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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #513 (Vol. 11, No. 4). This edition is for the week of January 18--24, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Crazy Heart"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Crazy Heart"  by Mike Smith
The Best and Worst of 2009  by Mike Smith
DVD Review: "Corrosion Corner"  by Will Moriaty
Absolutely Fabulous: The Fab Four  by ED Tucker
Revenge of Japanese Toy Shopping  by Jason Fetters
Life, Love and Kramer  by John Miller
Branching Out .... Golden Comments .... Movie Notes .... Money In The Bank .... Someone Got Fooled .... Passing On .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Fox Searchlight     
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Colin Farrell
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 52 mins

I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Bridges. Ever since I first saw him on screen, in 1974’s “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” I’ve always thought him to be that rare species of actor, one that not only makes anything he’s in better, but that makes it look easy. Over the years he’s made such films as “King Kong,” “Somebody Killed Her Husband” and “Heaven’s Gate” watchable. He’s been nominated for an Oscar four times and I can name at least three other films he should have been nominated for : “Fearless,” “The Fisher King” and “The Big Lebowski.” I mean, come on, he was the Dude! If there is any justice in Hollywood this year, the fifth time will be a charm and Jeff Bridges will take home the Oscar for “Crazy Heart.”

Bad Blake (Bridges) is a 57-year-old country singer who once had it all. But hard living took it all away and now he makes his living traveling the country in his old 1978 Suburban, playing in local bars and bowling alleys. That the sign in front has WINTER LEAGUES NOW FORMING in larger letters than those advertising Bad’s appearance is a true signal of how far he has fallen. It reminds me of the scene in “This Is Spinal Tap” when the band shows up to play at an amusement park and their manager replies, “No, the sign is supposed to read Spinal Tap and then puppet show.” Like many touring single musicians (Chuck Berry still does it) Bad hires a local band to back him up on stage and most nights they sound better than he does. While in Santa Fe, Bad consents to an interview by Jane (Gyllenhaal). The two hit it off and, despite the fact that he is almost twice her age, a relationship forms. But of course, Bad isn’t called Bad for no reason. And as that reason becomes more problematic, things begin to go….well, bad.

In adapting Thomas Cobb’s novel for the screen, writer/director Cooper has brought to the screen a well-rounded character full of demons. His belly flabby and often hanging over the unbuckled belt of his jeans, Bad has seen it all and then some. Be it his floundering career, his jealousy of a former protégé who has now hit the big time (Farrell, in a fine supporting turn) or his remorse for walking out on his wife and child a quarter century ago, Bad has put his life experiences into his music. And it’s the songs that are the backbone of “Crazy Heart.” Co-written by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, the songs have a true country flavor to them, including “The Weary Kind,” which recently won the Golden Globe award for Best Original Song. Both Bridges and Farrell sing on screen and both do an admirable job. Gyllenhaal is fine as Jane, though it’s a little puzzling why she would fall for someone old enough to be her father. And you can never go wrong when you have Robert Duvall in your film, even if it’s only in a few scenes. But the story here is Bridges and the title of that story is “Brilliant!”

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Crazy Heart”  

This week's movie review of "Crazy Heart" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.