I am at a time in my life where I compare myself to the rest of the world, where I look back at my achievements and more often than not focus on the things that I didn’t achieve, the dreams that faded, some just recently and some long ago, where I think about the glory that might have been and never was, where I wonder if I spent enough time with my children when they wanted me to spend time with them.
Along comes a movie like Crazy Heart and I see myself in it and I can instantly identify with it.
The story is about an aging country singer named Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges), who once was a star in his field and is still recognized as such by his fans who seem to show up in every convenience store and bar in the Southwest. Now faded, he is reduced to playing gigs in bowling alleys in front of a few dozen people or in saloons and bars. He is a used-up man, 57 years old, broke, with not 10 dollars in his pocket, driving a 78 Chevy Suburban with a guitar in the trunk around Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. He is a chain smoker and an alcoholic, divorced four times, with a 28-year-old son he hasn’t seen in 24 years. A broken, destroyed man. He reminded me of The Wrestler, another story about a total wreck of a man, trying to hang on to a dream that just won’t go away because he can do nothing else and can love no other way.
His hope and possible way out is his relationship to Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) who was once his protegé and student. While the mentor faded, the student rose and is now a star filling arenas and theaters with tens of thousands of fans. Unlike what we might expect, he is loyal to his mentor and old friend and wants to help him out.
Jeff Bridges does a phenomenal job acting in this movie. There is talk of an Oscar for this. He should have it. He constantly reminded me of Kris Kristofferson. He looks like him, and sings like him. And the story has some parallels to A Star is Born, the 35-year-old movie about John Howard, the jaded, drunken county rocker.
There is a lot of country singing in this movie, and even though I am not a country fan, I loved every song and as I walked out I wanted to have the soundtrack so I could hear them again. Bridges sings the songs himself. And while this was risky and could possibly derail the movie, it turned out a brilliant success. It worked every step of the way.
I won’t give away too much of the story here, as this is a movie I think you need to go and see.