Strange. I saw Crazy Heart back in March, in the theater, just before the Oscars, and was going to write about it then, but couldn’t find the right angle. Then I figured that the next movie I saw would motivate me to finally write about it, but I haven’t SEEN a film since then, aside from a partial one. Now it’s three months later, the movie’s available on video. I was going to say at the time that it was a good rental rather than necessary to see in the cinema, but now I’ve waited so long, that’s about the only way you’re likely to see it.
As you probably know, Jeff Bridges won the Best Actor Oscar for playing rundown country singer Bad Blake, an alcoholic on the downward slope of his career, forced to play small venues such as bowling alleys. He manages to hook up with his female fans as he travels from town to town. His former protege, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), makes it known through Bad’s manager that he wants buy some of Bad’s songs, but Bad’s hidden pain blocks his creativity. Meanwhile, a roving reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) falls for him.
The familiar hellholes Bad plays in is reminiscent of the familiar, easygoing and peaceful characters Bridges has played in the past. It’s a good role, and he plays it well, but it is not groundbreaking cinema, and the award, I suspect, is as much a reward for lifetime achievement as for this particular performance.
It’s not that I didn’t like Crazy Heart – I did – but it had a certain “I’ve seen this before” feel. And I didn’t quite buy the hookup between Bad and the reporter, though, oddly, I did believe the relationship subsequently.
Oh, for Christmas 2009, I got the soundtrack for this movie, which is quite good. But it’s better once you see the movie and understand the context. Both Bridges and Farrell do their own singing, and they’re quite competent.