Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
Summary: An aging country legend on a broken-down path of
self destruction finds redemption and love in the arms of a journalist.
Review: I know this is not a new release this week, but with
nothing out there tickling my fancy, I decided to pull a former Oscar winner
out of the pile. I’ll be honest: “Crazy Heart” almost got shut off
half an hour in. And again at 45 minutes. The movie is slow. Beyond slow at
times. And who cares about this burned-out drunk playing and puking in bowling
alley after bowling alley? Eventually, I did. The only thing keeping my
attention was Jeff Bridges’ amazing performance. Understated, raw, real and
surprising, Bridges nailed this movie. He saved it and brought together every
last string, making it sing.
It took some time for me to really care about his character,
Bad Blake, but that was by first-time director Scott Cooper’s design. Bad is a
tough guy to know and like, but once you do, you do. Bad, who has been demoted
to playing in bowling alleys and barfing in trash cans out back in the middle
of his set, is obviously a train wreck. His one-time backup singer Tommy (Colin
Farrell, in a surprising, touching and fantastic unnamed cameo) is a thorn in
Bad’s side, as are the dive owners who won’t let him run up a bar tab.
But then Bad meets Jean, played competently yet
unimpressively by Maggie Gyllenhaal. This single mother to a sweet
four-year-old boy touches something in Bad that makes him want to be better.
The movie gripped me and didn’t let go when Jean flew out to meet Bad at his
home, and events transpired that changed everyone’s lives. I found myself
cheering on this guy, who in the beginning of the film, seemed like a total
burnout waste. I wanted him to succeed, and my heart went out to him. Bridges
absolutely deserved his Oscar for his performance, as did Ryan Bingham T-Bone
Burnett for the song “The Weary Kind.”
Speaking of that, another huge perk for this film is the
awesome score. Much of it is sung by both Bridges and Farrell–a huge surprise,
but a good one. In fact, I’m tempted to download the entire soundtrack
featuring both actors.
On the negative side, I disliked the ending, I wasn’t a big
fan of Gyllenhaal’s character (and I don’t think she really deserved an Oscar
nod for this performance at all), and I didn’t buy the chemistry between Jean
and Bad. Yet Bridges’ strength overshadowed the film’s flaws.
Extra highlight: Don’t bother. Go to iTunes and listen to
the soundtrack instead.
What to serve for dinner: Go with a Bad specialty: biscuits
(allrecipes.com). Serve them with sausage gravy for a real Southern treat, or
just use them as dinner rolls alongside baked chicken and steamed broccoli.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together
the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the
mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away
from the side of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20
times. Pat or roll dough out to 1-inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter
or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the
excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 13 to
15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.
Sausage Gravy (cooks.com)
1/2 lb. bulk sausage
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook sausage, crumbling well. Pour off all but 2-3
tablespoons of grease. Sprinkle flour on top. Increase heat to high and cook,
stirring, until flour starts to brown. Add milk, stirring constantly and
continue cooking until gravy thickens. Add salt and pepper. Serve over hot
biscuits or toast.
What to talk about over dinner: What was your favorite song
in the film? What was the moment you began to like Bad? How would you have
written the ending? Or did it have to end like this? What did you think of the
scene at the mall? Who knew Jeff and Colin could sing like that? Who do you
think in today’s music world compares to Bad? When did the movie begin to pick
up for you? Compare this to Bridge’s other performances. Were you as shocked by
Farrell’s appearance as was I? What did you think of it