This documentary combines archival footage and interviews to examine the life of one of music's most universal legends, Johnny Cash. The film recounts the events of Cash's life, from his poor beginnings to his celebrity and his battle with drugs. It also delves into how Cash addressed the issues of his day and evolved to be both a patriot and a social activist. Many famous fans of Cash, including... See full summary »
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This is some heavy stuff for a documentary and provides great insight into the man in black
I normally wait a day or two before rating a film. More importantly I like to wait a few days before writing a review so as to take off the edges from the highs and the lows of a film and to fully absorb in my thoughts in the outline why I liked or disliked a film. In the case of this documentary it may be true that the directors Derik Murray, and Jordan Tappis downplayed Johnny Cash's alcohol and substance abuse problems as well as his fancy for the ladies.
Instead this documentary focused more on what made Johnny Cash one of the most beloved musicians of his generation and also cherished by his peers/producers such as Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Merle Haggard, John Mellencamp, Kid Rock, music mogul Clive Davis. and Rick Rubin. From an early age working on his struggling parents farm with Christian music as his life giving staple Johnny Cash showed a knack for singing and writing songs. As with many young men who were going overseas, Johnny Cash met the first love of his life to whom he wrote constantly and they continued to exchange hundreds of love letters until that eventual day that Johnny returned from overseas, married his first love, and rather quickly fathered four (4) daughters.
This documentary is sprinkled with a number of Johnny Cash's most famous songwriting hits and number one (1) producing albums and what were the reason(s) he explained for writing these particular classic songs. As the years progressed and his fame even faster, we discover how Johnny and June Carter became an item first and then eventually after each of their respective divorces these two songbirds married. Johnny and June Carter had two children of their own who also provide insight in this documentary into their parents family relationship, their music and stage partnership and most importantly a love that lasted until eventually June died first and Johnny died only four (4) months later.
I was so intrigued with Johnny Cash's life, his concerts performed in men's high security prisons, his numerous TV specials and why he chose to always perform in black attire. The documentary does note that in the 1980's Johnny's popularity declined sharply as rock music began to rise but little was mentioned about Johnny's appetite for pain-killers which most likely affected his stage performances as well as limiting his writing ability for new material.
This is a wonderful documentary and not to be considered light entertainment. It is heavy personal information into Johnny's early life that provides excellent insight as well as some of his greatest songs that the man in black sings for us, so pay attention and learn something about this gifted singer/songwriter. I give the documentary a perfect 10 out of 10 rating.
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