Special guest reviewer: Mr. Smiley!
Mr. Smiley's rating:
Like humping Snuggles, the fabric softener bear!
I know that for a brief second, I was kind of sad when I heard Ray Charles had passed away. Fortunately, I was aware that this film was coming out, so that frown quickly turned upside-down because I just knew that director Taylor ("An Officer and a Gentleman") Hackford and actor Jamie Foxx would do a terrific job and that Ray's memory would live on in our hearts forever through the wonderful experience of this film. This film is so heartfelt that it's like he's not even dead.
Jamie Foxx is so good and believable as Ray Charles that I wish Jamie would pretend he was Ray Charles all the time so that it would seem like Ray Charles never ever left, but then I guess we'd miss Jamie Foxx and that might not be so good, but maybe if he was Ray for half the day and Jamie the other half of the day, we'd never really notice!
The main message of this film is that even if you're blind, you can become a great musician. There's nothing happier than that. Ray Charles Robinson never lets his blindness affect him in this movie other than the times that he can't see something. He even gets around by himself most of the time, unless he's driving, and then he has his good friend Jeff Brown (Clifton Powell) to do it for him.
Ray was driven to be the best musician he could be and he was. He was so incredible that he changed the face of music. However, that process was not without some rough spots. Unfortunately, Ray had trouble with both women and heroin and sometimes both at the same time. Now, the women trouble isn't so bad because having sex is really great fun and even though we see Ray cheating on his wife, we know that the sex is probably really good and you can't help living vicariously through Ray for a moment and becoming a little bit excited. They say that heroin is even better than sex, so when Ray does heroin, we also kind of understand. The important point here is that despite all the heroin and all the sex, Ray's music never suffers because he's such a genius and no matter what he's going through he just rolls out one great tune after another like a magic jukebox. Maybe heroin's not so bad after all!
We also know, because Taylor Hackford is such a great director, that Ray has demons that he must battle and that he'll overcome those demons in the end. And sure enough, he does! But I'll tell you what: Even greater than Jamie Foxx's transformation into Ray Charles was Curtis Armstrong's transformation into Ahmet, the producer who signs Ray to a contract at Atlantic Records. Ahmet is a little Turkish guy with glasses in the movie. The thing is, Curtis Armstrong played Booger in 1984's "Revenge of the Nerds," one of my favorite movies of all time. I couldn't believe it when I finally realized it was him. I just had to stand up in the theater and shout out, "It's Booger!" It's one of the best feelings I've ever had in a movie ever.
You'll feel like a beam of sunshine after seeing "Ray"!
To spread the word about this Ray review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.