Jeff Bridges Deserves An Oscar For “Crazy Heart”

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The main difference between movie stars and actors is that, too often, movie stars make the characters they play fit into their own persona. True actors do the opposite by going under the skin of the characters they inhabit on the silver screen. Great actors, such as Jeff Bridges, make this intense psychological challenge of becoming someone else seem effortless.

In “Crazy Heart”, Jeff Bridges accomplished this magical metamorphosis by embodying Bad Blake a down-on-his-luck hard drinking small time country singer. Jeff Bridges is so much at the top of his game in “Crazy Heart” that we can almost smell the tobacco on his clothes and hair, and get a strong whiff of booze from his breath.

The perfect little gem that is “Crazy Heart” finds Bad Blake at the end of his rope. Bad Blake is barely surviving drifting from one small time gig to the next in his beat up old Suburban. Blake is out of control, fading fast and seems to be about to lose his grip on life. But then he meets a young reporter who sees the talent and even the humor of Blake under the crumbling facade, and despite the obvious wreckage of his life.

“Life is funny and tragic, and the humor in the movie gets you a relief from the downside, but it also sort of sets you up for the next hard moment. It makes it a bit off kilter- you are laughing, and then heartbreak comes. It is like great country music,” said Bridges.

And like great country music, this terrific movie is about raw emotions, heartbreaks and trying to overcome adversity. Jeff Bridges drew his inspiration from several country singers to become Bad Blake on the screen.

“One of the direction that “Crazy Heart” writer/director, Scott Cooper, gave me was to to think of the Highwaymen- Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johny Cash and Kris Kristofferson- and to think that, in our alternate universe, Bad Blake would have been the fifth Highwayman. All of those guys and other people went into it. Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan. There are aspects of myself too. That is where I start with all the parts I do. I look for the places where my character and I overlap. That is always the beginning point,” said Bridges.

An Oscar win is long overdue for Jeff Bridges. During his long career, the 60 years old actor has had four Oscar nominations. One for lead actor in “Starman” (1984), and three for supporting roles in “The Last Picture Show”(1971), “Thunderbolt & Light-Foot”(1974) and “The Contender” (2000).

“Crazy Heart” is based on a novel by Thomas Cobb and was written and directed by first time director Scott Cooper. The small budget movie was shot in just 24 days, but it is likely to become a film classic. It is a throw back to gritty, unpretentious American cinema with rich multidimensional characters, which are not cardboard  cutouts  like in so many big Hollywood films. “Crazy Heart” oozes with the richness of its characters, it is about life, love, heartbreak and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit over life’s curve balls.

Editor’s Note: Please follow Gilbert Mercier on Twitter, and visit this author’s archive on News Junkie Post.

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2 Responses to Jeff Bridges Deserves An Oscar For “Crazy Heart”

  1. Stephen Dufrechou January 16, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Excellent review…

    What hooked me, here, on seeing this film (aside from the fact that it stars Jeff Bridges, who’s always phenomenal) was Mercier’s observation that “Crazy Heart” is “a throw back to gritty, unpretentious American cinema with rich multidimensional characters, which are not cardboard cutouts”…

    I instantly thought of those subtly brilliant, character-driven films from the 1970’s–like “Five Easy Pieces” (Jack Nicholson) and “Save the Tiger” (Jack Lemmon) … I’m very much stoked about this one now, too.

  2. Jess Rola January 17, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I have always been a fan of Jeff. He doesn’t need the Golden Globes Award but he deserves it! Congrats!

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