Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall
Jean: So where did all those songs come from?
Bad: Life, unfortunately.
Bad Blake (Bridges) is an alcoholic country singer who’s past his prime but still touring bars and bowling alleys in small towns across the Southwest. After meeting – and falling for – Jean (Gyllenhaal), a reporter, Blake writes a new song that could be his ticket to a comeback.
Well, obviously Jeff Bridges got a lot of attention for this one, as well as an Oscar, and I suppose it’s well deserved. It’s not exactly something we haven’t seen from him before, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great performance. I thought Maggie Gyllenhaal did a good job also. Colin Farrell…eh, maybe a little miscast, but not too bad.
This is a pleasant enough film, well made, with good music and good performances, but the story didn’t exactly blow me away. I thought some of the turns the plot took were a little contrived and obvious. I won’t give away the one in particular that I’m thinking of, but I was sitting there watching thinking, “they’re not gonna have that happen, are they? Come on, that’s too obvious and easy…they’re not gonna do that, right? Oh…they did.” Also, something about it just didn’t feel complete. Like there was more of a story here to tell.
Regardless, it’s worth a watch. It’s nothing monumental, but it’s an interesting little character study focusing on one of those old school musicians who writes great songs but gets lost in the sea of overproduction and overblown performances that is characteristic of modern country music. Kind of like T-Bone Burnett, the writer of the Oscar winning song in this movie, “The Weary Kind”.
If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that you don’t have to go to a big concert to find great music. It could be lurking right around the corner at a small bar or a bowling alley. Dang, I should’ve saved that for the Lesson Learned section. Oh well, it’s a point worth making twice.
There’s good music all over the place if you look hard enough for it.
10 – 2.8 because I thought the story, and the turns it takes at times, wasn’t overly compelling or original – .1 for Colin Farrell’s pony tail = 7.1