How to make a pop-music biopic that doesn’t stink.

Sooner or later, every movie phenomenon earns its corresponding movie spoof: James Bond has his Austin Powers, scary movies have their Scary Movies, and now the pop-music biopic is getting its very own Spaceballs. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, starring John C. Reilly as the titular country-rock legend and produced by the unstoppable Judd Apatow, tweaks the formula that encompasses prestige pictures Walk the Line and Ray but also ill-advised vanity projects such as the recent J.Lo dud El Cantante or Kevin Spacey's hypnotically awful Beyond the Sea.  

To judge by the trailer, Walk Hard promises a Mad Libs version of all the genre's basics: the protagonist's hardscrabble roots, the defining early trauma (being brother to a future pop superstar can be compared to being the drummer in Spinal Tap), the methodical rise to fame, the spiraling addictions to drugs and women who aren't your wife, and, finally, the ascent from the ruins of collapsed marriages and veins to bask in the knowledge that your hit songs have changed music/culture/the world forever. Walk Hard's December release date puts the movie in the thick of the awards season, where spot-on impressions of Ray Charles and the Carter-Cash alliance have earned handsome returns in recent years.

The comedy will also follow on the heels of two music biopics that are fortunately more resistant to parody than their brethren. Anton Corbijn's Control, arriving in theaters today, depicts the truncated life of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the foreboding Manchester post-punk band Joy Division, who committed suicide at age 23. Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, due out next month, casts six actors in the role of American idol-in-chief and professional enigma Bob Dylan. 

 (Source:  Slate)


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