Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crazy Heart

Apparently I’m a sucker for movies about washed out Country stars with substance abuse problems who finally make good and get their lives back together. I was a sucker for Walk the Line, even though Joaquin Phoenix wasn’t nearly as badass as I might have liked for the part of Johnny Cash. And now I’m a sucker for Crazy Heart, which stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, the alcoholic Country star consigned to touring the bowling alleys and hole-in-the-wall bars of the rural west.

You can probably guess the plot before even seeing the movie: person leads destructive life, meets beautiful woman (in this case played perfectly by Maggie Gyllenhaal), makes some huge mistakes, ultimately changes life for the better. In that sense, Crazy Heart is not a particularly innovative movie.

What it lacks in innovative plot, though, it makes up in quality performances and the our emersion into that classic Country milieu of hard-livin’ wanderin’, writing songs about life and love and all the mistakes people make.

Jeff Bridges is great. I don’t know if he’s award winning great, but if he wins awards I’m not going to be pissed off. It took me a little while to stop seeing The Dude on screen, but I got over that. I was most surprised by Colin Farrell, who played Bad Blake’s young protégé turned New Country star. I wouldn’t normally think “pop country star? How ‘bout Colin Farrell?” but I thought he did a convincing job.

I thought the relationship between these two was the most interesting part of the movie. Yeah yeah guy meets girl changes his life all that was good too and it makes the plot turn, but the difference between Bridges, whose character roamed the country in an old Ford truck playing dives, and Farrell, who toured in gigantic tour busses to millions of people, was the difference between really living the life described in the songs and simply selling it.

Go check it out if you get the chance. Crazy Heart is playing at a small art house near you, I'm sure.

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