Fellow Movie Lovers
Through the years there have been many iconic movies made about alcohol addiction and the devastation left in its wake. A few come to mind:
The Lost Weekend, Ray Milland
I’ll Cry Tomorrow, Susan Hayward
Days of Wine & Roses, Jack Lemmon & Lee Remick
Who’s Afraid of Virginia, Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor
Animal House, John Belushi
A Star is Born, James Mason
The Verdict, Paul Newman
Sideways, Paul Giamatti
Leaving Las Vegas, Nicholas Cage. The quintessential example of self destructiveness ever depicted on the screen; suicide by alcoholic poisoning; there had to be a simpler way to exit Las Vegas.
Many awards and accolades were doused upon these movies and their stars.
Personally, I am tired and find very little entertainment value in viewing the loss of control, both of the tongue (liquid courage) and the body (regurgitation from excessive imbibing; although in recent times, vomiting seems to be pervasive tool in too many films). So it was with trepidation that I went to see Crazy Heart and was genuinely pleased and surprised with the product……..Jim Bean, not withstanding.
Based on the novel by Thomas Cobb; a project conceived by Jeff Bridges and Robert Duvall, it is a stunning tale of a once renowned, but now just a shell of his former self, country western singer traveling the country in his dilapidated yet beloved automobile; playing one night stands in tragically depleted bowling alleys and sad bars to equally tragic and sorrowful souls. His only partner, the ubiquitous bottle.
Jeff Bridges reaches amazing heights as Bad Blake. He is not mean, he is pathetic, flawed, but traces of his talent surface while performing. Instead of turning away from his debauchery you want to shake him and wake him from his malaise. Maggie Gyllenhall so wonderfully cast as Jean is the catalyst, his muse; she is a junior reporter, concentrating on music, enthralled with his past. The contrast between the two is riveting; she is light to his bleakness; clean and pristine to his slovenliness and indolence. She is pivotal in his metamorphosis.
This movie is loosely based on two musicians whose musical careers took divergent paths; one to glory and one to anonymity. T-Bone Burnett (music producer, “O Brother Where Art Thou?”) and his gifted but misguided childhood friend, Stephen Bruton, who died this past May, defeated by cancer.
Colin Farrell, as Tommy Sweet, the successful musician, is astounding in his versatility; he sings and plays the guitar with the utmost of professionalism.
The music by Ryan Bingham adds to the delightful flavor of the film; the concerts are electric!
Jeff Bridges elevates Crazy Heart to the limited level of….