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Ray, Friday Night Lights and possibly the most crushing song ever

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:53 am

We watched Ray last night. Before I get started on the movie, I’d like to point out that it showcased the Wurlitzer electric piano, though his models were, I believe a 140 (around “What’d I Say”) and later a 200(A) (“Hit the Road, Jack”), not the 206A or the 203W. The movie was definitely worth seeing. The story is good; I’ve seen better man-stuggles-with-drugs stories and better man-overcomes-disabilities-despite-what-people-may-think and better man-cheats-on-wife-repeatedly-but-in-the-end-doesn’t-want-to-lose-her stories. But add some great music scenes in and you have a pretty good movie. Jamie Foxx just about is Ray Charles. There weren’t any points when I thought the actual Ray Charles was on the screen, but it was close. Does he deserve the Oscar? I don’t know. Take away the acting-just-like-Ray and you have a decent, but not incredible, guy-on-heroin, which I’ve seen better (um, Requiem for a Dream). And the acting-just-like-Ray is basically a spot-on impression. Guys at comedy clubs making $25 a night do spot-on impressions. Heck there was a kid at this Boy Scout camp that I went to that did a spot-on impression of Brett Weinheimer, the scout-in-charge of the whole camp, that was so good that he fooled many patrols into thinking that Brett was coming to a surpise inspection. Okay okay, Foxx is really good at doing Ray Charles and pretty good at the rest so maybe that’s good enough? Clint Eastwood was really good in Million Dollar Baby but he was probably too stoic in the role to (jennifer) garner (ha!) the award.

I also finished the book Friday Night Lights last night. I’d been stuck on a couple books a couple weeks ago while I was over at a coworkers house playing poker. He’d just finished Friday Night Lights so he lent it to me. The story is a reporter from a Philadelphia newspaper decided that he needed to write a book about high school football in the heartland and moved his family to Odessa, TX. He followed the team for a year and wrote this book. Fans are crazy about the Permian Panthers there and games against the cross town rivals will draw 20,000 fans (to a high school game!). There is a lot of pressure in this town that doesn’t have anything else going for it for the football team to win, but not just win, to go to State. The book was written by a reporter, a journalist, so that shows in both the way its told and also what is told; there is a lot of background to the football, of course, but also included is lots about the town’s economic and social and racial problems. All in all, it’s a pretty easy/ quick read, but it’s not as light as many sports books. I liked it. I would like to qualify a recommendation, however. a) I like sports stories, though I don’t read many of them. I read a lot of those Matt Christopher books as a kid. I was entralled by the BoSox’s story this year. b) I like it when people play for the love of the game. c) I know all about high school football and it’s importance to people. Upper St. Clair had (slightly) more going for it than just football and people didn’t live and die for the team, but it was a football school, in large part. Perhaps the only thing that people talked about as much was the musical in the spring. I never missed a game in high school (I was in the marching band, so I had to be there), including the freezing trip to State my junior year.

(There has been a movie made of Friday Night Lights and the Austin, Texas post-rock group Explosions in the Sky did the original soundtrack. I would sometimes play the soundtrack while reading the book, which is almost like watching the movie.}

I’ve been listening to this song by the Red House Painters called “I’m Sorry,” off of a John Denver Tribute album called Take Me Home and it could possibly be the most crushing song ever. Mark Kozelek’s voice imparts added melancholy to whatever he sings. It’s so good!

2 Responses to “Ray, Friday Night Lights and possibly the most crushing song ever”

  1. Alex Says:

    So, who had the spot-on impression of Golden Brett? :)

  2. Adrian Says:

    Oh I have no idea. This was just some kid from a different troop in a different patrol at JLT (Junior Leader Trainer) in like 1993. At this point, I’m proud enough that I remember Brett’s name.

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