Friday, September 2, 2011

Formulaic Crazy Heart Still Casts a Warm Glow

This week I saw Crazy Heart again with Jeff Bridges in the Oscar-winning role of Bad Blake, a country singer wading through low tide in the sunset of his career. For some reason, I believe an Oscar quality film or role should be worth watching over and over again. Here I was on a second viewing and pretty much bored half-way through. Almost wasn't even going to finish it, perhaps in part because of its predictability.

No question Bridges is likeable in this role. And his love flame in this film, Maggie Gyllenhall, is equally likeable. And maybe that's part of the film's problem. You really do enjoy these people, and don't mind spending time with them. But.... for some reason their tired re-hash of this situation/drama didn't move me enough to care.

Robert Duvall co-produced this movie and in some ways it feels like a reprise of Tender Mercies, the Oscar-winning Best Picture, 1983. The pace is slow, the drama minimal. There's pain, there are mistakes, there's a behind-the-scenes look at how song writers create. But...

There's star power, too. Duvall himself makes an appearance. And Colin Farrell is smooth-cool as country music star Tommy Sweet. And there's some great camera work.

I like Jeff Bridges. He's played a lot of interesting roles in the course of his career, and probably made some pretty good money doing it. A lot of folks will always remember him as "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski, but his experience goes way back to a few performaces with his father Lloyd Bridges in the classic TV show Sea Hunt and a noteworthy performance in The Last Picture Show. It must have been exciting growing up in Hollywood.

If you're looking for something to watch some Friday night, Crazy Heart is solid. The music won an Oscar, too...

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