Movie Review: Blaze

“Blaze” is a movie about a little known Country and Western singer, Blaze Foley. For me this movie was all about the very harsh realities of pursuing a life in show business – any show business. With the few who make it an any art form, we all see the end result of their success, we will never fully realize what they went through to become successful. If any of us who have thought about making it in Hollywood as an actor, comedian or writer, how many of us would be willing to pay the dues necessary to succeed in an impossible business?

The new movie Blaze is one of the very few stories I have ever seen where the lows of trying to make it as a Country singer in the south are depicted in such a real life and depressing way. I recognized no acting or movie magic in this film – with the entire two hours all about living in squalor, hitching rides to a gig, getting drunk and doing drugs to drown your sorrows, audiences who ignore you and a failing relationship, because what relationship could survive a precarious life like this one? It would be nice to know that at the end of many years of misery that you will finally make it one day – but the reality is, so many people try their whole lives because they just have to and they never know if they will ever make it. All of us have heard famous actors who talk about their lean years of bad jobs and waiting tables, many of them just days or weeks from giving up their dream. Most recently an actor, formerly famous on the Cosby show was disrespected because he had to work at Trader Joe’s. In life we have to make a living, despite our dreams and despite having to do things that we just do not want to do. How many of us would be willing to go through so much to achieve a dream that may never happen, even if they knew that in the end they would succeed.

The problems with this film are the depressing songs, because the lead actor who played Blaze, Ben Dickey – sang nothing but depressing songs the entire movie. On top of of this, he talks with such a mumble most of the time that very often you have no idea what he is saying. This film was hard to watch, mainly because of the squalor and the depressing real life we are seeing – as human being wants to be a singer so badly he is willing to risk everything for that one and only goal. This movie also includes many other named actors, including Steve Zahn, Sam Rockwell, Kris Kristofferson and Ethan Hawk who both co-wrote and directed this movie. While watching this film I had great respect for the work that must have been involved and all the hours of filming in run down depressing areas that show the harsh reality of trying to be a Country singer is all about.

The ratings for this movie on Rotten Tomatoes are a perfect 100% – a very rare mark for any movie and just might get this movie an Academy Award nomination for best picture. I thought this movie was very well done, but not at a rating of 100%. I recommend Blaze, but for anyone who decides to see this film, prepare for a dark depressing story about a little known but talented Country singer who was one of so many who paid so many dues for little or no payoff.

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