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Crazy Heart

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 15-03-2011


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In a career filled with unforced, naturalistic performances, Jeff Bridges gives one of his finest in Crazy Heart. His oft-married, booze-soaked troubadour Bad Blake has just rolled into Santa Fe when he meets Maggie Gyllenhaal’s journalist Jean. “Where do all the songs come from?” she asks during their initial encounter. “Li… More >>

Crazy Heart

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Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a country music “star” whose fame has dimmed down to almost nothing. He’s almost always drunk; his “tour” involves him driving himself and his guitar from one really small, cheap venue to another and linking up with a local band who accompany him using cheat sheets. He is disheveled (frankly, he looks like Kris Kristofferson), and even when he showers, he looks like he’s in need of a cleaning and a comb. He’s had hit songs, and his aging fans (the few who remember him) are enthusiastic about seeing him, and when he can avoid throwing up from drinking, he can still put on a charming concert and usually take some woman back with him to his hotel for some company.

He has hit, quite frankly, just slightly above rock bottom. Yet one day, he grants an interview to a Santa Fe journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and sparks of mutual interest fly between the two almost immediately. The movie then embarks on a somewhat predictable “journey of redemption”…but it has enough things going for it to make this film rise well above the clichés that fill the two paragraphs I’ve just written.

Bad Blake is hardly a character we’ve never seen before. But as played by Jeff Bridges, we discover something new about him at every turn. He charms us, and actually makes it easy to see why a much younger woman like Gyllenhaal might find a place in her heart for him. His eagerness to be a positive force in the life of this single mother is an almost palpable thing…and we also get to watch as he derails his own efforts. To say that Bridges gives a “lived in” performance doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. Bridges is one of those great actors who has no vanity and no problem disappearing into his roles. It helps that he sings the terrific songs that were written for him, so that we get a genuine sense of Blake as a performer. We are able to see not only the worthwhile man behind the booze and dirty clothes, but the charismatic star that once was there and hasn’t completely died yet. Bridges gives, simply, the best male performance of 2009.

While Bridges is clearly the single most important reason the film rises above cliché, he is certainly helped by a very nice script, with lots of wry humor and tenderness and anger and anguish. It navigates through the clichés, not by ignoring them, but my giving them enough specificity that they no longer feel unoriginal.

The movie was filmed in New Mexico (my state…as anyone who reads my reviews knows) and the landscape perfectly compliments the tone of the movie. If it had been set in a lusher climate, something would have been lost. There is both the dryness and harshness of the landscape AND the welcome bursts of color…just like Blake has a harshness that is frequently belied by bursts of warmth and feeling.

The movie features fine acting throughout. Gyllenhaal is very good (although I scratch my head a bit over her Oscar nomination…I didn’t think she was THAT good), Robert Duval is funny and wise in his small role, and even Colin Farrell shows up as a big country star with a complicated history with Blake. Farrell is not entirely convincing as a country singer…but he pulls of the “star” attitude with ease. I appreciate that he was willing to take this tiny role…in the last couple of years, he has gotten serious about acting again, and has done much to redeem himself in my mind (his work in IN BRUGES was great).

This is a feel good movie that isn’t afraid to make us feel a little bad from time to time. But Jeff Bridges makes for the best of guides through this little, heartfelt film…and I highly recommend it for adults. Entertaining, fun, moving and well-crafted.
Rating: 5 / 5

Nominated for Oscars in the Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best song race Crazy Heart is the character study of a country music legend spiraling down a rabbit hole of alcohol addiction. Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a country music legend who’s currently down on his luck, forced to play bowling alleys and small bars while his young former protege Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) plays the big gigs. Constantly drunk, Bad Blake becomes friendly with a single mother, Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who interviews him for a local Arizona newspaper. When things go wrong in their relationship, though, do in part to his alcoholism, Bad Blake re-examines his life and addictions.

Jeff Bridges is a legend. Son of Lloyd Bridges (remember McCroskey from Airplane!: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines”), Bridges got his start at a young age guesting on many of his father’s TV shows when they needed a kid to play a small part. Since then he’s been nominated for five Oscars (including his current nomination for Crazy Heart), and has played iconic characters from Kevin Flynn in TRON to The Dude in The Big Lebowski. With the body of work that he’s amassed over the years, it’s hard to believe that Jeff Bridges calls Bad Blake the role of a lifetime and the work he’s most proud of. And considering he’s the front runner for the Best Actor race at this year it would seem that it might possibly be his best work, which is really saying something.

Crazy Heart is the type of movie that is really made by it’s acting and music choices. It’s not the type of movie that makes any huge bold new declarations, or tries to really do anything particularly new, but that’s also it’s charm. It makes some choices that you don’t completely expect, such as you’d think that Bad Blake’s animosity toward Tommy Sweet would come from Sweet being a prick, but that’s not the case. Also the ending isn’t the sweet ending you’d expect from this type of movie either. These changes are refreshing as the movie tries to be it’s own movie and not a mix of cliches. What this movie is, is a great character study of a man who used to be great, but has fallen into the mire and is trying to dig his way back out but doesn’t know how.

What the movie really comes down to, though, is the acting which can be seen in the nominations it’s received. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jeff Bridges, despite a 28 year difference in age, really show great chemistry on the screen. This is one of the most important part of the movie, because this is what really drives the last act of the movie, and for the last act to be believable, the chemistry has to be believable. Jeff Bridges really steals the show, but I don’t think anyone doubted his abilities. Here, though, he truly shines and develops a character that you love even though he’s got more than his fare share of faults. I also have to mention Colin Farrell. At first, he didn’t seem too believable as a country star, but you really get that impression before you even hear him open his mouth. In the end he makes a serviceable country star, and I think he did extremely well. To add to that he, as well as Jeff Bridges, did his own singing in the movie which thoroughly impressed me as well.

This is another movie that I don’t really have anything bad to say about. The acting is amazing, the music is transcendent, and while the movie could have easily succumbed to cliches it avoids them with ease. I think this is what all musical biopics should be about. If you like music biopics, character studies, good music, or simply movies with great acting I highly recommend this movie.

Rating: 5 / 5

Addressing all negative comment’s not just on Amazon but other site’s I’ve read review’s on as well.

This moaning about how Bad Blake’s drinking, smoking, urinating in a bottle..Just MADE people look at the ugly truth of alcoholism. They should have got a clue from preview’s that they wouldn’t be interested in this movie. But they watch it anyway and then leave bad comment’s? In the REAL WORLD people act like Bad Blake’s character EVERY DAY and for Jeff Bridges to ACT like an alcoholic and not in real life being one He did an Outstanding Oscar Worthy job.

The negative comment’s prove that some don’t understand how badly alcohol addiction can destroy someone’s life and make them act… well, here is a taste of it. This kind of life is far from perfect… apparently people disgusted by this movie don’t understand as they have never beeen around alcoholic’s and haven’t a clue about how drunk’s really act!

Don’t put down what you don’t understand, as someday someone close to you may become dependent on alcohol and will need someone in their corner. Will you think their behaviour is too disgusting to try and help them get better?

Also, the comment’s of Maggie’s character not being realistic, not wanting to be w/an much older man with ‘issue’s..Where have you people been. The Ugliest of musician’s out there can still get some action because they are musician’s! To this day.. young girls FLOCK to George Straight, Hank Jr, even Mick Jagger and Keith Richard’s…They are called Groupies who would go home w/any one in the band! So YES, this could be a very possible ‘hook-up’!

I think Jeff Bridges did an excellent job playing a down and out alcholoic trying to play his music but being drunk all the time has jeapordized his health and career.

The ONLY thing that WAS off about this movie that was not spoke of was Colin Farrell?! – Love him – but he looked out of place and not like a ‘country singer’ at all. VERY strange casting.

If you want Cute, clean, “country” w/o Old womanizing, drinking, vomiting, smoking, urinating drunks – Look out for a Taylor Swift movie as she has no clue about old country and how those singer’s lived through their rowdy lifestyle’s that made country – country.

I thought the movie had a message for people to realize when someone you care for has become too far gone and need’s help – Sure is nice to have a Very patient and understanding person there to give you that help.

Rating: 5 / 5

It’s easy to understand how Anthony Hopkins won a Best Acting role for playing Hannibal Lector–that’s a mighty big step away from one’s core. But to win the Academy Award for playing a low-key role, such as Bad Blake, a washed-out, mostly drunk country singer, is a fine achievement for perennially excellent actor Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.” In fact, I suspect he won for a lifetime achievement with this latest role, simply the next in a long line of outstanding acting.

This is a film I wanted to see because of Bridges but dreaded because I know he plays a man who drinks. My father was a drinker. It’s not a pretty sight or experience. Instead, I saw a working drunk, a man who could and did work right through his drinking, just as my father did. But the bottom line: working drunk is not living fully. And that’s what this movie is about: not living a life fully and directly.

Bridges plays a washed-out (repeated phrase for a purpose) country singer, clinging to a living just enough to get the next bottle for the gig. Just how low has Bad sunk? He drives himself from one bowling alley lounge to bar to truck stop in the hot, arid western states, the heat simply reflecting the unwashed appearance that Bad carries with him, clean or not. That nasty film of drink, smoke, rock-bottom life clings to him, clean or not.

How many years has Bad lived this way? Too many. How many more until he drinks himself to death? In the beginning he wrote songs that paved his way, but that was long ago. Until he has a gig in Sante Fe in a little nightclub where he promised the owner/piano player to allow his niece to interview him. Maggie Gyllenhaall plays Janie, also a drifter through life, at a crossroads, a single mom trying to find her way as a reporter. I was touched by her also perfect performance. For some reason she is attracted to this stinky, sweaty, aging country singer.

The redeeming grace–as there must be one in such a story–comes through Janie’s son. Bad really connects with the boy as much as he does with Janie. The horror scene involving the boy displays that award-winning acting by Bridges. Oh my, his facial expressions, his body language made me feel his own terror at what he had done–or not done. What place Bridges had to go in his psyche to find that terror must have given him nightmares!

That point in time changes Bad. For a rare moment in my movie watching history, I found myself not hoping or cheering or wishing for the character, just watching to discover what he would do. That next section of the story, that acting also congealed Bridges’s winning performance. It is so perfect.

To his extra credit, Bridges sings. Frankly, he could make a living at it. He sings a number of times. Colin Farrell as Bad’s former friend and current nemesis (only in Bad’s mind) also sings. It’s a country music movie with excellent performances, alone worth the price of your ticket. But to see Jeff Bridges take a simple role of a less-than-admirable man and make the viewer want that man to be better is the real reason to see this film. The singing is just part of that performance.

It’s the quiet dramas that reflect life in all its aspects that make us want to continue going to the movies. “Crazy Heart” is one of those quiet dramas of the heart with a touching story and excellent acting. I might even buy the soundtrack!
Rating: 5 / 5

I know Bad Blake, don’t we all know someone like him? Lovable but trouble with a capitol ‘T’. You can’t really trust him, but you want to.

Jeff Bridges puts his heart and soul into this film, and he becomes Bad. He is so believable that it is difficult not to trust him. He is that lazy, hazy cowboy drinking and singing his way through life, leaving those broken hearts behind. A broken down cowboy, trying to get through life the best he can. He has friends who help him, who are there for him, and that may be his best legacy. He is 57 and was once a big name in the cowboy singing business. Now he goes from joint to joint singing for his supper. He meets a woman almost every night, and leaves her as soon as he can. Until one day, a journalist,Maggie Gyllenhaal, touches his heart, his crazy heart. She has a 4 year old son and even though we hope it works out, we know he will mess it up.

Colin Farrel plays Tommy Sweet, the young singer who has won fame and fortune with Bad’s songs, gives him a chance. Both Colin and Jeff sing their own songs and they are true country. This is a film for everyone, has something for everyone- great acting, good singing, love and romance and kids. What could be better, not much.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 04-20-10

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Rating: 5 / 5

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