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4.1 out of 5 stars
Crazy Heart [Blu-ray]
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Jeff Bridges plays 'Bad' Blake, a 57-year old chain-smoking, alocholic, washed-up country music star. He is effusive and rarely cares about anything apart from where his next drink is coming from and bounces from bar to bar playing small-time gigs and the same old songs to make ends meet. When Blake meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a small-town reporter who wants to write a piece on Blake, he re-evaluates his priorites and the road he is choosing to walk.

Running out of options, Blake is forced to play support for his former protege, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farell) whom he mentored and taught 'country' to, at the expense of his pride and self-respect. Tommy asks him to write some new material for him and Blake sees a way out of his self-destructive spiral and a way to be with Jean. Will he save himself from the brink?

Crazy Heart is probably Bridges' best performance to date (and I love Jeff Bridges), he plays 'Bad' so well, with great comedic effect and his flippant attitude just seems so natural. You can't help but feel sorry for him as he tears himself apart and I genuinely felt for the character. Colin Farrell was a really welcome surprise, I knew he was in the film, but going by past performances I wasn't expecting too much from him. I was pleasantly taken aback as he played Tommy Sweet in a practically note-perfect manner, suiting the character's idioms and really filling out the acrimonious past between Sweet and Blake. Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance is solid and believable as the reporter/single-mother but somehow it doesn't bring any empathy for her character. Despite this, the film really makes you feel for Bad Blake and honestly will him to turn things around.

The film is beautifully shot, credit to Scott Cooper here, it features a lot of bars and southern, rustic locations yet doesn't feel bland or homogenous. The score is good as well, I'm not a huge country-western fan, yet found myself whistling one or two of the tunes well after the film; I'm told most of the tracks are written by T-bone Burnett, but sung by Bridges. All in all, this is a touching film about last-chance turn arounds. Critics may argue that it is 'the wrestler' but about a country music star and they wouldn't be far wrong; but Bridges brings a unique level of humanity and vulnerability to the role. On top of all this Robert Duvall has a small part as a brilliant bartender. Highly recommended!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 March 2014
Crazy Heart is a fairly flimsy romantic drama anchored by a career defining performance from Jeff Bridges. Without his sublime efforts Crazy Heart would be consigned to Sunday afternoon doldrums.

An ageing, alcoholic (aren't they always) country star strikes up a relationship with a journalist who visits him to conduct an interview on his latest work. The obvious age gap is glossed over but Jeff Bridges' charisma makes the whole affair seem all the more plausible.

His southern drawl, drunken demeanour and sweet nature collide. It is a performance of such mastery that you forget you are watching an actor.

A sweet if hollow film the whole premise just doesn't ignite and is a little on the dull side. However a fantastic soundtrack and a surprisingly good turn from Colin Farrell ensure that there are moments of delight littered throughout. Crazy Heart has a gentle pace and is in no rush to reach its conclusion. The problem is the ending is so clichéd it all feels a little pointless.

A well-deserved Oscar winning performance from Jeff Bridges is enough to make this worth watching, but only just.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
As every film lover knows, Jeff Bridges has been putting in great performances for years - but "Crazy Heart" is different. Quietly magnificent throughout the entire movie, he owns the Oscar on this one.

"Bad Blake" is a 57-year old country singer, drunk most of the time and shuffling with a cigarette in his gob towards another small time venue he doesn't care about. As he empties a plastic carton of piss into the parking lot of a bowling alley (having been on the road for hours), he can think about only one thing - not family, not music, not love - but how can he get a bottle of McClure's Whiskey into his liver with only $10 left in his jeans?

Without any new material to make money from, wifeless for the 4th time and with deteriorating health, "Bad" is still a legend among his fans and when he's on stage, him and his beloved songs like "I Don't Know" can still cut it. But the younger bucks have replaced him - especially his despised protégé Tommy Sweet (a brilliantly cast Colin Farrell) who now has 3 huge articulated trucks to haul his equipment from one arena to the next and not a beat-up convertible called 'Bessie'.

Then "Bad" gets a lucky break. He is interviewed by a local Santa Fe journalist Jean Craddock, a divorced Mum in her Thirties with a bubbly 4-year old son Buddy whom she protects from - you guessed it - 'bad' men. Yet despite all her rules, both Jean and Buddy fall for the charms of the big kid with the guitar and the ten-gallon hat. And on the story goes, heartbreak to joy, joy to heartbreak and back again...

The support cast are convincingly enamored small town folks - Tom Bower as the store manager and Rick Dial as the local band's piano player. Colin Farrell sings amazingly well too and is a perfect foil for the aging singer (he's also superb in "Ondine"). Significant others shimmy around Bad's constant verbal abuse too - Paul Herman as his long-suffering manager Jack Greene and Robert Duvall as the bar-owner who never seems to give up on "Bad" and is maybe his only real friend (Duvall is still such a great actor at 79).

Although this kind of movie harks back to Duvall's own "Tender Mercies", it feels a lot richer in its details. There's a particularly tough scene where Bad decides to finally call his only son of 28. Bad hasn't seen him since he was 4 years of age - never helped him, never been there for him. There are very few words in the scene, but there's a lot of pain. The grown-up son is not surprisingly unforgiving - especially with his Mom having passed away two years earlier. With the receiver to his ear, there is a look on Bridge's face that is pure destruction - a horrible realization that he has caused agony with his cavalier stay-away life and won't easily get forgiveness for it. In the hands of another actor, there might have been histrionic tears when the call abruptly finishes - but Bridges just does what an alcoholic would do - not mend his ways, but look cravenly at the kitchen for a bottle to get lost in. And on it goes until he finally does something really selfish and stupid in a shopping mall with a boy who now looks at him with affection. It's brilliantly realized stuff, it really is.

Niggles - his recovery is too swift and too painless - alcohol abuse over that length of time is never that easy to shake off, and even though Maggie Gyllenhaal is a magnificent actress, there's a nagging disbelief in the relationship between her character and his - would she really fall for such a car-crash as "Bad Blake". But these are minor points.

"Crazy Heart" (based on the novel by Thomas Cobb) isn't quiet a masterpiece, but it's damn close. And while the other actors, the T-Bone Burnette music and Scott Cooper's superb direction all add so much to the film - ultimately it belongs to its leading man. Bridges imbibes it with believability and a soul few actors could even get near.

As Jean asks what is it that makes a great song - Bad answers with the title of this review - "The good ones feel like they've always been there..." You may feel the same about "Crazy Heart".

Put it high on your rental/to buy list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Crazy Heart is written and directed by Scott Cooper and based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb. It stars Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell & Robert Duvall. Bridges plays Bad Blake, a veteran country singer/songwriter who is down on his luck but always full of the booze. Embarking on another weary tour of dead-end towns, his life perks up when he meets young newspaper reporter Jean Craddock (Gyllenhaal) and her son Buddy (Jack Nation).

Apparently Bad Blake is based on three real men, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. With Scott Cooper saying he had hoped to make a biopic about Haggard but the rights were too difficult to obtain. Of further interest is that the Cobb novel is actually inspired by country singer Hank Thompson.

Crazy Heart is the type of movie that crops up from time to time that finds a wide and appreciative audience. That of the human interest story that beats a true and uplifting heart. That Crazy Heart has found the afore mentioned audience is mainly down to Bridges and his very affecting turn as the pathetic drunk resorting to what equates as singing for his beer money. For in truth the story is generic and straight forward, and one can guarantee you will have seen this before, and done much better in fact. But this is still fine story telling, a good movie propelled by rich characterisations {Gyllenhaal too is excellent} and paced with almost elegiac precision, that allows the humanistic elements to carry the audience to a fitting, if not surprising, finale. There's also value in the music on offer, with memorable tunes and note worthy renditions given by Bridges and Farrell. Barry Markowitz's photography also blends nicely with the narrative. His shooting of New Mexico lends itself to beauty and offers hope to Blake's future, while the tone down lighting for the dim bars that Bad is singing in brings to the fore the lowness that the singer has now reached. Bridges has done far better work than this, but who would deny him the Oscar for Best Actor that duly came his way at ceremony time? It's a great performance, tho, one that totally engages the viewers. At times infuriating & pathetic, yet at others he be charming and grasping our pity by the truck load. That both he and Gyllenhaal make a believable couple is the best compliment one can give them both. Their efforts in this movie deserve a look.

A simple redemptive story is lifted to greater heights by Gyllenhaal refusing to let her character be a cipher, and Bridges doing heart-breaking like few others can. 7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I know Bad Blake, don't we all know someone like him? Lovable but trouble with a capitol 'T'. You can't really trust him, but you want to.

Jeff Bridges puts his heart and soul into this film, and he becomes Bad. He is so believable that it is difficult not to trust him. He is that lazy, hazy cowboy drinking and singing his way through life, leaving those broken hearts behind. A broken down cowboy, trying to get through life the best he can. He has friends who help him, who are there for him, and that may be his best legacy. He is 57 and was once a big name in the cowboy singing business. Now he goes from joint to joint singing for his supper. He meets a woman almost every night, and leaves her as soon as he can. Until one day, a journalist,Maggie Gyllenhaal, touches his heart, his crazy heart. She has a 4 year old son and even though we hope it works out, we know he will mess it up.

Colin Farrel plays Tommy Sweet, the young singer who has won fame and fortune with Bad's songs, gives him a chance. Both Colin and Jeff sing their own songs and they are true country. This is a film for everyone, has something for everyone- great acting, good singing, love and romance and kids. What could be better, not much.

Recommended. prisrob 05-26-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'Jeff bridges' is one of my favourite actors, he rarely makes an error in his choice of roles.
Glad he got the 'Oscar' for his performance in 'Crazy Heart' allways thought he should have recieved an 'Oscar' for his role in 'Starman' way back in the 80's.
In this film he plays a 57 year-old country singer 'Bad Blake' who rely's on drink to drown out what had gone before.
Once successful, now reduced to the odd gig in pubs and clubs a life style he has accepted until he meets up with a reporter who wants to do a story on his career.
The film has moments of humour and moments of sadness as we follow 'Bad Blake' stumbling through life.
Great music coupled with a great performance from 'Jeff Bridges'
Look out for 'Colin Farrell' playing the part of' Tommy Sweet' a successful singer who hasn't forgotten his 'Mentor'
This is a really good movie, if you like country-music this could be for you. (Another CD I bought)
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on 28 October 2013
This Oscar winning film (Best actor, Jeff Bridges and best original song, 'The Weary Kind')is a right cracker. Ye Haw! In this country music themed saga, based on the 1987 novel by Thomas Cobb, Jeff Bridges plays 'Bad' Blake, a beat-up, ageing, bottle driven country music singer once top of the bill, but now broke and reduced to simple gigs in local pick-up bars and neighbourhood clubs. He plays the part so well he could take it up - that's the performing not the boozing! Bridges is a fine actor and always earns his fee. Here in this movie, when he's just about able to stand up and with any rehearsal considered a waste of drinking time he puts on a bravura display of character acting. His performance could not, in my view. be bettered. The movie depicts what it must really be like to cling on to what was once a five star singer/song writer career now reduced to being a bum! Dragging himself around dusty Texas and New Mexico small towns in a battered old car with little else except his guitar and a bottle. Until he meets up with Jean a divorced mother of a small boy. She's a reporter who wants an interview with the has-been performer. From this point life begins to look slightly better. When Blake gets an invite and reluctantly agrees to perform at a big arena with a former protégé, things begin to move along nicely. He even takes to going on the wagon and trying to sober up - something he hasn't tried for a long time! The performance of Bridges lifts what might seem a fairly routine story onto a much higher level of film entertainment. There's a good share of ups and downs and will he, won't he moments throughout the film. The end scene is the only slightly weak ,slightly unbelievable moment (I won't disclose what it is!) but it seems to suit. For contractual reasons the movie differs very slightly from the novel, particularly towards the end, but if you like country music, a good story and watching Jeff Bridges at work, You'll love this movie !
In conclusion, it's worth mentioning that if this film does not spring immediately to mind, the reason may be that this relatively low cost production was intended for straight to DVD issue. However it was secured by Fox for a limited release to movie theatres.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 30 April 2013
At long last, after several nominations, the great Jeff Bridges - one of the very few contemporary film actors who can hold a candle to Mitchum, Lancaster and Cooper and the other `real men` of a past era - got his Oscar. But it could have been for any of at least a half dozen films before this one, such as The Big Lebowski (the Dude abides indeed!) or The Fabulous Baker Boys.
Crazy Heart, about an old time grizzled, alcoholic, but damn good country singer, isn`t a great film ,but it`s a good one, and it`s a delight to watch not only Jeff at his most commanding, but also the impishly likeable Maggie Gyllenhaal, a single mother with a little boy, Buddy, that he runs into on the road and romances. The two of them are fine together, each seeming to lock into each other`s rhythms.
It`s a film with plenty of space in it, in both senses of the word. These are people of usually few words, and this is reflected in the scenes on the road, where you can see the America that inspires some of the songs Bad, and other such country artists, sings.
Bridges drawls a lot of his dialogue (and drunken monologues too, alone in one motel room after another) but when it comes to singing, he`s note perfect. This is one actor who really can cut it. Bridges has been singing and plucking a guitar for years, so it was a matter of time before someone put those talents to good use. He doesn`t disappoint, but he also has the requisite gravitas (he was 60 when he made this) to look, sound, and impress as an elder statesman of country music.
Maggie G is delightful as the woman he falls for, and Colin Farrell has an (uncredited - why?) part as a younger, less weighty singer who used to sing with Bad Blake. He`s excellent, but I wish they`d managed to cajole a real country singer to play the part - one of the slick Nashville upstarts who infest country music these days. I`m sure enough of a fee would have enticed one of them.
Robert Duvall has a cameo as a bartending old buddy of Blake`s, but he looks like he`s strayed in from another film (his own Oscar-winning Tender Mercies, maybe, about an ageing country singer?) and is oddly ineffectual, as if, as a co-producer, he wanted to be in the film somehow but couldn`t quite work out how or why. Still, Duvall is always worth watching, and it`s good to see him with Jeff, two not so very different actors sparring together.
The feel for the ambience of motels, bad food eaten on the hop, ad hoc venues, and the life of an almost past-it singer on the road, is well caught by director Scott Cooper, and the music - well, the music is just great!
How does it all come out in the end? I leave that for you to find out, in your own bitter-sweet way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2015
Quite possibly one of the dullest films I've ever watched. I wasn't expecting an action packed adventure, but this was lazily predictable, there wasn't the vaguest attempt at anything original throughout the whole film. My disappointment in the film further fuelled by the fact I just couldn't believe the relationship between Bad & Jean. I watched it thinking it had a good cast & there'd at least be some good country music in it if nothing else, but there wasn't even that.....
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 July 2010
Films about music must contain music you are familiar with. Even if you don't particularly like a certain piece, you recognise it and you are being put in a context which is hopefully original and entertaining. Crazy Heart makes no attempt at attracting non-country music aficionados. Even the story is resonant with country songs.

I remember stomach churning goo in Tom Hanks' 'That Thing You Do' and some film I saw in an Australian cinema which was supposed to be about The Supremes without actually mentioning it. Great song writers write great songs. Nobody else can. I'm sure the problem is copyright and vast sums of money but less than half measures is always unsatisfactory to all but the very thirsty.

On the other side of the coin is good musicianship with good source material like the Ian Dury film recently reviewed. Here the spartan music scenes merely punctuate an insipid narrative. Mere talent alone maketh not a good film. Whilst I recognise that all of the films I've mentioned have their supporters, Crazy Heart could have been a hard drinking, woman dumping, music loving gem. But it's just another one-night rental. Forgettable.
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