Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crazy Heart

Scott Cooper, 2009 (8.2*)

This is a simple yet effective story as old as country music: a jaded country singer is nearing 60 and is tired of life on the road playing bowling alleys and roadside bars for chump change as his best years are behind him. Jeff Bridges was not only perfect in this, doing all his own singing, but finally got a well-deserved Oscar after some near misses (four previous nominations) and a career of impeccable professionalism in his performances. This is as good as my favorites of his: as the cheating best friend in The Last Picture Show, as the jaded supper club pianist with brother Beau in The Fabulous Baker Boys, and as the air crash survivor who loses fear of death in Peter Weir's Fearless.

Maggie Guylenhaal nearly steals this movie with her excellent and believable portrayal of a young music journalist who falls for Bridges' inner man; this has to be her best performance. Colin Farrell, as a young hot attraction who was mentored by Bridges when starting out, actually outsings Bridges in a surprisingly twist to his stellar career - who knew Colin had this voice hidden within? (..but not many male country stars wear two earrings!)
Probably the only thing wrong with this film is what will make it more popular: a plethora of 'soundtrack ready' simple country songs that even Bridges and Farrell can sing, including the Oscar-winning song "The Weary Kind", co-written by producer musician T-Bone Burnett. Great for country fans, but a bit much for those of us who prefer bluegrass, rock, jazz, classical, or something where musicians actually play their instruments well. Thankfully on the dvd you can fast-forward the ones you don't like. Robert Duvall has a near-cameo as a bar owner, and he also produced, a story eerily simliar to his Oscar®-winning performance in Tender Mercies.


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HermanTurnip May 24, 2010 at 10:39 PM  

That's it. I think I'll be picking up this flick next week. I'm a big Jeff Bridges fan (I even picked up Tideland, and wish I hadn't), but somehow missed this movie. I'm off to the store!

CMrok93 May 27, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

It's an alright film, but nothing really different that I haven't seen before. Kind of like The Wrestler, for music.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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