Saturday, February 06, 2010
He had a Crazy Heart but no nose hairs
Jeff Bridges, even playing a sloppy serious drunk is still appealing. In Crazy Heart, he's an aging country singer on the road playing bowling alleys and small joints. Along the way, he falls in love with Maggie Gyllenhaal and her young son.
This film, Crazy Heart contained too much country music for me. The 5 note songs moaning and groaning about lost love and open skies are not my bag. There are two pretty songs in the lot - the rest are an agony. Twang, twang, drone, drone. Richard likes the lyrics so he enjoyed it more than I did. He's a music omnivore and has excellent hearing. Since my left ear deafness, I know he hears more than I do, but even before the deafness, he could hear all kinds of sounds that I missed altogether.
Funny that the smoking in Mad Men makes me dream of smoking again while the smoking in Crazy Heart is so obnoxious, it's sickening. In one scene a drunk Jeff tries to pull a cigarette out of the pack and ends up with three in his mouth at once. Shots of over-flowing ashtrays, cigarettes burning through counters, ochre stained fingers and the desperate fashion in which he sucks the smoke out of the cigarette, lighting them end to end, all combine to be a huge smoking turn off. The poster is from the Center for Disease Control.
The director didn't hold back on the nasty part of alcoholism either. Bridges is over-weight and out of shape, with a belly hanging over his belt and the start of sagging male breasts. Physically, he looked the part perfectly but one thing was missing. Despite many close-ups, some with shots up his nose, you couldn't see any nose hairs!! What were they thinking? You know a 57 year old guy who pees in a bottle in the car, vomits into waste baskets and drinks whisky all day is going to have hair sprouting out of his nose. But no - his nose was tidy - somebody in charge of grooming must have decided the nose hair reality might be too disgusting. However they showed everything else - the vomiting, hangovers, disorientation, deterioration of character and the horror of an immensely talented person with his life in shambles. In the end, there's recovery and some redemption which makes you walk away a little happier.
Two years ago we had dinner at Palate in Glendale, which was one of the hot dining spots at the time.
Jeff Bridges and two elderly women - really elderly, with canes, blue hair and little hats - were seated next to us. As the restaurant is one of those cram and jam places, we could hear every word they were saying. It struck us both how effete Bridges sounded - the perfect metrosexual - compared to his on-screen characters. Given this peek at the guy, we realize what a tour de force is his portrayal of this broken-down has-been.
I'm inspired now to create my own country song that might go something like:
He had a crazy heart but no nose hairs, she loved him madly.
She had a lazy heart and some affairs, he loved her sadly.
She shaved her legs and wore perfume,
He craved her legs and helped her bloom.
Oh (moan, moan) woe is me.