in Review

Crazy On You

Crazy Heart

Don’t mean to interrupt the flow of things but I had to review this at some point. With the Bridgeman’s win at the Golden Globes last night it seems like now is as good a time as ever to do this, so what are we waiting for?

I’ve been giving out a lot of high marks lately to films like Avatar and Up in the Air, both great but I might have to reassess some of these when I end up doing my end of the year list… But one thing I know for sure is that I absolutely loved this film, both for it’s powerful lead performance and excellent Rock/Country soundtrack.

My first reaction to the trailers to Crazy Heart were something around the lines of “Woah it’s like The Wrestler but with a washed up country star.” I mean it’s a fair comparison, both feature once great men who once had their moment in the sun but have since then faded and are fighting for a comeback. Although Crazy Heart doesn’t quite have the dramatic presence or power of The Wrestler it has it’s darker moments. True it tends to waver on the “Feel Good” side of the drama but it’s always nice to get movie this time of year that’s not a complete downer. It’s not like it’s Hallmark Schmaltzy but it’s definitely lighter than your typical awards bound fare.

Screen vet Jeff Bridges plays country musician Bad Blake. Once a successful recording artist, Bad’s career has since been reduced to playing in bars and bowling alleys, not to mention he hasn’t written a new song in years. Troubled by alcoholism and poor health, Bad finds a little slice of happiness when he meets journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), naturally a connection forms and soon enough things seem to look up for Bad, if he can control his demons.

It’s a familiar setup and I’m sure some wont care much for the typical “Older dude falls in love with attractive young woman” plot device but I enjoyed that. I mean I think it makes plenty of sense, Bad is a celebrity. So initially she’s enamored with the legend of Bad which leads to her getting to know him and then falling for him. I believe the romance here and it leaves for a very sweet movie.

But I think the real applause must go to the excellent soundtrack from primarily rocker T-Bone Burnett. I didn’t expect the tunes to wow me much (not being much of a country fan) but they did and I’m still considering buying the soundtrack when it comes out. It’s really more of that bluesy kind of country popularized by the likes of music outlaws like; Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, so I’m not embarrassed to like it. Jeff Bridges has a mighty fine singing voice and he even plays his own guitar which is always a plus for me. Colin Farrel doesn’t have a bad voice either as Bad’s former protege the now famous country star Tommy Sweet. The main theme “The Weary Kind” is an excellent acoustic ballad and even took home best song at the Golden Globes last night. I thought I heard somewhere that it couldn’t be submitted to the Oscars… Isn’t that crazy? I mean if the last two winners for “Best Original Song” at the Golden Globes weren’t even nominated at the Oscars?

Anyways I really loved the feel good simplicity of this film. Does Jeff deserve an oscar for it? I don’t know he’s certainly good but it’s a fairly subtle performance. Jeff Bridges has always been one of the great “under-actors” where it seems like he’s not even acting, he’s just that character. That takes a lot of skill so hopefully that will continue to be acknowledged.