Tuesday, February 02, 2010
I Used To Be Somebody
Hitting bottom is a common concept in AA -- the idea that we go for as long as we can until the humiliation of living a certain way becomes too much. Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart has spent his entire life in the familiar rise and fall story of an alcoholic country western singer who has seen better days. Beyond the trappings, this brilliant film gets to what everyone feels at one time or another, embodied by the lyrics that Bad Blake sings: "I used to be somebody, now I am somebody else." This somebody else still has his fans, but he's broke and playing bowling alleys and hole in the wall bars. The singer he mentored, Tommy Sweet (played by a terrific Colin Ferrell) has become wildly successful, his agent can't get him gigs that don't require driving all over hell's half acre, and he isn't able to drink without vomiting. None of this bodes well for his brief love affair with a reporter played by Maggie Gyllanhall.
Jeff Bridges makes you believe Bad Blake, makes you feel his pain. The movie is a redemption story, but at its core, Crazy Heart isn't a movie about a magical transformation -- it's about becoming more yourself. There aren't any easy answers offered here, nor is there the ability to forgive and forget the past. The past is always with us. Jeff Bridges deserves the Oscar for this one; I've loved him since he played Duane in Last Picture Show. He's good at those lonely places we all end up from time to time, the sadness of their collective song.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm very manipulative towards directors. My theory is that everyone on the set is directing the film, we're all receiving art messages from the universe on how we should do the film." Jeff Bridges
Drinking biography suggestion: Raymond Carver Carol Sklenicka
Benedictions and Maledictions