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Feature Films

Jamie Foxx: RayRay

Directed by Taylor Hackford

Jamie Foxx’s powerhouse, Oscar-winning performance as Ray Charles left me speechless the first time I saw it. Literally. You can ask my roommate at the time, I didn’t say a word after we left the theater until the next morning. Ray achieves what all biopics set out to do, and rarely accomplish: condense an incredibly complex life story into a 2+ hour feature film. Though hugely emotional, it never gets bogged down in sentimentality. You walk away from this film with a renewed appreciation for the flawed, human genius of one of our greatest artists.


Almost FamousAlmost Famous

Directed by Cameron Crowe

For someone who feels pretty strongly that they were born in the wrong decade, this movie offers a two-hour window into a bygone world. It may be romanticized, and it may be embellished, and you might be hard-pressed now to find someone who can’t recite at least one quote from it, but it’s a classic for a reason. The casting is perfect – ranging from the beguiling Kate Hudson as Penny Lane, to Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the coolest of the “uncool” Lester Bangs. And the soundtrack could stand alone as a work of art.


I'm Not ThereI’m Not There

Directed by Todd Haynes

The first time I watched this film it was with more than a little hesitation, I was actually pretty sure I would hate it. Being a huge fan of Dylan’s I am always skeptical of attempts to explain or interpret him, but Todd Haynes’ managed to make a film that is as complex, intriguing, and enigmatic as Dylan himself. I don’t know what it would be like to watch this movie without knowing at least the basic trajectory of Dylan’s life. So for that reason I would recommend reading at least a biography or his own Chronicles just to help put some of the pieces together. But even then, a lot of the pieces will resist your best attempts. Like Dylan’s music, I think this movie is a very personal experience. It means something different to just about everyone and that’s how it should be. You can watch it a million times and find something new that you hadn’t noticed or understood before. It is incredibly well done and exceptionally powerful.

That Thing You Do!That Thing You Do!

Directed by Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks’ feel-good homage to a simpler era in rock & roll is a must have for any music fan. The tale of the brief rise and fall of The Wonders (or the Oneders) is just an all-around good time. The soundtrack is absolutely kickin’ and the film is excellently cast. If the scene when the band hears “That Thing You Do” on the radio for the first time doesn’t give you the biggest, stupidest grin from ear to ear then man, I just can’t help you. Hanks’ sheer love for the music shines through every scene, as he said when he kicked off the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Anniversary concerts: “Hail, hail rock & roll!”

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