So, I almost didn't see this movie. One, the Kentuckian couldn't muster much enthusiasm for it. And this was due in part to the fact that some friends of ours who had seen it said it was the worst movie they'd ever seen.
Yes. The worst EVER. Strong words, I dare say.
These "friends" said it was so depressing and boring that one among them considered walking out mid-reel and another contemplated stabbing herself in the eyes with the spoon end of an Icee straw. Needless to say, I had my doubts. I wasn't expecting much. And maybe this is exactly why I LOVED it.
Yes. Love is a word you might think I used somewhat casually. In fact, I only use it when necessary. And this is an issue of necessity. Crazy Heart is beautifully acted (obviously), the music is incredible, and I can't wait to see it again.
I'd heard Crazy Heart compared to last year's The Wrestler. The comparison left me a little depressed. Perhaps it was the residue of the depression which followed watching The Wrestler the first time. Talk about a wrist-cutter. I'm tellin' ya. That movie put me in some kinda awful funk. But Crazy Heart was different even though there are some similarities.
"Bad" Blake is a washed up but legendary country star wallowing in resentment that his protege's career eclipses his own. He meets a young reporter and they fall in love and he plays the part of father to her son very well. The relationship inspires Bad to seek out his own estranged son and start writing songs again. When the relationship ends after Bad loses her son in the Houston tunnels, Bad finally gets sober to get back what he's lost.
This is a movie about redemption that's truly about redemption. Not redemption through death, which seems to be the only way to find redemption in movies lately (see: The Wrestler). Jeff Bridges is superb as Bad ("Friends" said you could actually smell his whiskey breath through the screen). But what's even better is the music.
Co-written and produced by T-Bone Burnett (raised in Ft. Worth) and Texas-by-way-of-New-Mexico artist Ryan Bingham. (Just downloaded his first album from iTunes. Amazing.) Everything T-Bone touches turns to gold, including the music of Cold Mountain, O Brother Where Art Thou, and the Robert Plant/Alison Kraus collaboration, Raising Sand. The original songs from the movie are already personal favorites, especially "I Don't Know" and "Fallin' and Flyin'."
I know the merits of the movie have been beaten to death by the critics, Academy, etc, etc. But I had to say my piece. It's right up there with the other contemporary Texas classics, like No Country for Old Men and Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. If you love country music, if you love Texas, you will love this movie.