In writer-director Scott Cooper’s debut feature, based on Thomas Cobb’s novel, Jeff Bridges plays an aging country-and-western crooner who’s just about washed up, evidently in booze. Bridges’ Bad Blake sits comfortably within the musical tradition of Williams, Jennings, Nelson and Kristofferson, and less comfortably within his own broken-down life, which of course is why the music works so well. “Falling feels like flying,” he sings. “For a little while.”
In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a country singer who’s—you guessed it—down on his luck.
So what’s Bad Blake’s story? Well, he’s got lots. These days, Bad gigs mostly in dive bars and bowling alleys, with younger players who respect him enough to let him wander offstage, mid-chorus, to puke in the parking lot. It’s O.K.; he’ll be back in time to bring the tune home. And maybe to bring someone from the audience home. After all, he’s a pro.
Bad once had a protégé (Colin Farrell) who has risen up to huge success in the slick new country music scene, but hasn’t forgotten his mentor’s tutelage—even though forgetting might be easier for both of them. And of course he still has the songs, and the booze.
Then Bad meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a would-be journalist who shows up at his New Mexico motel room for an interview. She’s a lot younger than Bad, but you can’t call her a kid. She’s got a kid, in fact, and she’s raising him alone. So she knows what those songs are about, and what the booze is about, too.
It’s clear how this will have to work. The sudden, phony intimacy of that interview will give way to the gradual, more genuine, and maybe more dangerous intimacy of a love affair. But how? “I want to talk about how bad you make this room look,” he tells her. It’s a line, but a good one. Like one of his lyrics.
Watching Crazy Heart unfold, it’s hard not to think of Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies, not least because Duvall shows up in this movie too. But Cooper knows what he’s doing, and we get the idea: This is an awardable performance, a probable stereotype restored to an archetype. As such, it might not have succeeded without Bridges, who inhabits his character with stoic, illusionless dignity, nor without some exceptional original songs by T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton, who tailored them directly to Bridges’ gifts.
There’s a leanness to this tale, and an almost numbing familiarity. Maybe it’s like one of those songs in Bad Blake’s repertoire. You know how it’ll go—of course you do—and you don’t listen to be surprised. You listen to be reminded: of disappointments, self-destructions, regrets, and the truthful, tuneful fantasy of potential redemption.
Take five of Virginia’s finest singer-songwriters, pair them with some of country music’s most poignant love (or lost-love) songs and put them onstage for the annual Country Sweethearts Valentine’s Day show. Be it single and looking, or fed up and freedom-bound, there’s no way to deny the pure
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On February 18, 1952, the SS Pendleton was nearing its destination of Boston when a massive storm quite literally ripped the T2 tanker in half, killing all eight of the crew members in the sunken bow section while sending 33 survivors adrift in the still-afloat stern. As the men banded together
Artist Sharon Zarambo founded Bellozar Studio in 1987. Though she has explored a range of mediums, she has worked in mixed media for the past eight years. Inspired by the work of surrounding artists, Zarambo has created a number of striking totemic works, along with sculptures and wall art,
With a burst of blues, a touch of pop and a healthy dose of country, up-and-comer Michael Cameron Anderson, aka Anderson East, blends a unique sound distinguished by husky, sexy vocals. East’s first major label record, Delilah (2015), was produced by Dave Cobb, who lists Chris Stapleton, Jason
An evening of collaboration features world-renowned percussionist and professor of music Fernando Rocha, who brings together colleagues from Brazil’s Federal University of Minas Gerais and UVA’s McIntire Department of Music to premiere innovative pieces and perform classics in “Works for
By boasting a statistically impossible number of local bookstores and authors, it’s clear that Charlottesville is a town with an ardent love for all things literary. It’s also a beer town, supporting more than a few local breweries and countless other watering holes that serve up brews from
With Harrison Ford’s name buzzing thanks to the new Star Wars release, and director Ridley Scott’s The Martian up for a Best Picture Oscar, the time is right to revisit Blade Runner. Although the 1982 sci-fi flick portrays a vision of 2019 that now seems far-fetched, it’s easy to get lost in
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About seven years ago, Guion Pratt was living in County Meath, Ireland, working on a farm and writing poetry. He and a friend played songs —some of Pratt’s originals plus a few Bruce Springsteen tunes—as a guitar and saxophone duo in some area pubs. They called themselves Nettles, for the
Art is food for the soul, as they say. So whether you and a date are carving a bit of indulgence into your weekday or celebrating Restaurant Week, take a break between mouthfuls to admire what’s on the walls. At The Local, glossy brick props up the hallucinogenic work of Dave Moore, a Virginia