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Posts Tagged ‘The Last Ride’

I was delighted to receive a comment written  on one of the posts on this site about the movie ‘The Last Ride’.

The movie never made it into general theatrical release and received mixed reviews to say the least.  It’s available on DVD  and on television now. If you search for ‘The Last Ride’ on the site you will get quite a bit of information about the film.

I’ll let this woman from Texas tell her story about seeing the movie and falling in love.

I am a 37 year old woman with 4 sons 19,17 ,and 20 month old twins….Scanning thru the tv guide i was able to watch the movie The Last Ride.  Always knowing Hank Williams by photo  but never a fan. Just thought his photos were of an old man almost like an enigma. But after watching this movie I immediately wanted to learn and hear anything Hank Williams. In one week i scoured the internet went to the library read 2 books and even have Hank Williams as a ringtone.

The movie helped express in my eyes Hank Williams as a human being, real not thus ghostly image you see in old pictures. I could feel pain humbleness even innocence of the times and how naive people were in that era….And although it shows Hank drinkin and that Dr. His presence is almost like Dr. death just waiting to take a man who was lonely and in desperate need for genuine loving care from someone who didn’t expect or want something from him.

Thank You for bringing this little mexican mama into the world of Hank!  Fan till I die.

P.S. the books I read said he visited my home town Corpus Christi Texas. …and i sure wished id been born then to see Hank Williams ……playing his honky tonk in the city by the ocean…..Love u Hank.

Thanks for your message.  You are a real fellow traveler in the world wide Hank community.

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I was hopeful that attorney Keith Adkinson, the husband of Jett Williams, might be able to untangle some of  mysteries surrounding the untimely death of Hank Williams on his final journey to a show in the last days of 1952. Adkinson and Williams had vowed in a Newsletter last year to tackle and solve the 60 year old mystery once and for all.

Sadly the untimely death of Adkinson, who successfully proved Jett Williams was the legitimate daughter of Hank Williams and co heir to his estate, will  now be cut short.

I have received thousands of visitors to a blog posting I did on this issue. HERE. Make sure you read the comments section which has articles from people claiming special knowledge of the death of Hank Williams.

A lot of the interest in the death of hank Williams has been stirred up by the recent film ‘The Last Ride’ which has just come out on DVD, Blu Ray and download.

Here’s a list of all the Blog Posts I’ve done on the film. There sure are a lot!

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On the anniversary of his death,  Saving Country Music  put together a very detailed page outlining the main details surrounding the death of Hank Williams and the immediate aftermath. This is a great country site and a lot of work has gone into this posting.

This fine history  can be found here.

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A short review in the Seattle Times doesn’t have much positive to say about the Hank Williams based movie ‘The Last Ride’.

A key paragraph goes like this:

But, alas, “The Last Ride” doesn’t deliver much insight into Williams or the lifestyle that killed him. And while there are some sweet moments, it’s riddled with clichés about the South, masculinity and coming of age. No doubt because of licensing expenses, not one Hank Williams performance appears on the soundtrack.

Of course the failure to present any authentic Hank Williams music has been a major criticism of this movie.
The reviewer ,Paul de Barros, also thinks the driver played by Jesse James becomes the center of attention in the movie instead of Hank played by Henry Thomas.
To be fair a lot of reviewers have praised Thomas’ performance.

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The Hank Williams bio pic covering the last 3 days of his life has earned a positive review by Kerry Lengel in the Arizona Republic Newspaper.

Lengel sees right away that this not really a Hank Williams biography and has little to do with his music, but, as others have said as well, is more of a “gloomy buddy road trip flick”.

But Lengel sees a lot more positives than many other critics I have talked about on this blog.

He calls the movie starring Henry Thomas as Hank “a subtlety affecting character study”. He says, “Hank longs for a simple human connection”.

I liked this comment about Thomas who he says does not attempt to imitate Hank Williams physically, but does,  “immerse himself in the character he’s been given: old before his time, with a mean streak to match his ego and alienated from all humanity, including himself.”  Not everyone would agree with this gloomy depressing insight into Hank’s character and the pain of his short life here on earth, but there is an element of truth in it.

A final quote from the review continues this theme: ” ‘The Last Ride’ measures the distance between the myth and the man. And if that doesn’t make for the cheeriest of viewing experiences, it does offer an alternative to the easy sentimentality that powers the biopic formula.”

As far as we know the movie will open in a more general release, and is not yet available in DVD.

Here’s a link to the review.

And here’s a list of all my posts on this movie over the past several years!!

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With ‘The Last Ride’ now having opened in some major centers including New York, reviews seem largely negative but there is one  genuine rave from a respected film critic which I have saved to the end..

Writers are quite dismissive of the script which many think, in the words of Andrew Lapin at National Public Radio is “short on actual information about Hank Williams”, and makes “Hank Williams takes a back seat” in the film. Pretty tough from an organization that is usually a Hank booster.

In a magazine called ‘Film Journal’ Daniel Egan says the “film doesn’t have much of interest about the singer”. And ‘Village Voices’ Mark Holcombe says the movie has “taken liberties with the facts”.

These writers are all concerned, along with I suppose many true Hank Williams’ fans, that the main story is really fictionalized. For example, the character who is the young teenage driver on the fatal trip  doesn’t know who Hank Williams is. There is a way too much attention on that character, played by Jesse James, according to a lot of critics. ‘The New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis goes so far as to call it a “low budget road movie”.

Another strong criticism and  all and  writers just hate this,it that no actual Hank Williams’ recordings are used anywhere in the movie. You never hear his voice. The soundtrack, they say, is mediocre and therefore the movie fails to explain who Hank Williams is, and how an important figure in American musical history he has become.

On the positive side, most of the reviewers I have read so far have very positive things to say about Henry Thomas’ portrayal of Hank Williams which clearly rises far above the rest of the movie and makes the best of the  weak script.

But there is one movie critic and a pretty important one who must have made the producers overjoyed. Rex Reed a famous film reviewer writing in ‘The New York Observer’ calls Thomas’ performance  “a star performance and a poignant experience”. He calls it a “fascinating film, satisfying and sincere”. But he also says the producers should have used original Hank Williams recordings.

Here are a couple of longer quotes to give you the tone of Reed’s rave review.

The Last Ride, carefully directed by Harry Thomason and skillfully written with chords and spaces for humming and breathing by Howie Klausner and Dub Cornett, hauntingly and sensitively negotiates the final three days in the life and death of a legendary character of mythic proportions, warts and all.

 The review ends with this paragraph:
Still, it’s a fascinating film that I enjoyed thoroughly. The Last Ride doesn’t come with a break-the-bank budget and full-page marketing displays, but it is well worth looking for if you’re in the mood for a movie that is captivating, an evocation of a time when the South and its music were on the cusp of change, and just a little bit different. It’s satisfying and sincere in ways most of the big-budget junk currently taking up space on summer marquees never dreamed of.

I should say that Reed accepts more of the script as being factual than some of the other critics. But beyond any doubt this is the best written review I have seen so far. The use of a quote from ‘I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry’ in the ‘New York Observer’ headline is heartbreaking.

Here is his full review. 

Here’s a direct quote from the movie that a lot of true Hank Williams’s fans will understand and appreciate. About his career and fame, the script writers have Hank say: “Not a damn bit of it matters for nothin.”

Here’s the movie website.

And finally here is a complete list of the many, many, many, posts about ‘The Last Ride’ on this humble little blog.

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The Last Ride which has been covered extensively on this blog will open at a number of historic theaters and a more general release this month (June 2012). Here is the historic theatre line-up taken from the website:

June 1-3 Strand Theatre 38 W. Franklin Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176 317.421.2787
June 1-3 Corning Opera House 710 Davis Ave, Corning, IA 50841 641.418.8037
June 1-7 ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks Campus 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 18015 610.297.7100
June 2 The Ellen Theatre 17 West Main Street, Bozeman, MT 59715 406.585.5885
June 2-3 7th Street Theatre 313 7th Street, Hoquiam, WA 98550 360.537.7400
June 7 McPherson Opera House 219 South Main Street, McPherson, KS 67460 620.241.1952
June 9 Sheridan Opera House 110 North Oak, Telluride, CO 81435 970.728.6363
June  15-18 Lincoln Theatre Foundation 313 W. Kincaid Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 360.336.8955
June 29 The Sherman Theater 524 Main Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360 570.420.2808
July 19-20 Carolina Civic Center Historical Theater 315 North Chestnut Street, Lumberton, NC 28358 910.738.4339

Here are some regular theatres:

6/22/2012 New York Cinema Village  ONE WEEK ONLY 22 East 12th St., New York, NY 10003
6/29/2012 Los Angeles Laemmle NoHo 7 5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
7/27/2012 Phoenix Harkins Shea 14 7354 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260
8/10/2012 Atlanta Lefont Sandy Springs 8 5920 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA 30328
8/10/2012 Austin Regal Arbor 8 @Great Hills 9828 Great Hills Trail, Suite 800, Austin, TX 78759

‘The Last Ride’ website with a newly designed logo can be found here.

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