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Crazy Heart (2010)

Rating: 7/10

Crazy Heart looked to be a tale of heartbreak and tragedy, all hard living and drinking and love and loss—and it is, sort of. Really, though, it’s a nice little sweet film that never actually goes anywhere or does anything spectacular except provide Jeff Bridges with a role to finally win an Oscar. And yeah, Bridges countries the heck out of semi-washed-up honky tonker “Bad” Blake, and proves he can even sing when he has to, but without him, no one would have thought twice about this DVD.

Otis “Bad” Blake (Bridges) is an almost 60-something alcoholic country singer who’s taken pages out of the books of Cash, Jones, and Haggard as to singin’, drinkin’, and livin’. Divorced four times with a son he’s never really known, Blake tours town to town, playing bars and bowling alleys to fans who remember his glory days. It is during one of these gigs that Bad meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a reporter and single mom who inexplicably loves him, and the two start up a romance that seems about to give Blake the family he’s never had until an almost tragic turn threatens to take it all away.

Well, tragic may be a bit of an overstatement. I mean, I guess what happens COULD have been tragic, but it wasn’t—which is actually the crux of the problem. Strong performances, likeable characters, good music—but nothing really ever happens. Now, I don’t need grand tragedy or huge laughs or things blowing up to be entertained, but there needs to be something. Sure, again, the acting is superb—Bridges becomes Bad Blake, almost unrecognizable with his drunken swagger and speech, and he’s a decent singer, too. Gyllenhaal is also surprisingly believable as a beautiful young woman who somehow manages to fall for Bad; he may be a bit dirty and irresponsible and a drinker, but he has a performer’s charisma, and when she falls for him, it’s not as weird and creepy as it sounds. No, this movie’s problem is that it’s just so … forgettable? It’s like a movie you might see on cable on a rainy weekend, where there’s a little drama, a little conflict, but in the end, everything ties up in a tidy bow of plot threads. Even Tommy Sweet (the inexplicably rarely mentioned Colin Farrell), who’s basically set up to be an ungrateful success thief, seems to be a cool guy who really does appreciate all his mentor Bad has done for him. It’s all just a little too nice for a tale of a boozy country singer and his life of debauchery and redemption.

It's Got: Good music, Oscar-worthy Jeff Bridges, a cute kid

It Needs: More oomph, more bad guys, more conflict

DVD Extras Deleted Scenes DVD Extras Rating: 3/10


Jeff Bridges deserves his Best Actor Oscar, but, as a whole, Crazy Heart is just OK, though it’s elevated because of his performance.