Dave Gives His List of Favorite Movies About Country Music
I was watching ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’ on cable, when I came to realize that there are a lot of country music-based movies that I’ve enjoyed over the years. That thought inspired me to share my favorite movies about country music. Check out my list, and let me know if I missed any.
Crazy Heart (2009)
‘Crazy Heart’ features brilliant acting, a great soundtrack (Including Oscar and Grammy Award winning ‘The Weary Kind’), and tells a gritty, realistic story of a country music musician Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) forced to reassess his messed up life. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a much younger love interest, and is wonderful in her role.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that Ryan Bingham lends his singing and songwriting talents to the film, and has a nice cameo in the early stages of ‘Crazy Heart’.
Walk the Line (2005)
When you try to make a movie about an American icon like Johnny Cash, you absolutely need a great actor to portray him. Joaquin Phoenix is perfectly cast, and put on a performance that had me at times believing he was actually the Man in Black. Reese Witherspoon is great as June Carter-Cash too.
The story speaks for itself. Johnny Cash’s life story is riveting, amazing, frightening and at times inspiring. All of that was captured incredibly well in ‘Walk the Line’.
Urban Cowboy (1980)
This one may be a stretch to fit the theme of ‘movies about country music’ but it’s largely credited for the genre’s explosion after the demise of the disco era (a.k.a. ‘The Dark Years’). John Travolta opened disco’s door with ‘Stayin’ Alive’, and mercifully closed it with ‘Urban Cowboy’. This movie is more than just about a young man from the country who learns about life and love in a Houston bar. It’s a landmark piece of country culture.
Pure Country (1992)
George Strait. Need I say more? The soundtrack is riddled with country hits, and the story speaks to country music purists, as Strait’s character, Dusty Chandler walks out – literally – of his overdone concerts to find his real country roots. This film came out at the pinnacle of King George’s career, when every song he sang turned to a #1 hit, and so did his film debut.
O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000)
Set in Mississippi in the mid-30’s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure and, to some extent, the meaning of their existence while a relentless lawman chases after them.
Not only is the main song, ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ great, but this Coen Brothers movie features brilliant acting from lead men George Clooney, John Torturro and Tim Blake Nelson. The supporting cast, which includes John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Charles Durning and a slew of other stars, make this movie fun and exciting. In my opinion, the trailer doesn’t do the film justice.
Country Strong (2010)
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, ‘Country Strong’ follows the attempted comeback of a fallen country star. It’s more realistic than I had anticipated, and the acting is better than I could have ever imagined.
Just as I tried to avoid watching this movie in the first place, I tried to keep it off my list of my favorite movies about country music. I failed both times. ‘Country Strong’ is a really good movie. I thought it would be a movie to prop up Paltrow’s phony singing career and give McGraw another reason to irritate me, but I came away with a little more respect for the talent of both. Who woulda thunk it?
This movie was my first real introduction to Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. a singer/songwriter who tries to leave his singer/songwriter roots to be a music “mogul”, and gets tangled up in a bad publishing deal. He enlists a team of cronies, including a young singer and his former singing partner, Blackie Buck, and together they execute his plan to get out of the deal. He gets help from a stereotypical small-time concert promoter.
Coal Miner’s Daughter
Loretta Lynn’s rags to riches story is an amazing and inspiring one, and Sissy Spacek put on the greatest performance of her career in her portrayal of Lynn. And Tommy Lee Jones was great, too. It’s been years since I’ve seen this movie. I think it’s time to watch it again.