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Thoughts on 'Crazy Heart' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee - although you could justify paying full price if you love this kind of music, or if you based it around watching Jeff Bridge's performance, which is excellent.

Will I Own It On DVD: Probably.

Overrall Grade: Movie: B; Jeff Bridges: A


1) 'Crazy Heart' is a character sketch with Bridges portraying Bad Blake, a one-time country music star, now reduced to playing low-rent venues while spending his days and nights in one long boozy slog to the bottom. His descent is buffered when he falls for a single mother music writer (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and attempts a comeback by writing songs for his one-time protegee Tommy Sweet (an unbilled Colin Farrell) who has since exploded into a huge recording star.


2) This plot material could have played like, well a bad country song, if entrusted to lesser hands, however, 'Heart' pulls stellar performances from its cast, and just as importantly, the music feels authentic and essential to the storyline.

3) The songs and score were largely overseen by T. Bone Burnett ('O Brother Where Art Thou') and longtime Austin musician Stephen Bruton. In addition, Bridges plays guitar and sings all his songs in the movie, as does Farrell. I generally loathe Nashville country music, and so I was relieved to watch as 'Heart' is more concerned with the singer-songwriter tracks that were both orginally written for this film as well as pulled from other artists like Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt and Billy Joe Shaver. Finally, real life artist Ryan Bingham, has a song over the closing credits - 'The Weary Kind' - which is excellent and has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best original song.

4) None of the above would have mattered nearly as much without Jeff Bridges in the role of Bad Blake. He wears this sloppy yet prideful singer's warts and depleted talent like a second skin. With a halting gait and gnarled voice from too many late nights and cigarettes, Bridges nails the role, which will surely earn him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor this year (joining George Clooney for 'Up in the Air').


5) Overrall, 'Crazy Heart' is a worthy effort that is only hampered by a somewhat implausible romance, at least to me, and the relative ease with which Bridges cleans himself up. But the music and the acting is top-notch, and makes this one easy to recommend.

-BDS

17 comments

  1. I'll need to check this one out.
    This is the first I've heard of it, but it sounds good.

     
  2. Linda Says:
  3. Thanks for the review. This one is on my list, but hasn't come to RI yet. I love Jeff Bridges, so I'm looking forward to this one.

     
  4. Oh, Kris Kristoferson has a new movie out. Cool.

    Oh, wait a sec. I just looked at the pics without reading the post. Now I read the post. That's Jeff Bridges. Meh, either way. Actually, if Bridges was doing all the singing and playing, wouldn't it have made more sense to get Kris to play the part. He probably works for less than Jeff Bridges.

     
  5. Native Minnow - Definitely. Give it a look as it's worth it. They rushed it up to get it out in time for Oscar consideration . . .

    Linda - It just opened in Austin this past Friday. I think you'll definitely like it & I also like Bridges quite a bit. He's excellent here.

    WhatIgot - Astute observation. Bridges looks a lot like Kristofferson in this film . . . and he supposedly based some of it around Kris, Waylon and some others when doing research for the role. I think Kristofferson might have been too old to cast for this role as he's in his 70s now.

     
  6. JLee Says:
  7. I am a Bridges fan and thought this looked good. It's cool he did the singing/playing too. I had heard the same thing though about the pairing with Gyllenhall as being unbelievable/not working too well.

     
  8. nobich Says:
  9. Thanks for the review I've never heard of this movie though. but I've always like Jeff Bridges
    (I do NOT like his brother-yuck)

     
  10. nobich Says:
  11. no offense

     
  12. Boxer Says:
  13. Bwahahahah. I thought he was looking very Kris K. too!

    GOOD review, This is a great description:

    "He wears this sloppy yet prideful singer's warts and depleted talent like a second skin"

    Just that makes me want to see it, even if it was already on my list.

    I love a certain kind of country western (Johnny Cash) so I think I'm going to like this movie for many reasons.

     
  14. I've not heard of this one yet! Definitely right up my ally.

    Bridges isn't hokey like Kristofferson, is he??

     
  15. "Probably" will own on dvd is rare for you. High praise. I will have to see this.

     
  16. Gypsy Says:
  17. Sounds like a good flick and it's great to see some of the more mature actors getting meaty roles to sink their teeth into.

     
  18. Jlee - I liked Bridges myself, and I read that he plays a little in real life and it was cool that he did his own work in the movie. The romance didn't entirely work for me, but it didn't derail the movie either . . .

    Nobich - Then you should defnitely check this out - it's starting to open more widely at the end of January I believe. I'm not wild about Beau (?) either, but I did like Lloyd from the 'Airplane' movies. Ha.

    Boxer - Yeah, Johnny Cash is good & this movie is well worth seeing. Very different from 'Avatar' but . . . Ha. It's a nice one to mix into things this time of year & I'm trying to start my Oscar run of movies I assume will be nominated.

    Kymical Reaction - I believe this one is opening much wider later this month, so it should be out your way . . . I would check it out at a matinee showing while it's still cold outside. :)

    Getoffmylawn - Yeah, I just thought Bridges was really good, the music was too and I think that I will own it one day when I can buy it at a discounted price because I'm cheap that way. Ha.

    Gypsy - Definitely. It's a good movie and Bridges really sinks into the role, so keep an eye out for it (or you could rent it when it comes out one day).

     
  19. BostonPobble Says:
  20. This is on my see-some-night-when-I'm-alone movie list because I am the only one in my general vicinity who enjoys this type of movie. This review might (might) get me to talk someone else into seeing it so thanks. (might)

     
  21. As the nation's premier football conference, we request that the new Gary Oldman Movie called, I think, "ELI", be reviewed next.

     
  22. Miss Ash Says:
  23. Really?? I saw the preview for this last weekend when I was at the theatre and it looked super lame to me. And we thought that was CF but we didn't see his name anywhere...makes sense now!

     
  24. K9 Says:
  25. you cant go wrong with jeff bridges. it almost sounded like the plot for the wrestler....

    but jeff will always be the DUDE to me.

     
  26. Bostonpobble - No problem, and this one would be a really fine choice for some quiet night alone, so either way, you'll be just fine. :)

    Sunbelt - Ha. Only because it's a request from the Sunbelt conference . . . I plan to see 'Eli' at some point even though I don't think it will be that good. I hope I'm wrong. It's in the Queque, but 'Avatar' is ahead of it.

    Miss Ash - Yeah, Farrell's not in it too much, but he's good & gets no billing. The movie is not great, but it's pretty good and as I mentioned, Bridges willd efinitely be up for an Oscar nom and I think that Ryan Bingham will also be Oscar nominated for best original song.

    K9 - Great observation. The plot reminded me strongly of the Wrestler, although I thought the Wrestler was by far the superior movie. I also like Bridges in just about everything he does & The Dude is an all-time character . . .

     

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