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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 9, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

    I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look

    Fiona McCann

    I love country music. I’m also very fond of Jeff Bridges, so I was particularly well disposed towards Crazy Heart, the film that’s already garnered him an Oscar nomination, as well as one for his co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based on a novel by Thomas Cobb, it’s the tale of one Bad Blake, a whiskey-sluggin’, geetar playin’, fading country music singer whose star has fallen so low when he first hits the screen that he’s playing bowling alleys for cash. And then he meets a younger – waaaaaaaay younger – woman, which encounter might make you feel a little squirmy if it didn’t seem so strangely credible. What makes the viewer suspend disbelief in this unlikely love is the undeniable charm of a 57-year-old chain-smoking alcoholic who tells a pretty girl, perched on the sofa of his cheap motel room: “I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look.”

    If Crazy Heart’s been on your radar at all, you may be aware that Castleknock’s own Colin Farrell plays Bridges’ nemesis, the younger, hotter country star Tommy Sweet. I don’t mind telling you I fell off my chair laughing when he first appeared, so incongruous was the sudden sight of Farreller cowboying into an Arizona bar, though in his defence he makes a fair fist of his brief appearances here. He even sings: it’s Farrell’s voice you hear belting out from the stadium stage, and Bridges’ aching vocals are the ones curling around the film’s signature tune. The music and Bridges’ fine performance aside, one of the best things about Crazy Heart is Robert Duvall, who steals one scene in a fishing boat with some simple, sweet lines. There may be a few hackneyed moments – this is country after all – but like the music that threads through it, winds around the arid landscapes and soundtracks so many beautiful skies, there are many more that are searingly, achingly human.

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    • Looking forward to it – but FYI, I would totally go for Bridges over Farrell.

    • Fiona says:

      Rosemary: Agreed. No contest really, and this film only confirms that.

    • mise says:

      I’m very susceptible to this sort of thing. Even just playing the trailer makes me hum Neil Young’s Out on the Weekend, have a hot whiskey, and find something to overcome with pride, even if it’s only the income levy. I’ll be seeing it for sure.

    • Lorelei says:

      I saw this on Saturday in the IFI for free- thanks for your reminder Fiona.

      I loved the film, it’s got some really great performances and the whole thing feels really credible. May have to go see it again.

    • Fiona says:

      Mise: It is made for you. If you finish your crochet in time, you could be overcome with pride about that. It’s very country, crochet.

      Lorelei: Yay! So glad you saw it – I was at that screening as well. I’ve been playing the song for days now. “This ain’t no place for the weary kind.”

    • kynos says:

      Get yer tongue out of my mouth cos I’m kissing you goodbye. Has to be one of my favourites. Red Sovine singing “You ain’t gettin’ shit for Christmas”. “You’re the reason our kids are ugly”. I mean how can you not love it?

    • jaboopee says:

      ok …..i haven’t seen the movie and ok ….i only saw that trailer but my gut feeling would like to say something here……..

      ….. jeff bridges and maggie muchyoungerthanheis is NEVER going to be right.. .. it’s just another hollywood antiwomanism …..wake up and smell the dead roses sisters…..

      …i am woman , i am mother….hear me roar….

    • 3quarters says:

      can you please address the shocking cuts to the independent theatre sector and open more dialogue here?

    • spinner says:

      I have had a Jeff Bridges crush for a very long time and I can’t believe he hasn’t won an Oscar before this. In my humble opinion he is one of the best actors ever.He never seemed to have the profile of other actors but when you look at his back catalogue he has some amazing films behind him. Fabulous Baker Boys is one of my favourites.
      Love him, wish I was Maggie Gylenhall!!

    • Fergal says:

      Speaking of classic country music song-titles how’s about “She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft”

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