Monday, January 18, 2010

Review In Brief: Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart? Not that crazy.

Some dude named Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a touring musician who has a house, a car, a couple of good friends, an agent who returns his calls...he gets laid every night, never has to do an honest day's work...

I had to roll a joint and pour a stiff drink just to get past the first twenty minutes, in a failed attempt to imbue this movie with with some actual rollicking substance abuse. Watching Crazy Heart was kind of like listening to an acquaintance telling me about his 'wild night' in Mexico and remembering why he is merely an acquaintance.

If I were in charge--and I should have been, let's be clear about that--the movie would have opened with the vomiting scene in Houston, then introduced Robert Duvall as his hardscrabble manager (instead of his bartender/AA buddy), and gone from there, as Bad Blake slowly descended into a pit of madness, brought down to his knees by bottles of bourbon finished in one sitting, sordid sex with people's mothers and wives, and a bloodletting fistfight with Duvall that temporarily ended Bad's career.

Bad's 'feud of honor' with a miscast Colin Farrell? I didn't get it--they seemed totally fine. He offered to let Bad play with him, asked him to come on tour with him, and recorded a song of his that made Bad a heap of money. Where is the tension here?

Maggie Gyllenhaal? Awful. I loved her, once. Now she's 2 for 2, shit-wise, considering The Dark Knight's turdish performance, which I initially blamed more on the script, but now fear the blame is shared more than I would like to admit...

And not only should Not-So-Bad Blake have had to actually win her affections somehow (charm?), as opposed to merely receiving them with a humble smile as he scratches his junk and farts, but he should have died in the end, either just before or just after winning her over.

And he should have done it in an awesome way--the ink barely dry on the Last Will & Testament in the glovebox, sober, he drops a cigarette between his legs and accidentally drives off a bridge in West Virginia, isn't discovered for days.

Basically, what this movie was missing was tension. Everything was too easy, nothing was dark enough, I felt no sense of desperation, no craziness.

The writing and directing were horrendous; no surprise they were by the same dude, whose name I won't mention, who also produced. Despite Roger Ebert's assertion that this was 'an astonishing debut,' the only thing astonishing around here is that what's-his-name was able to convince T.Bone Burnett to come aboard and convince Jeff Bridges (who already passed on the script) and Robert Duvall to take part in the production of this turd.

Well, on second thought, it's not that amazing: Bridges received Executive-Producer credit, Duvall got Producer. Rest assured that both men did nothing for those titles/paychecks, so I think we all know what's going on here--they figured it would be a hit whether it deserved to be or not and they did it for the money, not the script, with Bridges assuming an Oscar nod was pretty much a lock. T.Bone not only got his own producer credit, but also made millions on album sales and nabbed himself an Oscar.

Note to the director, since I'm sure he'll be allowed to make movies in the future:

At least try to make Jeff Bridges charming if he's supposed to bed a 24 year-old who doesn't seem to care much for country music! And when country musicians have a feud, it should be some down-home, drunken, bar-brawling bullshit, okay? Or there should at least be some insults traded and maybe even some practical jokes played. The bottom line: something should happen.

'Bad Blake?' Not that bad. He didn't break a glass, punch a guy in the face, get his ass kicked, show up late...and he didn't even drink that much. Hell, I've had more than half a bottle of whiskey in a sitting and I didn't slur my speech and need to vomit. If this guy is as Bad as he should have been, he'd be putting away a bottle by the end of lunch. And he'd be getting slapped and slapping--what, is this rock-bottom for a Sunday-School crowd or is this rock-fucking-bottom?

And don't call Maggie Gyllenhaal ever again--you two are bad news.

Verdict? No Oscars, unless we're counting the one Mr. Bridges will be receiving shortly for his work as The Dude.