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

Cocktail Hour
Drinking biography suggestion: Raymond Carver Carol Sklenicka

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


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the walking man said...

The link in the above post is not a safe sight so if you do not have massive firewalls and instant virus protection do not go there. besides there's only a couple of topless women and they ain't naturals.

Once I hit bottom I decided to stay there because that's where the living get's done.

Keith Hood said...

Yeah, I look forward to seeing Crazy Heart although I'll wait, as I almost always do, for the DVD release. The bit about the mentor made me think of Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishigiro. I just read it and I recommend it. It's five long stories and if it was ever made into a movie I think Clint Eastwood would have to do it because of his appreciation of Jazz.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like Jeff Bridges a lot, and though this is not my usual type of movie I'll probably see it just to see him in it.