Have you seen the movie Crazy Heart yet? It stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a down and out, aging, boozing country singer whose relationship with a young mother and her son help him begin the long road back to sobriety. We saw the movie a couple of weeks ago with friends and afterwards over a brick fired pizza and beer, talked about it at length. We all agreed that it was Jeff Bridges' greatest performance and definitely Oscar worthy. Well, the Oscar question has now definitely been settled--Bridges won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Bad Blake.
Although we questioned the casting of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Bridges' love interest, we enjoyed Crazy Heart's mostly linear narrative (aren't you tired of the current tendency to overuse and constantly blur the past and present with confusing and vaguely delineated flashbacks?), and its deliberate pacing, as well as the performances of the other actors, especially Robert Duvall, who was, as usual, excellent. We were especially keen on the songs Bad Blake sings--Country, but with something of an Americana vibe. We learned from reading about the movie earlier that Bridges performed all the songs himself.
The movie's theme song also won an Oscar. This award was given to T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham for their collaboration on "The Weary Kind." You've heard of T Bone before; he's provided soundtracks for many movies including the Coen brothers great comedy O Brother Where Art Thou? I'm not sure, but I think T Bone's role with this song involved taking something already written by Bryan Bingham and producing and massaging it a bit for the movie. If I'm wrong about this, let me know.
I had never heard of Ryan Bingham before, but from what I've seen of him, he's a promising young singer songwriter. His gravelly, experience worn voice belies his youthful image. But if you check out Ryan's bio, you'll find he's had some pretty rough going himself.
As I said earlier, Bridges does a great job singing the song himself, but I've chosen to play the songwriter's version here. Readers, tell me what you think about Bryan Bingham's rendition of his own song, "The Weary Kind."
P.S. We enjoyed Bridges brief and humble acceptance speech at the Oscars as he acknowledged the importance of his family especially his actor father Lloyd in his own development. Lloyd Bridges is best known in some circles as the star of Sea Hunt, a TV series in the sixties. In my circle he's best known for his excellent performance in the role of Deputy Harvey Pell in High Noon with Gary Cooper who plays Marshal Will Kane. Grace Kelly is in the movie too as Marshal Kane's Quaker bride.
Lloyd Bridges' character Pell is the current lover of saloon owner Helen Ramirez (beautiful, smoldering Katy Juardo) who had a close relationship with Marshal Kane in the past. Bridges shows his acting skills when he's shamed by Juardo's character with this line: "You're a good-looking boy: you've big, broad shoulders. But he's a man. And it takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man." If you own a dvd of this great movie, take a look at that scene again; "shame" is among the most difficult emotions for an actor to demostrate.