Ray (2005)

I still have a Rolling Stone issue I bought a year ago which lists what they consider the 50 Rock N’ Roll artists whom they call ‘the immortals’. They rank them all from 1st to 50th, and Ray Charles is #10.

I’m sure most of you have seen the movie or rented the DVD by now. I’m glad that the movie was able to show Ray’s influence in music and as well show the hardships as of a musician trying to make it. It was an accomplishment that he made it through being blind. Also it was interesting to see the more personal life of Ray too. It showed that Ray not only had a lot of problems with work and at home, but also the haunting memory of the death of his younger brother.

I admired it most for giving a good insight of the rocky road of being a celebrity musician. The temptations of the music industry can have a lot of dire consequences. There’s often the temptation to cheat and have more than one woman, as Ray did. There’s the temptation to sell off your style and thus disappoint a lot of you fans, as Ray had been tempted to do or was accused of doing. I remember there was one scene where some fans weren’t happy Ray ‘sold out’ to country music, but people forgot that Ray grew up to it. There were also the situation of music execs tempted to be opportunistic with Ray’s blindness and pay him $1 bills while counting them as twenties. And of course there’s the drug abuse which is rampant in rock ‘n roll, as Ray was victim of. The movie also did a good job of showing his heroin ordeal. And heroin is a crazy drug; it puts you in a bubble, slows everything for you down and you’re cut off from the world and all feeling. Basically the movie did a very good job in terms of giving the audience insight.

As for the acting, Jamie Foxx was excellent and it would not surprise me if he won the Oscar. Regina King and Sharon Warren also did excellent jobs and it was too bad they didn’t get recognized with Oscar nods. Taylor Hackford did an excellent job of directing such a complex piece. The script was also good but at times made me feel like I was watching a behind-the-music episode too often. But overall a very well-done and very entertaining movie. It made me feel Ray Charles deserved all those posthumous Grammys on Sunday the 13th.

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