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Crazy Hearts starring Jeff Bridges: Saturday Matinee based on a book #book2movie

I’m not at all sure about this tagline: The Harder the Life. The Sweeter the Song.

I happened onto Crazy Heart the other day, airing on HBO. One of those movies I just never got around to watching when it was released. It’s hard to believe that was 2009. 

Not hard to believe Jeff Bridges won the Best Actor award for his gravelly voiced performance of a washed-up alcoholic country singer/songwriter. We sometimes talk about an actor inhabiting a role in a uniquely personal way, that seems to be the case here. It’s not a question of makeup or theatrics, Jeff Bridges just is Bad Blake. Likewise not hard to believe the song, The Weary Kind took the Oscar in the Best Song Category. Listen to it in the background of this trailer, as sung by Ryan Bingham, but I’m warning you, it will be running through your head all day long. 

We hear the song three times in the movie: a little bit of the song as Bad Blake writes it, as Colin Farrell’s country singing star performs it in concert and as Ryan Bingham—who co-wrote the song with T. Bone Burnett (remember his haunting True Detective theme?) —performs it at the film’s end. Watch all three men doing The Weary Kind at the bottom of the post.

Based on the book by Thomas Cobb, the movie also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal—I’m usually not a fan but she is luminous here—with Colin Farrell as a country singing star and Robert Duvall. 

At the age of fifty-seven, Bad Blake is on his last legs. His weight, his ticker, his liver, even his pick-up truck are all giving him trouble. A renowned songwriter and "picker" who hasn't recorded in five years, Bad now travels the countryside on gigs that take him mostly to motels and bowling alleys. Enter Ms. Right. Can Bad stop living the life of a country-western song and tie a rope around his crazy heart?
I wish I’d read the book before I saw the movie. I'm not sure I could go back to it now. Whoever Bad Blake is in Thomas Cobb’s book, he’ll always be Jeff Bridges to me. 

You can catch Crazy Heart for a few dollars on YouTube, GooglePlay, Amazon, Vudu, and iTunes. The movie is also airing this month on HBO and available on HBO Go and HBO Now. Check the ever-changing Netflix for yourself.

Beyond his legacy as the Dude in The Big Lebowski, and his Oscar-winning performance as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges has delivered a lifetime of iconic performances in movies from The Last Picture Show to The Fabulous Baker Boys to The Fisher King to Hell and High Water.  

What’s your favorite Jeff Bridges’ movie? Lay it on me. I’m all ears.

The Weary Kind sung by Jeff Bridges for ABC news

The Weary Kind as sung by Colin Farrell

The Weary Kind as performed by Ryan Bingham