[NFBMO] Movie Night!

Steve Cook stanley7709 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 30 00:03:07 UTC 2021

Hi Friends in Missouri!

Come join the National Federation of the Blind of SC Friday night (7/2/2021) at 8:00 PM Eastern for movie night! We will be showing the audio described movie Ray! Be sure to bring popcorn, your favorite snack and drinks to enjoy this wonderful movie about Ray Charles. Below is the information about the movie and the Zoom info to join us!

The son of a sharecropper and elder of two brothers, Ray Charles Robinson (Jamie Foxx), is raised by a fiercely independent single mother, Aretha Robinson (Sharon Warren). The family is poor, but young Ray finds solace in music, learning to play the piano from a man at a local store. At age five, Ray plays with his younger brother George in front of their house when George slips into their mother's full washbasin. Ray laughs at first, thinking George is messing around, but becomes paralyzed with shock as his brother violently drowns in the soapy water. Aretha rushes to pull George from the water, but is too late. Ray feels immense guilt over his brother's death, and begins to develop vision problems soon afterward. By age seven, he is completely blind. Aretha teaches him to be independent despite his condition, and makes him swear that he will never let the world "turn him into a cripple." Eventually, she sends Ray to a school for the deaf and blind, weeping as her only remaining son boards a bus and disappears.

In 1948, Ray, boards a bus at a rest stop in northern Florida. He travels to Seattle, Washington where he uses his unexpected talent for the piano to get a job playing for a nightclub band. The club's owner (Denise Dowse) soon begins to exploit Ray, demanding sexual favors and controlling his money and career. After discovering that he is being lied to and stolen from, Ray leaves the band in disgust. In 1950, Ray joins a white country band who make him wear sunglasses to hide his damaged eyes from audiences. They go on tour, and Ray is introduced to heroin. He also suffers from traumatic flashbacks relating to his childhood in the 1930s.

As Ray travels on the road, he demands to be paid in single dollar bills so no one can cheat him, citing a past occurrence when he was playing with a country band, where a venue owner counted singles as $5 bills for payment, before another band member stepped up and demanded Ray be paid fairly. As Ray gains fame with his music, Ahmet Ertegun (Curtis Armstrong) of Atlantic Records discovers him. Ertegun’s song, "Mess Around" becomes Ray's first hit.

Ray ends up meeting Della Bea (Kerry Washington), a preacher's daughter. He falls in love with her, and the two get married. Della is not happy about Ray mixing gospel and soul music, but realizes he's got undeniable talent.

Ray goes out on the road with "I Got a Woman" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So", and meets up with Mary Anne Fisher (Aunjanue Ellis), a singer who teams up with Ray. On a trip home, Della Bea finds Ray's drug kit in his shaving bag, and demands he stop using. Ray refuses, and walks out on a pregnant Della Bea. Ray begins an affair with Mary Anne. As Ray's popularity grows, Ray hires a girl trio to become "The Raylettes". Ray immediately falls for Margie's (Regina King), the lead singer's charms, and the two begin an affair, inciting the jealousy of Mary Anne, who eventually leaves Ray to go solo.

Another few years later, Ray is out on the road as a headliner, and one night while doing a set, the band finishes early. The owner of the club demands Ray fill the 20-minute slot he has left, and Ray makes up the hit "What'd I Say" on the spot. During the 1960s, Ray becomes more and more popular, and he moves his family to Los Angeles. Eventually, Ray is offered a better contract with ABC Records, and although he is loyal to Atlantic, Ray leaves them, but on amicable terms. Another year or so later, Ray then wants to try and do different things with his music, and incorporates classical and country into his sound. Some of his biggest hits come from this mixture, such as "Georgia on My Mind" which Margie says will be Ray's downfall; her relationship with him has started to falter during this time due to his refusal to give full commitment to her and her alcoholism. Ray also records "I Can't Stop Loving You", for which he receives a standing ovation at a concert.

Later, while in a hotel room with Margie, Ray is tinkling on the piano while she gets sick. Margie is pregnant, and again demands Ray leave Della and his children with her; he again refuses, angering Margie. Ray then creates the hit "Hit the Road Jack" complete with Margie's solo. With her newfound recognition, Margie leaves the Raylettes to embark on a solo career.

In 1961, Ray goes to Augusta, GA, to play a concert, and encounters civil rights protests. Ray protests by saying that he will not play if the black concertgoers have to sit in the balcony and cancels the concert when those in charge refuse to back down; he later ends up being barred from playing in the state of Georgia. Later, while sleeping in a hotel room, Ray is raided and arrested by the police, who claim that they are acting on an anonymous tip that he has drugs in the room. Although heroin is found and Ray is charged with possession, he gets off on a legal technicality because the police didn't have a search warrant. Later, during a gathering, Ray gets a call that Margie has died from a drug overdose. Ray swears to Della that he never let her use when she was around him; she subsequently tells him that she knows about their son, who is now with Margie's sister.

Ray and Della Bea later move into a huge new house in Beverly Hills with their kids, but Della is uncomfortable in the new house. In 1965, Ray travels to Canada for another concert. Upon his return to the United States, he is arrested for possession of heroin. The record company has trouble getting him out of this dilemma and a judge sentences Ray to go to a treatment clinic. Della and Ray argue about the sentencing with him trying to justify his addiction using his past traumas, but Della dismisses his excuses and warns him that if he doesn't stop using, he is ultimately going to lose the one thing that means more to him than anything it has helped get him, including the drugs themselves: his music. Feeling guilty, Ray checks into to the clinic, where he suffers from withdrawal and vivid nightmares. One evening, Ray has a conversation with his dead mother, who praises him for becoming strong and successful, but chastises him for letting his addictions cripple him. His brother George also appears, telling Ray that he doesn't blame him for his death. Apologetic, Ray hugs his mother and brother and promises to kick his habit and never be crippled by anything again.

By 1979, Ray has permanently quit heroin and receives his proudest accomplishment: the state of Georgia officially apologizes to him and makes "Georgia On My Mind" the official state song. Ray, Della, and their three grown sons receive applause as Ray performs the song before a live audience.

In the epilogue, Ray continues to have a long and successful career and legacy before dying of liver failure in 2004.

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles
C. J. Sanders as Young Ray Robinson
Kerry Washington as Della Bea Robinson
Clifton Powell as Jeff Brown
Aunjanue Ellis as Mary Ann Fisher
Harry Lennix as Joe Adams
Terrence Howard as Gossie McKee
Larenz Tate as Quincy Jones
Bokeem Woodbine as Fathead Newman
Sharon Warren as Aretha Robinson
Curtis Armstrong as Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records
Richard Schiff as Jerry Wexler
Wendell Pierce as Wilbur Brassfield, manager
Chris Thomas King as Lowell Fulson
David Krumholtz as Milt Shaw
Kurt Fuller as Sam Clark
Warwick Davis as Oberon
Patrick Bauchau as Dr. Hacker
Robert Wisdom as Jack Lauderdale of Swing Time Records
Denise Dowse as Marlene Andre
Regina King as Margie Hendricks
Rick Gomez as Tom Dowd
The film's production was entirely financed by Philip Anschutz, through his Bristol Bay Productions company. Taylor Hackford said in a DVD bonus feature that it took 15 years to make the film; or more specifically, as he later clarified in the liner notes of the soundtrack album, this is how long it took him to secure the financing. It was made on a budget of $40 million.

Charles was given a Braille copy of the film's original script; he objected only to a scene showing him taking up piano grudgingly, and a scene implying that Charles had shown mistress and lead "Raelette" Margie Hendricks how to shoot heroin.[3]

As stated in the DVD commentary, Foxx does not sing as Charles with exception to cover versions Charles performs in his earlier years. Kanye West and Ludacris have since made songs with Foxx singing as Charles in their songs "Gold Digger" and "Georgia", respectively. Also stated in the commentary, Hackford stated that no studio was interested in backing the movie. After it was shot independently, Universal Pictures stepped in to distribute it. Part of the reason Universal Pictures released it was because one of its executives used to hitchhike to Ray Charles concerts.[4]

Ray debuted at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. Denzel Washington was offered to play the title role, but he passed on the project.[4]

Hackford also stated in the audio commentary for the film on DVD that Anschutz said the film would be made, but he demanded it that it would PG-13 and this caused him to walk away from the film five times, but because of Charles and Ahmet Ertegun asking him to make the movie, he later agreed to do the film as a PG-13 rating. The film was later then rated PG-13 for "depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements". The film's score was composed by Craig Armstrong.

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