has an average rating of 6.9 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
are ALL in Hi Def with BD-Live
– 96 mins (Theatrical) / 120 mins (Unrated)
Buy it for $23.95 @ Amazon.com
— Review written by Justin Sluss
The Movie Itself is an obvious parody mainly of “Walk The Line” which told the life story of Country music legend Johnny Cash. The screenplay was Co-wrote by Judd Apatow (of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” fame) and Jake Kasdan who also Directed the film. The film tells the tale of a boy (who becomes a man) named “Dewey Cox” (played by John C. Reilly) who accidentally kills his brother “Nate” in a pretend sword fight with machetes. Dewey ends up cutting poor little Nate clear in half which is honestly downright hilarious in a goofy unrealistic way. This leads to Dewey‘s father saying for the first of many times (throughout the movie) “The wrong son died” which bares a some risky resemblance to the life of Johnny Cash as told by the film this is parodying, “Walk The Line.”
After he, his mother and father are told the bad news by the local doctor that Nate has died from a really bad case of being cut in half, Dewey loses his sense of smell which has no relevance what-so-ever in the film or me telling you in the synopsis. Personally I just found it funny and so off Dewey‘s mom sends him to the store to get some butter and a candle. It’s in the local general store that our lead character encounters an elderly black blues singer playing and asks him what kind of music that is. Dewey soon finds out it’s called “the blues” and he reckons he might be able to play it himself. What follows is absolute pure comic gold in the most campy, goofy way possible, he begins to sing a blues song about cutting his brother in half in an extremely older man’s voice (not that of the child playing the young Dewey Cox). This is just the beginning of it all folks, not just the funny spoofs on things like that but the music career for our leading man soon follows. After he plays his local talent show at the age of fourteen (in which John C. Reilly plays the character, yes you read correctly) with a song he wrote called “Hold My Hand” things start to really go both good and bad for him at the same time.
With such suggestive lyrics and a title like “Hold My Hand” it’s no wonder people soon declare it’s the “devil’s music.” Dewey claims it’s just a song about holding hands but the local preacher reminds him that someone else has hands, THE DEVIL! So it comes from this that Dewey‘s father kicks him out of his home and he’s forced to move out on his own and start a family at age fourteen with a twelve year old wife and already a couple kids. It’s only a matter of time before Dewey strikes it big, gets some attention from the jews who as we all know control show business and next thing you know he’s recording his hit song “Walk Hard” (an obvious parody of Johnny Cash‘s “Walk The Line“) that actually I have to admit isn’t that bad.
It’s pretty obvious that this movie takes itself not the slightest bit serious yet it does pull off some outrageous laughs in an effort of “ballsy” comedy (pun intended). This is the type of film just like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” , “Knocked Up” or “Superbad” (all of which Judd Apatow had some part in) that just isn’t for everyone and going to be subject to criticism from the closed minded audience and/or critics. I say give it a watch before you start to bash it. This obviously isn’t the best comedy ever by any means but it’s totally worth the watch for the laughs. “Walk Hard” turned out to be much more funny that I really ever expected it to be so I definitely give it that.
John C. Reilly does an amazing job of carrying the film as the lead actor for once in his career and we get some amazing performances from the co-stars which include Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Harold Ramis and Jonah Hill. We also get cameos of actors or musicians taking on the roles of past musical legends. For instance “The Beatles” are all there with Jack Black (as Paul), Paul Rudd (as John), Justin Long (as George) and Jason Schwartzman (as Ringo). There’s Jack White (of “The White Stripes“) portraying Elvis and even Frankie Muniz as Buddy Holly. Real life musicians like Jewel, Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder and even The Temptations all make cameos in this film.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte Dual-Layered Blu-ray Disc). This was filmed using the Panavision Genesis HD Cameras which just like on “Superbad” really resulted in a wonderful High Definition transfer to Blu-ray Disc. There’s a slight bit of film grain added post-production digitally I believe which works nicely. The black levels is solid (like the film’s title track “Walk Hard“), flesh tones are awesome and we get an extremely vibrant color palette. I’m really impressed with what Panavision Genesis HD Camera material looks like transfered to Blu-ray Disc as you can probably tell from of my past reviews of titles that used that particular camera. Some of the darker (less lit) scenes do seem to hold a little bit more grain than the brighter scenes which does lead me to to think maybe the 35mm negatives were used after all and that’s why we get the film grain? Either way this looks really great and is sure to leave you pleased with the Hi Def visual presentation, so much so that I’ll give it a “5 Star Rating.”
Audio Quality on this release is in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Two very important things in this film are the dialogue and music in the form of Dewey Cox‘s songs and the Score. Both the dialogue and music are delivered perfectly here in this Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix. You’ll notice an excellent rear channel presence throughout the film which really helps set the vibe during the musical numbers even if it does end up being a goofy vibe. Very good amount of bass presence found here, good dynamic range and LFE all the way in this audio presentation. It’s not exactly “demo material” but it does an amazing job of delivering the film’s sound and very easily earns itself a “4 1/2 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials included on the first disc with the two different versions of the film (Theatrical & Unrated) include the following:
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer Judd Apatow, Director Jake Kasdan, Star John C. Reilly & Lew Morton
- “BD-Live” is presented here making it’s first appearance on a Sony Pictures new Blu-ray Disc release. For those of you that don’t know about “BD-Live” I’ll explain that it uses newer Blu-ray Disc Players (with ethernet ports) and/or Sony PlayStation 3 (as a BD Player) in what’s dubbed “Profile 2.0” to allow INTERNET CONNECTIVITY to download new content to your player. The content ranges from specific extra exclusive bonus materials for the film itself to Blu-ray Disc trailers in both HD (1080p) and SD (480i) resolutions and the same for upcoming and/or current Sony Pictures theatrical releases.
Disc 2 contains well over 2 hours of bonus materials presented in 1080p High Definition using AVC MPEG-4 for video and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo for sound.
- Full Song Performances (41 minutes total runtime) includes 16 different songs in their full length performance. If you enjoyed the music of the film you’re going to absolutely love this!
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (19 minutes) are really worth the watch and full of laughs
- Line-O-Rama (6 minutes) is tons of outtakes and/or alternate lines for the memorable dialogue from the film. This proves to be extremely funny.
- A Christmas Song From Dewey Cox (3 minutes) is an obvious parody of Elvis Presley‘s rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” except Dewey won’t be home for X-Mas as he proceeds to sing to his family (who aren’t there but his band are).
- Cox Sausage Commercials with Outtakes (2 minutes) is self-explanatory, NOT. After his career is pretty much at a slow point later on Dewey decides to start his own brand of frozen sausages like Jimmy Dean or something. Pretty funny stuff but really silly to be honest.
- Song Demos is a virtual jukebox of all the different original and alternate song demos to the songs wrote for the film. It even includes an alternate take of “Guilty As Charged” in demo form sung by John C. Reilly.
- Tyler Nilsion: A Cockumentary (6 minutes) is NOT worth watching honestly but the premise is hilarious I will give Apatow that. This focuses on the extra that does a full frontal nude scene in the film and how they came to cast him. It breaks down into interviews with the cast, Tyler Nilson the man with the penis and even an in-depth interview with his penis itself. As I said earlier, this really isn’t worth watching but for a laugh for a couple minutes. 6 minutes of talk about penis is too much for me.
- Bull on the Loose (4 minutes) is a behind-the-scenes look at the scene early in the film when a young Dewey and his brother are running from a loose bull. Not really all that entertaining to be honest, granted it doesn’t involve the male reproductive organ like the previous featurette I didn’t care for either.
- The Music of “Walk Hard“ (16 minutes) is self-explanatory. This is just a behind-the-scenes look at what went into getting the music wrote for the film and John C. Reilly to sing it so brilliantly. Yes you read correctly, John C. Reilly sings all the music in this film as you’ll learn here.
- The Making of Walk Hard“ (15 minutes) again is self-explanatory and we get to hear that Judd Apatow‘s motive for co-writing and producing this film was to get nominated for an Oscar which is downright hilarious. You have to love Apatow‘s sense of humor on all his bonus materials, funny guy.
- The Real Dewey Cox (14 minutes) includes interviews with John C. Reilly and tons of various modern musical artists, some of which appear in the film. This isn’t real by the way as you’ll soon catch on and start laughing, again very Apatow!
- The Last Word With John Hodgman: Dewey’s Last Interview (26 minutes) is self-explanatory as usual, very funny and worth the watch.
Overall these bonus materials are VERY IMPRESSIVE even without the addition of the new “BD-Live” internet connectivity. They include over 2 hours of High Definition bonus materials on the 2nd Blu-ray Disc. This is going to really really really leave the fans of the film pleased with their purchase in more ways than one.