I really liked the new feature of having former co-stars talk about personal experiences with the nominees for Best Actor and Actress. The tributes were brief and genuine and humanized these otherwise unworldly celebrities. I thought Colin Farrell’s praise of his friend and Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner was unbelievable real and quite touching. Michele Pfeiffer had nothing but gushing things to say about Jeff Bridges. It was very nice.
Bridges won the award for Best Actor for his role in Crazy Heart. I really liked this movie and loved his performance. I saw the movie awhile back and had meant to post this earlier; but with the Oscar’s so close by, I figured I’d post around Oscar time. What follows is my account of the movie.
I saw Crazy Heart a few weeks ago. It’s a flick about a washed up country singer, playing dives and any gig he can book to make ends meet or at least get his next bottle of whiskey. He’s four times divorced, an alcoholic, and drives a 1978 Suburban named Bessie. His name is Bad.
It’s a narrow fence we walk between independent and lost. Bad Blake, played brilliantly by Bridges, falls on both sides of that fence throughout the story. There’s a certain romance to his whiskey drinking and pain that enables him to write memorable and beautiful songs. The flip side is that he manages to spoil anything good that may come his way.
To date, I’m still unsure whether I was a lost or independent soul when I saw this movie. I went alone on a rainy Wednesday night with a bar of dark chocolate. But we digress.
The point I want to highlight about this film isn’t the cliché story of a burnout saved by love and throwing it away for old habits. No, we can get that story many places (Good Will Hunting, Billy Madison). What I loved about this movie was the friendship between Bad Blake and Wayne, played by Robert Duval.
Wayne is the owner of the bar Bad plays nightly in his hometown of Houston. Wayne plays a small role in the movie but a big role in Bad’s life. Wayne tells Bad he did the right thing by calling his son no matter their history and Wayne tells Bad he’s going to help him sober up when Bad gives it a shot. Bad called Wayne to say he wanted to get sober. That’s all he had to say and Wayne was there.
Their relationship is overshadowed by the boy-meets-girl saga of Bad and Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), but it resonated with me. The difference between being independent and lost lies behind the scenes. When you’re done being alone, I mean physically alone, what’s there for you? Better yet, who? If you can answer this – and you usually can – you’re never lost.
See the movie for a number of reasons: the subtle bromance, Bridges’ performance, the music, or – very underrated – the Southwestern scenery. One romanticized aspect of the film are the beautiful plains of Arizona and New Mexico. Often these wonders of the Southwest are overshadowed by the mountains (no pun intended) and their proximity to the timeless beauty of the sea; but director/writer Scott Cooper does an incredible job shooting the solitary, expansive wonder that is the Southwest.
And if you really don’t care about seeing the movie, the lesson you can take from reading this is that if you want to see a movie alone and have a bar of chocolate, well by-gollie go do it.