I went to see Country Strong last night. Based on the previews, I was expecting a formula movie - you know, a washed up singer hits rock bottom and wallows for 100 minutes, then has a mondo comeback concert. I make no apologies for liking formula movies - they're like comfort food and heaven knows I've put away enough comfort food over the years. Anyway, formula or not, it doesn't matter. Country Strong was nothing like the previews and I recommend that you skip it, even ten years from now when it's on cable and you've got nothing else to do. FIND something else to watch.
But here's the thing. I found myself chuckling over some of the country music cliches while I was watching the movie, then today, I realized that they used ALL of the country music cliches. I used Steve Goodman's song, You Never Even Called Me by My Name, as the guideline of what makes a country cliche.
Goodman said that the perfect country song would have to mention momma, trains, pick-up trucks, rain, prison and getting drunk. That's six elements. Country Strong features an alcoholic singer fresh out of rehab (1), who takes up with a saloon singer who drives a 1972 Ford F100 (2), who hops a ride on a freight train (3) and later finds our singer relapsing in a bar on a rainy night (4). There is also up & coming singer whose momma (and daddy) have been in prison (5 & 6). If I tried, I could probably put all of that into one sentence, but who cares? Skip the dang movie.