All I knew about Crazy Heart before I saw it last night was that it starred Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal– two of my absolute favorite actors. I had also read that it was the performance of Jeff Bridges’ career, which I was wary of, as I can’t imagine a better role for him than Lebowski.
I was wrong. Jeff Bridges is in absolute top form in this movie, and his performance knocked my socks off. The plot itself isn’t the most original I’ve seen– it kind of reminded me of The Wrestler. Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a once-legendary, Hank Williams-style country singer who is now an old, washed-up alcoholic playing bowling alleys and running outside to vomit in between songs. While playing a small show in Santa Fé, he meets Jane (Gyllenhaal), an aspiring journalist 30 years his younger who wants to interview him to potentially jumpstart her career.
So Bad Blake, this hot mess of an old country star, begins an unlikely (but somehow believable) romance with Jane, a single mother who is a bit wary of bringing this crazy, albeit charming alcoholic around her precious 4-year-old. And when I say precious, I mean ridiculously, absurdly cute. I can’t find a picture of him, but if I could… well, anyway.
The movie is wonderful. I never thought that a crusty old man with his gut hanging over his unbuckled belt chugging whiskey and throwing up bile in between bowling alley music sets could be so… attractive. But really, Jeff Bridges is a genius. And here’s the cool part– it’s actually him singing all the songs, and he’s actually good.
Oh wait, there’s an even cooler part– Colin Farrell is also in the movie, and he plays a much more successful, mainstream, Toby Keith-style country singer who learned everything he knows from Bad Blake. And Farrell, America’s favorite Irish bad-boy, speaks with an impeccable country twang, and actually sings his own songs too. That’s right– this movie features Colin Farrell singing country music, and it’s almost believable. That’s reason enough to see it.
As a fun fact, apparently Farrell agreed to do the movie on the condition that he not get paid a dime, that he not be put on the bill, and that he not have to do any press. He wanted to be in the film solely for the opportunity to act with Jeff Bridges.
Man, I’m looking forward to awards season. Bridges already won the Golden Globe for this role, and he’s the favorite for the Oscar. He plays Bad Blake with the perfect mix of edge and vulnerability, and the character is fully realized, fully developed. He breathes life into the stereotype of the old hard-livin’ country singer, fishin’ and drinkin’ whiskey in his truck.
Go see it, really. And then let’s talk about it over a beer (cause you’ll really want one).