Review: Crazy Heart

A hard luck movie of a man trying to get through his dark cloud of regret and contempt at the world.  This is a showcase of one man’s experience and his journey shines through all he’s lost.  I wish the movie/characters around him had risen to meet the performance of Jeff Bridges.

Jeff Bridges IS Bad Blake.  A broke, alcoholic country singer bemoaning the fact he hasn’t hit the big time while his protégé has.  This is an academy award performance that will make it very hard for you to pull your eyeballs away.  The rest of the movie is pretty standard fare that I had wished had given the audience as much as Bridges had.


Bad Blake (Bridges) is a legend.  He is the original country singing “been there, done that” badass, disgruntled star.  His agent books him at bowling alleys and little bars because his star hasn’t burned bright in a good long while, relying on his old songs for current relevance.  His bitterness to his situation, his  protégé (Colin Farrell) who he feels isn’t grateful and his alcoholism seem to be about to overtake him when he meets a single mom (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who may truly be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Welcome to the Jeff Bridges show.  He acts, he sings, he plays guitar, he is amazing as the down-on-his-luck cliché that is Bad Blake.   And even though it seems like we’ve seen this story a hundred times before, it’s Bridges’ performance that makes this movie.  You feel the pain of loss and what could have been in his music…and yes, that is Jeff singing.  You’ll find yourself truly rooting (barracking to you Aussies) for this man who is his own worst enemy.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is fine.  Unfortunately when you’re put up against Bridges here, it’s almost impossible to keep up…you just have to hold on.  Gyllenhaal manages to do just that.  But that’s about it.  It’s almost like if she wasn’t up against such a strong performance, hers would have be better.

Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell pop up as buddy and country singing protégé respectively.  Duvall plays the same character he’s played for a while now while Farrell stands out as Tommy Sweet, a guy who isn’t as bad as we want to think he is.  He’s really turned around since his role in In Bruges and I look forward to what he does next.  I can’t believe I just said that about Colin Farrell.

3 starsgood movie, take a friend. This movie more deserves a single ticket rating but it is Jeff Bridges’ Bad Blake that pushes it to a higher recommendation.  Much like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, this is a career-defining role that the Oscars will honour as much as every stoned college student honours The Dude.

Coming Attractions:
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (release date: April 23, 2010) – Gordon Gekko is back!  He’s out of jail and battling the recession with Shia LaBeouf.  I don’t have the hate for Shia that most do and with the addition of Josh Brolin, Charlie Sheen returning as Bud Fox and Oliver Stone to take us for a “Greed is Good” spin again, I’m on it.


Randomly Recommended
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) – Jeff teams up with his real-life brother Beau to tell the story of lounge singing piano players looking for that…that…”thing” which will get them famous.  Enter Michelle Pfeiffer.  All I will say is Pfeiffer + crawling on top of a piano + singing “Making Whoopie” = SOLD!


In Bruges (2008) – Possibly the only real Colin Farrell movie worth recommending.  He’s a hit man stuck in the European city, awaiting his next assignment.  It’s well written, bit of action and hilarious.  Check it out and don’t let Farrell stop you.


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  1. I will begin and end this with Jeff Bridges. I don’t disagree with anything you say Russ which is shocking since I left speechless. I hated parts of the plot. I don’t like how this movie turned into a 50 year old man’s wet dream, when there was zero need for it. Jane is really messed up and I never understood why she was attracted to and slept with Bad. It could have been a great movie to show that Bad was helped by an understanding, nice woman and her son without having to sleep with her (which I didn’t believe could happen at all!) the most interesting part of the story line was the relationship between Bad and Tommy and it was a waste that it wasn’t explored more, since as you said, Tommy wasn’t the bad guy Bad made him out to be.

    Jeff Bridges.

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