Empty Bottle, Crazy Heart

By Ed Koch
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http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/01/empty-bottle-crazy-heart/32907/

Crazy Heart is a wonderful picture that will immediately affect you and hold your interest to the very end.  

Country singer Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) used to write songs during his lengthy and illustrious career.  Although he no longer writes, he continues to perform, albeit in smaller venues like bars and malls.  His voice is nearly gone due to his heavy drinking and smoking over the years, but he is still an icon for the small crowds attending his concerts, especially older women.  Generally, one of the women will pick him up after his show.   

We learn that Bad Blake and his former protégé who is now a star, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), had a falling out years ago which Blake has never gotten over.  Tommy wants Blake to write songs for him, which Blake hasn't been able to do for a number of years.

After one gig, Blake is interviewed by a young reporter, Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and a love affair begins. Jean recognizes that Blake's drinking is ruining his life and, indeed, it causes him to crash his car and end up in the hospital with a broken ankle.  The doctor warns him that his heavy drinking, bad heart, and smoking make him a candidate for an early death.  An incident occurs which terminates the romance and motivates Blake to recover from his alcoholism.  

Crazy Heart
is a superb picture.  A range of emotions is displayed, and the story is totally believable.  Bad Blake's comments ring true and are right out of the Southwest which is his territory.  The rapport between Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhall is wonderful and their performances are excellent.  The acting of the supporting cast members, which include Robert Duvall and James Keane, is first-rate as well.  Don't miss it.  I saw the film on New Year's Day at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square Theater at 68th Street and Broadway.  The show was sold out.

H.S. said:  "This was the kind of movie they used to make.  It tells a story from beginning to end.  The characters are believable and the scenery - the Southwest - looks authentic.  The music seemed a bit labored, but what do I know, I'm a gecko.  The film drags a bit, and acute alcoholism is never a pretty subject.  There was one frightening scene, but I knew it would end up OK because this is, after all, a movie, and a good one."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/01/empty-bottle-crazy-heart/32907/