This movie reminded me of the old Flip Wilson joke in the '60s. "...the court jester (who sounded just like Flip) was trying to convince Queen Isabella of Spain that she should finance Christopher Columbus' crazy adventure, but the queen would have nothing of it...so, the court jester wanting to make his best pitch blurted out "...and Chris gonna find Ray Charles!" If you want to hear that punch line delivered in an uncanny mock of Flip Wilson, call me at the office on Monday and I will be happy to share.
This movie is a masterpiece. I know you think I just got caught up in all the nostalgic music and great acting and then became verklept. Ok, maybe so, but the story of Ray Charles as portrayed by Jamie Foxx will receive numerous Oscar nominations and will be a huge box office hit. There were over 125 folks at an 11:30 am showing and they clapped at the end.
I only got teary-eyed twice, if you count the time I had a flashback to a slow dance in 1965 with a Ray Charles song on the stereo. "What'd I Say" was on the top of the charts when I was a little boy and as a teenager I loved "Georgia" and "Hit the Road Jack." Jamie Foxx was not just playing Ray Charles, he became Ray Charles. Mr. Foxx' life is changed forever because of his performance.
The brilliant screenplay by James L. White takes us back to Ray's childhood of poverty and blindness by age 7 through his musical development, racial segregation, marriage, girlfriends, and his battle with heroin. And his monumental talent and success. The direction by Taylor Hackford and acting by Ray's mother, girlfriend, wife and Ray as a child are all potential nominations. The songs are sung by Ray Charles, but I believed Jamie Foxx was really singing them. And as part of the price of a ticket at my theatre (Loew's) they gave me a DVD entitled "Ray Charles Exclusive Video From the Making of Genius Loves Company." And I love the Raylettes! Rock 'n Roll.