Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I have a friend who's an aspiring music journalist, similar to Maggie Gylenhaal's character in Crazy Heart. She likes to review lesser known musicians who come into town and play Philly's smaller venues. That honky tonk sound with a rootsy rock influence, by musicians with snow on the roof, but plenty of sexy fire still in the belly -- John Doe, to name one, is really her thing. So it was great to watch the movie with her and see it through her eyes and better yet, she treated!
It would seem the Producers of Crazy Heart banked on the success of last year's has been story The Wrestler, and rightly so. Jeff Bridges', Bad Blake is sexier than Mickey Rourke's character and, well, sexier than Mickey Rourke, but not by much. This film portrays the same theme of a man reaching an age past his prime, still trying to cling to an old life that no longer celebrates him. Both character's receive marginal recognition for their contribution once made, but it doesn't ground them or give them a sense of place.
I read a review from Shaun Brady that perfectly sums up the feeling and shades of this film and what sets it apart (excerpts of review from Philadelphia City Paper):
Crazy Heart is essentially just a country tune, familiar whiskey-soaked complaints retold with a weary twang and a twinkling eye. However, it's not the song but the singer, and Jeff Bridges breathes road-hardened life into Bad with every line in his face and extra pound hanging over his belt buckle. The focus is on the romance between Bridges and journalist Maggie Gylenhaal, and even this standard-issue May-December fling is enlivened by the intimate details with which each adorns their scenes together. But what lingers is another relationship, that between Bad and Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), his former sideman-turned superstar who represents the pony-tailed, designer-jean crowd that dominates the modern country scene. Sweet is the type who swigs Southern Comfort onstage but sips Smart Water off, contrasting Bad's generation who never learned not to live their image.
This film [Director: Scott Cooper] not only rightly received recognition at the Golden Globes (wining Best Original Song -"The Weary Kind" and Best Dramatic Actor - Jeff Bridges) assuring the film as an Oscar contender, but in addition, Crazy Heart should also make considerable earnings on the Soundtrack. T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton have written some immediately accessible country, cross over tunes, sung amazingly well by both Bridges and Farrell!
There's definitely no appealing food and film tie in for this film, so we'll skip that part of the commentary and go right to the rating. This is the first film reviewed under the new rating system of "Tines" rather than "Toes"!
Rating: 3 Tines* Excellent - 4 Tines* Great - 3 Tines* Good - 2 Tines* Fair - 1 Tine* Poor - Tarnished