Friday, January 08, 2010

First Thoughts on Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart. Where do I start.

I feel like there's a lot I can say about this film, but at the same time, I proceed with caution.

It's not like it's a "there's a big surprise, Jeff Bridges is really a ghost the whole time" type of film and I don't want to "spoil the twist." Because this film doesn't quiet have a twist, but instead lots of little surprises.

So, it's hard to talk about it with out taking away from what I think is a very pleasant film.

If you live in New York City, wear black, and have never seen a dirt road, I think this film might be a little hard to fully appreciate. On the other hand, if you've known so old men who wear cowboy hats, women who wear jade earrings, and have ever been to small town bowling alley then I think this film will carry an air of authenticity to it.

And a half dozen sentences in, and I've failed to mention the two things everyone who sees the film will talk about...Jeff Bridges and the music.

When this film popped up on the "2009 film radar" back in November, it became pretty clear Jeff Bridges was going to be an Oscar contender. But Oscars and awards aside, this isn't just an award-friendly role, it's one of the roles that I think will mark Jeff Bridges career. This is some fine, fine work he does in this role. He is always convincing.

When my wife and I were at the screening more than once my wife asked me if Jeff Bridges character, Bad Blake, was a real person. The film has an air of being a bio-pic, but Bad Blake is fictional, but seems like the story of a true washed up musician.

Comes the next part that makes this whole film, including Bad Blake, seem so real and interesting, the music. T-Bone Burnett, along with Stephen Bruton and Ryan Bingham, put together a fantastic collection of "Bad Blake" songs. These songs, along with Jeff Bridges performances, make this film.

The the soundtrack for Crazy Heart is great with many songs that I believe are worthy of standard radio play, Bridges vocals and all. The films theme-song "The Weary Kind" is good, but I am particularly fond of "Fallin' & Flyin'" as well as the ballad "Brand New Angel."

I saw this film the other night, and I'm still digesting it some, but it's easy to praise the songs & Jeff Bridges.

I could say more about Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, and "the surprise actor" who shows up in this film in an interesting way, or Scott Cooper (writer/director) and his debut with this film...but for now I will keep it simple, because that's how Bad Blake would probably keep it, and praise this film, it's lead actor & the music that I think people will find entering their homes.


Lorna said...

Thanks for these thoughts. I'll watch for Crazy Heart---I have a special place in my own heart for JB and for Maggie Gyllenhall

Lorna said...

I meant to make the link: I have a special place in my own heart for Jeff Bridges, especially since The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Danny King said...

I got a chance to see this one a couple of weeks ago. I thought Bridges was by far the best thing in the film. I felt the story was predictable and I thought the first-time writer/director Scott Cooper struggled to balance his tone.

I also thought that "The Weary Kind" was the film's best song, and that the other ones -- performed well by Bridges -- had some good lyrics, but didn't sound like anything special.

crackers and cheese said...

I'm pretty sure her earrings were turquoise. Have you seen the Wrestler? Danny's right, the plot is predictable; it's basically a remake of the wrestler except a smidgeon more hopeful. Throughout the film, I kept predicting the next plot development due to having seen the Wrestler.

However, I thought Crazy Heart was a great film, mostly because of the characters, the music, and the locals. As someone who's lived in Texas most of her life and who has spent many summers in New Mexico, the landscapes, locals, malls, and bars were all familiar and resonated with me.

Anthony said...

I love searching for your old blogs after I finally see a movie. We rented it last night. We both enjoyed Jeff Bridges, but I think I liked the movie more than Allison did.