Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crazy Heart = Crazy Good Acting

The Academy has seen fit to bestow Oscar noms on two actors (see above) from Crazy Heart -- and rightly so!  It is always inspiring to see actors at the top of their game - definitely check out Mr. Bridges and Ms. Gyllenhaal.   

My good friend, Mike Ford, asked me to post a guest review of Crazy Heart on his new movie blog.  I've pasted my review below (in the style of Mr. Ford), and to see other timely reviews and fresh takes on current movie topics, check out

CRAZY HEART - (Review by Jeff Boehm)
"The Redemption Tale" is one of the oldest stories around -- there is the attractive but old, tortured former artist/actor/musician/athlete who falls from glory, loses family and self-respect, gets some sort of addiction, is inspired by a woman (usually a sexy, hard-working single mom) to face up to his mistakes, atone for them, kick said addiction and return to past glory.  There are no real surprises in the story of redemption told in Crazy Heart.  Still, thanks to some outstanding performances -- including impressive supporting turns by Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall (the very king of Redemption stories!), spot-on original music, and interesting photography, there is enough there to keep us pulling for our hero to come back from the brink.   

Jeff Bridges is arguably at his best when he plays a character a little (or a lot) left of center, "The Dude," for instance.  Here, he is pitch-perfect as down-on-his-luck country singer, Bad Blake.  The sure-handed Bridges plays Blake with the appropriate mix of charm and smarm.  His scruffy voice, and even scruffier hygiene, makes Bad seem older than his 57 years.  An actor this in tune with his craft is the writer/director's best friend; when Bad runs off the 'stage' of a bowling alley, vomits in a garbage can out back, reaches down to pick up his now vomit-covered sunglasses, puts them on and ambles back to the stage, where he sits and mumbles the last line of his hit song before leaving the stage for good, Bridges authentically does more to show the viewer what this man has become than any number of long expository speeches could.

Despite his dirty and tired facade, at moments throughout the film, Bridges reveals glimpses of Blake's long-dormant talent and heart
Insert Woman to bring out the former Blake!  Maggie Gyllenhal is in her wheelhouse here (as opposed to being -- unbelievably -- the woman all men lust after in The Dark Knight) as a small-town, single mom reporter who falls for the aging musician.  Again, no surprises here as she tries to penetrate the alcohol-powered force field constructed around Bad's soul, but the stick-to-the-formula-ness of the movie didn't really bother me; despite a couple minor contrivances in the script, the rest of the production kept me along for the ride.  The cinematography is a brilliant contrast of the dank, dirty and cramped life of Bad Blake with the open and natural beauty of the West.  It makes you want to both take a shower and pack up the car for a ride down Route 66.  And the songs are really top notch; the music itself becomes a character central to the plot and indeed central to our understanding of the other characters -- it's no surprise to me that Bridges turned down the project until they came back to him with the original music and songs that would be used in the film.

In a nutshell: If The Wrestler and
Tender Mercies had a baby, and the baby can craft a tune like T Bone Burnett, it would be this movie.

See it: If you can find it at the local Indie cinema, otherwise get your hands on the DVD when it comes out.

4.5/ 5 stars


  1. Love the review, you should post more!

  2. Thanks for the props, Boehm! The web site is actually a fellow site:

    But thanks for thinking it worthy of an entire domain all to itself!

  3. Thanks, Lindsay ;)

    Sorry about the wrong address, Ford!

    Everybody please visit


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