Booze Revooze: A Drinker’s Skewed View of CRAZY HEART

[Click here for a guide to Booze Revooze and the rating system used]

From the juiced-box and the soundtrack: Ryan Bingham – The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)

Ramblings: Crazy Hurt

Final Proof: 4 Shots

You know how you get drunk with country singers? They’re hard drinkers and chain smokers with voices as rough as whiskey and talk as smooth as beer chasers. They serenade you with tales of daring don’ts and laugh a broken beer mug laugh while they spill their loneliest stories and their voices crack like an old shot glass as they pour their lives out to you. You get drunk on their blues and their booze and the twang in their dissonant existences. You can’t help but feel for these renegades with lives as battered as their old guitars and emotions as raw as the rotgut they take to drown their feelings. Crazy Heart is like that.

There’s Good Country and Bad Country. “Bad Country” is pop crossover country like living in a Bel-Air trailer park or driving and Audi pickup. “Good Country” is booze laced, blues based heart ache with a drawl. Crazy Heart is Good Country.

You know me (and if you don’t, you will soon enough when i show up on your doorstep askin’ for a place to crash and 20 bucks to borrow) i’m not a huge fan of country music. The thing about this movie is that is takes the essence of a great country song and distills it into something potent. The proof is that Crazy Heart transcends country music into something universal. Oh yeah, it’s also got tons of alcohol in it. That’s what i’m talkin’ ’bout.

Y’all know how i’m a crap reviewer. i have no idea how to use all that technical jargon and my idea of a good actor is anyone who speaks with an accent because i’m totally incapable of judging accents. (Case in point, Miss Demeanor had to tell me that Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ accent sucked in From Paris With Love.) So i’m not qualified to say if Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal do a good job because i thought they had great accents. i thought Colin Farrell had a great accent for an Irish guy playing a crossover country accent. What i can tell you for sure, though, is that Bridges did a kick ass job playing a drunk guy, and here i know of what i slur. He didn’t overdo it but played it with the right amount of subtlety.

On the down side, it was a little slow but it was supposed to be. That was kinda the feel of the thing. Slow and easy like a country b-side. The thing i liked most about this movie was that (unlike most movies i’ve seen recently and will be booze revoozing soon, like An Education or Nine) he had to suffer consequences after making bad choices. Life is like that, peeps. Sometimes you luck out but once your luck runs out you gotta face the music. Bad Blake did and wrote some killer songs to that tune.

Buzz Kills (Watch Out for Spoilers)

Sex: 2½ Shots

Crazy Heart is all about the Maggie. There are lots of hot shots of Maggie Gyllenhaal (Jean Craddock) in jeans, an unflattering scene of a Maggie uni-boob when she wears a tube top, a sweeter scene with her in bed in a bra and tons of her in light tops with a flimsy undergarments. There was also some titty blocking (when the director hides a woman’s assets through various mis-directing techniques) mostly with a sheet. Anyway, Maggie carried the sex for this movie all alone, but that’s OK ’cause she has the right frame for it.

Here’s the Maggie Gyllenhaal (32) i’m talking about:

Maggie Gyllenhall At The Bar None

Click On The Image For Wallpaper Size

There was also a Silken Butterfly (one of those beautiful starlettes whose flitting appearance across the silver screen is as remarkable as it is brief) right at the beginning. Anna Felix (“Barmaid”) was the lovely lady behind the bowling alley bar. Anna? If you’re out there, i’d love to interview you for the Bar None!

For those of you who prefer rock hard to soft countries, here’s Jeff Bridges, looking great for 60:

This is Colin ‘Tommy Sweet’ Farrell (33):

Colin Farrell At The Bar None

Colin Farrell Later At The Bar None

A Smoke

Drink: 5 Shots

Yep, the first time i’ve ever given 5 Shots to anything. There were so many drink references i had to use two sheets of paper but, more importantly, drinking (specifically Bad’s alcoholism) played a key role in the movie. In fact, i pro’lly only woulda given this movie 3½ shots if it hadn’t been for all the booze.

The movie opens with Bad Blake arriving at the bowling alley where he’ll play a concert. He approaches our lovely barmaid (Anna Felix) and asks for a “McClure’s and a beer back.” ‘McClure’s’ is a fictional brand of whiskey, created for this movie. Don’t got to your local bar looking for it unless you want to look like an idiot.

Here are the rest of the drink references…

  • Drinks not included on tab because he drinks too much

    Barley Pop

  • Gets a free bottle of McClure’s from a gas station owner
  • Flask during a break [in show]
  • Drinks to point of getting sick and goes back on stage
  • [Tommy Sweet] gave up Southern Comfort
  • Jeff Bridges is a good drunk actor
  • Doctor calls him out on his alcoholism
  • Maggie drinks with him when she’s sad (whiskey)
  • She doesn’t want him to drink in front of 4-year-old so he downs it
  • Wine at dinner
  • He sent Maggie away to wait for him so he could have a double McClure’s at a mall bar
  • Wakes up puking and still drunk and crying and dying
  • Maggie doesn’t like his drinking and chides him for it; “I don’t want to hear it.”
  • Duvall gives him a whiskey shot but only one
  • He chain smokes
  • Drinks Pabst, he calls it “barley pop”
  • He gets totally sh*t faced after she leaves him for losing her kid (very drunk but very realistic)
  • Goes to AA after
  • He seems to get unhooked quickly but what would i know? i’ve never tried.

A Smoke

Rock & Roll: 2 Shots

From the juiced-box and the soundtrack: Jeff Bridges – Hold On You

[Press ‘Play’ for a song that Miss Demeanor pointed out sounds exactly like Joss Whedon’s theme from the TV show “Firefly”]

The music here wasn’t rock so i can’t very well give it a high rating, can i? Plus the attitude wasn’t all that rock either. More slow burn than full throttle… Still, some of the songs weren’t bad for country.

Boring Technical Crap

Written by:

Thomas Cobb (novel)

Scott Cooper (screenplay)

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Starring

Maggie Gyllenhaal – Jean Craddock

Anna Felix – Barmaid

Jeff Bridges – Bad Blake

Colin Farrell – Tommy Sweet

Bottom Line

Definitely see it.

Bonus Round

From the juiced-box and the soundtrack: Lightnin’ Hopkins – Once A Gambler

[Press ‘Play’ for a song Bad Blake recognizes as a source of country music]

4 thoughts on “Booze Revooze: A Drinker’s Skewed View of CRAZY HEART

  1. Jeff isn’t bad for an actor that sings. I’ve got a collection of a few of those, most notably Robert Duval and Sisssy Spacek and one who can’t sing or write worth a damn (but didn’t let that stop him), Billy Bob Thornton.

    • Actually, Robert Duvall sings one song acapella in the movie and on the soundtrack. But if you want actors who sing, you need the “Nine” soundtrack. i hated the movie but Kate Hudson does a solid job with her sing and Marin Cotillard is truly impressive. Who knows, maybe they’ll have albums coming out soon. As for Sissy, does she sing country or what?

      Thanks for patronizing me, Brother,

      Al K Hall

      • Sissy did all of her own voice for the role of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter and impressed enough people to cut her own album of, yes, country music. While there have been many that have tried to expand fame with mixed results (John Travolta, David Soul, Don Johnson and Bruce Willis), Ive also run across little known albums such as an album done by Crystal Bernard of wings fame (she cut a country abum of her own songs that was competent, but the songs didn’t have a “hook” that would take them to the next level) and Mare Winningham who has not only sang on soundtracks of movies she has been in, but cut some pretty amazing albums of folk rock (I highly recomend her first as it has some deep philisophical lyrics burried in some really listenable songs). I did run across an album by the actor who played Benson on tv and expected a fine performance because he’s known for playing in musicals on stage, but found it hard to listen to. Maybe it was an unfortunate selection of material (that has happened to many fine singers who’s voice/style does not translate universally to all material)

  2. Great movie! Seen it more times then I can count! That’s because I have it on DVD and we don’t have cable right now! Also I was looking up to see if the whiskey in the movie is real? That’s how I ended up here. The only thing I don’t like is that Maggie’s character uses her son against men and only take one mess up for her to leave bad! I don’t think she really wanted a relationship with him and used any excuse to get out of it!

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