Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart

DVD - 2010
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The powerful story of a country music star's rocky road to redemption. Bad Blake is a boozy, broken-down singer who reaches for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the music. But will Bad's hard-livin' ways and crazy heart cost him his last chance at a comeback?
Publisher: [United States] : 20th Century Fox, 2010
Edition: Rental ed
Branch Call Number: DVD F CRA

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Nursebob
May 31, 2017

Movies about down-and-outers trying for one more kick at redemption are as old as Hollywood itself and director Scott Cooper’s hooch & cigarettes saga, based on the novel by Thomas Cobb, doesn’t really add anything new to the convention. But if the storyline seems all too familiar Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-winning performance manages to turn it into something extra special; his grumbling stumbling portrayal of a man who has done it all yet has nothing to show for it alternately exasperating and deeply compassionate. Hell, he even belts out those soulful T Bone Burnett songs as if he wrote them himself. And backing him up are Maggie Gyllenhaal as his muse and love interest, Colin Farrell as a successful former protégé (his Irish brogue hidden behind a southern drawl), and a welcome cameo from Robert Duvall as Blake’s only remaining friend. Gritty as a dirty ashtray and with enough heartbreak to fuel a Tammy Wynette and George Jones duet, Cooper’s long lonesome highway of a film may be rooted in country truisms but his delivery is anything but trite and that final resolution is beautifully unsentimental.

i
iwasthewalrus
Aug 27, 2015

Bad Blake - the name of Jeff Bridges’ fictional country music icon - is a burnout surviving on the weight of his name. In between lonesome boozy nights, chain-smoking, and hangovers, he’s sauntering down the highway to nowhere. Opportunity knocks as Bad reluctantly agrees to open for Tommy Sweet (the film has a knack for tacky names), an old protege of his. Their relationship was likely torn apart by Bad’s own envy, the same hostility making him perceive Sweet as a rival. But as a romance brews between Bad and a more youthful single mother, he’s convinced to rectify his decrepit lifestyle and career.

Combining the feel-good optimism of a Lifetime movie and a patient character study, Crazy Heart only thrives on the weight of its actors. In the opening, Bad (while likely inebriated) stumbles into a desolate bowling alley. It’s a callback to The Big Lebowski ’s bowling alley, where Bridges’ “The Dude” would bicker and debate subjects such as his urine-stained rug. We’re instantly filled with feelings of recollection. The juxtaposition establishes Bad Blake as a familiar face from the past, the same way the public in Crazy Heart remembers him as.

Bridges’ performance earned him unanimous and very vocal praise along with an Oscar. Without any major dramatic exhibitions, the veteran actors develops his character with an earnest calmness that wholly embodies the role. In a single befuddled glance, he creates a performance that rings of honesty and realism. Every experience, no matter how slight, shapes Bad, and every moment of self-discovery has a noticeable impact on Bridges’ portrayal.

Yet all the while Bridges is almost invisible in the shadow of Maggie Gyllenhaal. As the self-dependent woman who becomes involved with Bad, Gyllenhaal acts with more naturalism than she’s shown in her entire career. Her scenes with Bridges are practically showstoppers. Such an incredible array of conflictions flash through Gyllenhaal’s face and eyes. She’s confronted by her admiration for Bad, her doubtfulness in men, her affection and need to raise her son in a world devoid of abusive (or self-abusive) adults, and finally her own right to experience joy. Such a fully realized performance from an actress who frequently obtains little more than my indifference had me in a state of shock. Truly phenomenal work.

But a film is more than the sum of its performances. Despite boasting two exemplary works of refined and powerful acting, Crazy Heart is largely unsubstantial as a whole. There are very few exceptional scenes, and the direction is ls hardly remarkable. Filmmaker Scott Cooper (as he later did with the underrated Out of the Furnace ) relaxes and leaves the heavy lifting to his stars. Yes, Crazy Heart is a character-oriented film and doesn’t require any flashy directorial flourishes, but Scott’s style is excessively laid-back. Outside of perhaps working with his leads (it’s difficult to pinpoint how much credit to attribute to the filmmaker in regards to performances), the film is mildly boring and occasionally stale.

I wasn’t fond of the music, but there’s something mesmerizing about watching Bridges on a stage, strumming his guitar and singing his bland country music lyrics. It’s as though he’s not Jeff Bridges, the star of The Last Picture Show , Cutter’s Way , and The Big Lebowski . But instead, he’s Bad Blake, the fading country singer. It’s at this point you make the snide remark, “yeah, that’s called acting…”, but few actors undertake and deliver such a spotless and nonsynthetic transformation. There mere fact that Maggie Gyllenhaal’s heartbreaking tour-de-force is in the same film is a cause for celebration.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Dec 20, 2013

Jeff Bridges delivered a rock-solid performance, including doing the actual singing, as the aging, chain-smoking and alcoholic country singer trying to redeem himself and begin writing songs again. I have never been a fan of country music but enjoy the few music performances in the film. A great, feel-good movie.

s
slarsen
Dec 12, 2013

I think this film was just OK. An over used formula and it was a little too predictable for me.

Quimeras Jan 31, 2013

There are plenty of movies out there about troubled yet talented stars. So, although there is nothing new to this story, Jeff Bridges and Bad Blake’s soulful music make “Crazy Heart” worth watching.

tmundy50 Jan 15, 2013

Jeff Bridges delivers a great, Oscar winning performance as Bad Blake, a down and out country singer making one last comeback. Highly recommended.
Anyone who enjoyed this movie should seek out a movie called Tender Mercies - a similar story for which Robert Duvall won an Oscar in the early 80's.

b
betweenthelines
Jul 23, 2012

A very convincing performance by Bridges as the man who we watch unravelling as he travels across country to another dead end gig. Jack Daniels is his only best friend now,Bad Blake who once was "IT" is lost in a drunken bored haze...until he meets a younger journalist..then things get interesting!! Robert Duvall pops over to give a suble quiet performance as the friend trying to get Blake back in the saddle of the living..not into country much but this movie was really interesting nonetheless..
Cheers!

v
VRMurphy
Feb 02, 2012

Lived up to my (high) expectations. Bridges his usual nuanced performance, Duvall and Farrell outstanding in supporting roles. Gyllenhaal perhaps the weakest main character but fault is in the writing not her acting.

m
Monolith
Jan 22, 2012

Jeff Bridges is outstanding. Heartfelt story. Well done.

j
Janice21383
Nov 03, 2011

What everyone said, except...the music's not so hot. So who cares if Bad Blake makes a comeback? There's plenty more where that came from, on any New Country station.

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RichardPaul
Sep 09, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

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RichardPaul
Sep 09, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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Teyfor8Wyoma
Jun 26, 2010

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

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Teyfor8Wyoma
Jun 26, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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RichardPaul
Sep 09, 2011

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Athena48
Aug 30, 2011

Athena48 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Teyfor8Wyoma
Jun 26, 2010

Teyfor8Wyoma thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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