Sunday, July 14, 2013


The Last Ride purports to tell the story of the last 48 hours of Hank Williams' life as he leaves Alabama on a road trip to West Virginia and Ohio for a couple of concerts to revive his career. It stars Henry Thomas (Elliott in E.T.) as one of the the most important figures in Country Music.

There are no songs sung by Hank Williams in this film. A few of Hank's songs are on the soundtrack, but they are sung by other performers. I imagine since this was a low budget film, that the rights to Hank's recordings could not be procured. Also, I'm guessing that's why the words "Hank Williams" are never uttered by anyone in the movie. Hank's illegitimate daughter, Jett, sings a few songs on the soundtrack and she has a great voice. I guess her contribution is the closest this film gets to anything really related to Hank Sr.

The Last Ride is a terrible movie with so many things wrong with it. First and foremost, the filmmakers turn the last few days of Williams' life into a buddy/road film. What a shame and a waste of a good story, this could have been a really interesting tale. Instead, it's a coming of age film about Hank's driver (played by Jesse James).

And now a few of the other things wrong with the movie:

Unlike George Hamilton as Hank Sr. in Your Cheatin' Heart, I never believed for one moment that Henry Thomas was the legend he was portraying. Thomas did a fine acting job, but I just never bought into him as Hank Sr. Although Thomas is about the same height as Hank Williams, for some reason, he seemed shorter. Maybe he just wasn't lanky or emaciated looking enough.

People in Tennessee in the movie refer to a state called "Carolina"...sorry folks, but people in Tennessee know there's a South and a North Carolina and they can tell the difference. This is a mistake people North of the Mason-Dixon Line and West of the Mississippi make all the time.

Hank Williams drinks constantly out of a flask and the flask doesn't go empty for at least 24 hours. Must be like those six-guns in the old Westerns that never ran out of bullets.

It was supposed to be urgent that Hank got to his concerts on time, but in most of the shots it appeared the old Cadillac wasn't doing much more than 25mph (and many times it appeared slower than that), so the movie never really conveyed any urgency.

The end credits are wrong when they state "new songs by Hank were found in the back seat of the Cadillac" (these were actually uncompleted songs in notebooks). The credits go on to state "Bob Dylan acquired them and working with various modern artists recorded the album Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute." What a boneheaded mistake...that's a tribute album as the title clearly states. The actual album with these songs was called The Lost Notebooks of Hank WilliamsI guess this is just another factor in showing how little the filmmakers cared about any type of accuracy.

Finally, I never could suspend belief long enough to think one of the most famous entertainers of the time was never recognized anywhere he went, or even if he was, his name was never spoken....Guess what I can recognize....this was a disaster of a film! 

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