugliness of addiction are, i think, presented more truthfully than Ray)

Well if “fame is a double edged sword” that some fall onto I can sleep easy tonight. No one in my family has ever been famous or infamous, :-)

Bobby Valentine
Stoned-Campbell Disciple


I have not seen a movie in so long that I do not even really remember the last time. Last weekend’s Easy Money viewing had to be aborted due to DVD player malfunction, but we’re going to try again tonight (hurray for weeklong interlibrary loan).

Of course, I might be hard put to define that as a movie of artistic quality.

As for Jackson, I only know it from the ouvre of Lucinda Williams.