Big Luce and I both have been negligent in our movie viewing lately. The Upper West Side has the largest movie going public in the country with the Loews at 68th Street having the highest seat per screen profit. (I’m a font of useless knowledge that I delight on passing on.) Sometimes I go to Barnes & Noble, get some books and arrive at the theater early, and sit and read before the commercials that lead to the trailers that finally lead to the film. Uh, bliss. I can even walk out if I don’t like the film.
When I reviewed films I didn’t have that option and had to stay alert during some of the worst films ever made.
But tonight Big Luce and I saw Ray. It’s been playing at the Loews 84th street, right across from her house for almost two months. There was always a reason not to see it.
Jamie Fox was sensational. Ray Charles had to have been the most amazing man. I had known his story–how he was the first person–Black or White to own his own masters; how he was a brilliant working junkie and how many children he had by various women. The last was the only thing to be slightly glossed over.
I didn’t expect to feel the tidal wave of emotions that I swept over me. I cried me buckets. I’m going to download every Ray Charles song I don’t already have for the Ipod I’ll own in a month.
Crying gives me a migraine but I’m a totally sentimental person. I cry at the DeBeer Diamond commercial that was filmed in Trafalgar Square as I used to cry at the phone company commercials and the Hallmark ones. And I wouldn’t have bought a Hallmark card then as they were so trite.
Do I write sentimentally? No, of course not. I could take the murder of 20 people and turn it into a police blotter report with a sardonic edge. If I didn’t enjoy being-too-clever-for-my-own-good as a writing teacher once said, I never would have taken up reviewing.
Being clever at other peoples expense grew old quickly. Didn’t matter if we didn’t know each other, I felt for all the independent film makers who had a dream but no vision.
Ray Charles, obviously, couldn’t see but ended with many visions. It was I think the best movie of the year. Even better than The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
An old former friend of Big Luce’s and mine, from our girl-about-town-days, played himself and that was an amazing surprise. We knew that we had been destined to see Ray together.
I’m seeing it again and can’t wait until it comes out on DVD when I’ll buy it. It felt good to see something so soulful.