Friday, February 26, 2010

See Crazy Heart (it's good)

Back when I first got the idea for this project, I was explaining it to my friend Natalia.
"So I have to read and watch everything people go on the Daily Show to promote. Like yesterday, Maggie Gyllenhaal was on the show promoting that movie... Crazy...crazy something...I know it's not horse..."
"Crazy Heart? Oh man, I want to see that movie. Can I go with you when you see it?"

We made plans to see it as soon as it came to Kalamazoo. We thought that it would be the next weekend. Turns out, it finally arrive almost two months later. So, a few days ago, my roommate Devika joined Natalia and me as we walked to the theater to see Crazy Heart.

Natalia knew she would love Crazy Heart, a movie centering on Bad Blake, a country musician struggling with alcoholism. But this was not the kind of movie Devika and I would usually see; Devika loves chick flicks and action movies and I go for comedies. It didn't take long, though, for the three of us to get sucked in.

Jeff Bridges' portrayal of Bad Blake was phenomenal. While watching most movies, I don't think of characters by their given names; instead, I refer to them by the actors' names. However, in Crazy Heart, it was all Bad Blake-- I actually found myself forgetting he was played by Bridges. And I was completely won over by Bad. At the beginning especially, he wasn't a particularly likable character, but I liked him nonetheless. It was painful to watch his drunken stupors; it was heartening to see him perform well. The three of us watching were drawn in; multiple times throughout the movie Devika would say something like, "Oh no, [something terrible] is about to happen," and I'd feel that tight feeling of dread in my chest, even though deep down I knew it was just a fictional story. But Crazy Heart was not as predictable as we assumed-- most of the dread-filled moments were not followed by the terrible events Devika had foreseen.

The supporting characters-- Colin Farrell playing the young, good-looking country star, Maggie Gyllenhaal as reporter and love interest, and Jack Nation as adorable little boy-- were strong, though not to Bridges' level. The movie steered away from painting characters with a broad brush. There was no "bad guy," no "good guy"-- there were just people, and I liked that.

Music, of course, played a big role in Crazy Heart. Even though the music has been widely acclaimed, I hate country music, so initially, I wasn't looking forward to that aspect of the film. However, though the music was certainly country, it fit with the movie, and Bridges performances were genuine and impressive (I had no idea he could sing!). I found myself tapping my feet along to the songs, and I would go so far as to say I liked them. Natalia, a country fan, and Devika, who feels neutral towards country music, both loved it. During the closing credits, they both said they were going to buy the soundtrack.

I'm glad I went to see Crazy Heart. It's another one of those things I would never had done had it not been for my Daily Show challenge. I also would never had learned how to spell Gyllenhaal. I give it a 4/5, and I definitely recommend it.

In this review, I tried to do something a little differently and take more of a personal look. Is that a take you like, or would you rather my reviews be more straightforward?

Additionally, starting now, there will be posts on The Daily Shill at least once a calendar week. I may not always have something new to review, but I'll find something relevant to talk about.

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