Monday, February 15, 2010

Crazy About "Crazy Heart"

I was already interested in the film because of all the buzz; yesterday the Jeff Bridges profile on CBS Sunday Morning had me even more interested. And this afternoon I decided to celebrate President's Day by treating myself to a movie.

And Crazy Heart was indeed a treat with Oscar nominated performances by Bridges and co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal, as well as for the BEST SONG, T- Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham's The Weary Kind.

Bridges plays Bad Blake, once a big time country music performer and songwriter who's career now consists of playing bowling alley lounges and dives in the Southwest. Bad is 57 years old, has been married four times, walked out on his first wife and their now adult son 24 years before, smokes constantly, in an alcoholic, is broke, blunt, usually irresponsible, slovenly and unkept....but the magic of Jeff Bridges' performance is you almost automatically like the guy. He is talented and charming, and has a miniscule, loyal but mostly aging fanbase that he caters to on his road trips.

At one of these gigs Bad meets an attractive young reporter for a small newspaper. Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is a divorced single mother of a four year old. Though Bad is broke and one step away from a total physical breakdown- and that he is at least 25 years older than Jean- they fall in love. What follows next is the bittersweet story of a man and a woman who do love each other, and at least one (Jean) suspects that it will only end in heartache. The audience roots for things to work out for them because we grow to like and care about the characters- and then rational thought takes over, and we viewers know that this is doomed; if they really love each other they must go in different directions.

Robert Duvall, who was a producer of the film, steals a few scenes when he appears towards its end as Wayne, Bad's bar owner buddy in Houston, and Colin Farrell does a great job as country superstar Tommy Sweet, a onetime protege of Bad's who's career skyrocketed while Bad's careened towards earth. Though Bad and Tommy remained friends, Bad's pride made him envious of Tommy's stardom.

This is a gentle, easy to like film, in many ways its similar in theme to The Wrestler- but at the end of that film the audience felt sadness at the apparent demise of Mickey Roarke's character. In Crazy Heart you leave with a feeling of hope for the futures of the two main characters.

Jeff Bridges played "Bad Blake" like he just got out of Outlaw Country Boot Camp run by Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, Jr. He's part of Hollywood royalty but he became a Good Ole Boy's Good Ole Boy. And the dude can play, and is a pretty good singer. Maggie Gyllenhaal's Jean was a strong, smart young woman who had been damaged in the past, and wanted no part of that for her and her young son again. Her relationship with Bad was a longshot....but she rolled the dice anyway.

Kudo's to writer/director Scott Cooper who adapted Crazy Heart from the novel by Thomas Cobb. This was his first foray into direction, and he did a great job.

After seven tries Jeff Bridges may finally have that first Oscar for his mantle..and maybe one for Maggie Gyllenhaal as well.


Linda said...

I loved it, too. I saw it in Montclair at the Clairidge, about two hours before the 'Jersey Shore" crew almost caused a riot in the club across the street from the movie theater.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Linda- Jeff Bridges did an amazing transformation into a Waylon-Willie character, and Maggie was sad but strong and believable. And though the movie was bittersweet at its end you felt good for the characters who were better at the end of the film than they were when we first met them.

And isn't that a strange karmic juxtaposition regarding the JERSEY SHORE "guidos" and "guidettes" causing a riot in Montclair, NJ while this love story from America's Heartland was playing on a movie screen across the street?

Linda said...


A male friend of mine thought that "Crazy Heart" was unrealistic, cause who would go with a broken-down guy like Bridges. But I would.

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I think that this is a so romantic movie , I have wathed it with my exgirlfriend in the college.

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the music of this men is totally amazing, and the ambient in this music is presented is perfect for the movie, of course the performance presented by the actor help in great grade.

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