Road to Nashville - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Road to Nashville Reviews

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½ May 27, 2013
I'm not exactly a fan of country music, but I will concede that I actually liked this bizarre mess of a film. The film is mostly a compilation of songs (A whopping 38 in total) with only a thin string of a plot that just serves as an excuse to allow these performances to occur. While the film is a bit overlong and a bit excessive at times, it's a pleasant film for the most part with a decent selection of songs. If you enjoy country music of yesteryear, this film might give you something to watch, but this definitely isn't for everyone. Though I'm not a fan of country music, I found this to be a pleasant surprise.
½ September 24, 2011
I'll begin by saying "Road to Nashville" is a fine concert film. Though it lacks the energy of genre exemplar "Stop Making Sense," or even the slickly directed live documents accompanying special releases from modern acts, performances from country greats like Marty Robbins (who also acted as associate producer and probably made this curio, for better or worse, possible), Waylon Jennings, Porter Wagoner and Johnny Cash and the Carter Family, as well as more obscure acts like The Stoneman Family (giving an intense instrumental performance early on that marks one of the film's high points) and the comical Osborne Brothers.

Comedy represents the film's downfall, however; if only the Osbornes acted as the only foils for the more "serious" scenes. Instead we're stuck with Colonel Feetlebaum (Doodles Weaver), the most incompetent A&R man ever to work in the music industry. The Colonel has been tasked by his beleaguered boss (Richard Arlen) with recruiting country musicians to appear in a concert film. Ignorant of the business, Feetlebaum bumbles his way around a music studio meeting a who's-who of the industry's best.

Weaver plays Feetlebaum as sort of a cross between a poor man's Red Skelton and all of the Ritz Brothers thrown together. Suffice to say he's incredibly annoying, his shtick forming not only the entirety of the scenes linking one performance to another but also random, completely unnecessary cutaways during the musical sequences. These latter portions usually consist of Weaver looking like a moron and dancing about to the music and/or disrupting goings-on in the recording booths by treating the equipment like accoutrements in his own personal sitting room.

It's a shame "Nashville" used this framing device as it's completely unnecessary. Feetlebaum is an absolute waste, his primary purpose consisting of an overlong dig at "Colonel" Tom Parker along with his Wendell Corey-esque mugging. Furthermore, Weaver's comedic style doesn't even gel with the tone of the rest of the movie; the film's use of country humor among its Nashville stars feels genuine, a traditional mix of folksiness and tongue-in-cheek wit. Because the rest of the film's stars are genuine Nashville icons, and Weaver is an oaf wandering in from out of town, the contrast is even more jarring and unpleasant.
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