A 2007 Judd Apatow movie that parodies musical biopics like Walk the Line and Ray. Failed to make much of a splash in the box office, but is one of the better post-The Naked Gun parody movies.Walk Hard tells the tale of Dewey Cox, a musical prodigy whose musical career spanned the 50's to the 70's. Along the way Dewey takes lots of drugs, bangs lots of groupies and eventually learns that the path to happiness lies in spending time with his dozens of illegitimate children. It's not the kind of a movie you watch for the plot.Walk Hard stars John C. Reilly, who spent a year recording 40-plus of the songs that his character supposedly wrote. He proves himself to be a more than capable singer and he approaches the ludicrous situations with the same sincerity he uses in his more serious dramatic turns (The Aviator, Magnolia, Gangs of New York).
Walk Hard provides examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: "I never realized until this moment how easy it is to accidentally cut someone in half with a machete..."
All Crimes Are Equal: How dare you, Edith? You drink all Dewey's milk, but you condemn him for a little bigamy?!
As You Know / Captain Obvious: Any celebrity who appears will loudly announce who they are multiple times. This is done to self-consciously highlight the fact that they (intentionally) put absurdly little effort into imitating the celebrities they're supposed to be.
George Harrison: It's so dark in this tent, y'know, it reminds me of when we, the Beatles, the four Beatles...
Paul McCartney: From Liverpool.
John Lennon: We are from Liverpool.
George Harrison: ...used to play those dark clubs in Hamburg. You remember that, Paul?
Paul McCartney: Of course I do, I booked 'em. [beat] I'm the leader of the Beatles.
Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: As Dewey's life crashes around him, one of his many sons asks him if he'd like to play catch. This simple act acts as a catalyst for him rebuilding his life.
Cover Version: One of the songs attempted during Dewey's first recording session? A country version of "That's Amore". It's so bad that it shakes the producer's faith in the Jewish people.
Later, during Dewey's disastrous 70s variety show, he does a disco cover of David Bowie's "Starman." The music actually isn't half-bad, but he does it in a goofy spacesuit costume surrounded by go-go dancers.
Many of Dewey's other songs are also not-entirely-well-veiled references to other issues going on in his life as well (from his difficult relationship with his father to how he'd very much like to sleep with his backup singer).
Dewey: In my dreams you're blowin' me, some kisses / You and I could go down, in history / I'm gonna beat off, all my demons.
Here I am a-sneaking up behind you/You can always come in my backdoor
Drugs Are Bad / Drugs Are Good: Played with. Dewey frequently opens a door to find Sam behind it, indulging in some illicit narcotics in the company of some beautiful women. Sam always insists that Dewey wants no part of it, only to then insistently list all the benefits of doing that particular drug. Dewey inevitably ends up hooked on it.
But he really doesn't want none of that stuff that gives you a boner.
"It's marijuana, Dewey. You don't want no part of this shit." "It's cocaine, Dewey. You don't want no part of this shit." "We're doing pills— uppers and downers. It's the logical next step for you.""I want me some of that shit!"
Sam seems to have no problem with drugs other than resenting Dewey for never paying for them, but sure enough, Dewey has to go to rehab.
It Will Never Catch On: At the height of his hard drug problem, Dewey starts shouting instead of signing and telling his band to play extremely fast and dissonantly. One of his band members is disgusted by the result — nobody's ever going to listen to this garbage, especially not with Dewey singing like some kind of "punk".
Dewey's family and wife are constantly telling him he'll never gonna make it even after he has already made it.
Note: I must mention one peculiar element in the film. As Reilly is having a telephone conversation, a male penis is framed in the upper right corner of the screen. No explanation about why, or who it belongs to or what happens to it. Just a penis. I think this just about establishes a standard for gratuitous nudity. Speculate as I will, I cannot imagine why it's in the film. Did the cinematographer look through his viewfinder and say, "Jake, the upper right corner could use a penis"?
It's a subversion of the expectation that explicit male nudity is taboo. The previous shot is after all of the same naked man from behind, to make us think that the nudity is just going to be implied as usual. It then becomes a Running Gag to cut back to the penis as much as possible.
The New Rock & Roll: The movie parodies the panic over rock and roll in the 1950s; at his high school talent show, Dewey and his band perform a sweet, gentle pop ballad called "Take My Hand" about two people holding hands. It immediately turns all the teenage girls present into sex-crazed nymphos, the teenage boys into violent thugs, and causes the older generation to picket Dewey's house with Torches and Pitchforks screaming about how he's going straight to hell:
Preacher: You think we don't know what you mean when you say 'Take My Hand'?
The Beatles deliver one to their bandmate Ringo, as they remind him he should be glad they let him keep playing the drums. Paul and John make increasingly-mean shots at each other as well, and openly ignore George's legitimate attempts to write music so they can bicker. This a major source of Shown Their Work as Paul and John having trouble connecting with their differing music styles and George becoming a more active (and ignored) songwriter were all major reasons for the Beatles breaking up.