- The two main reasons to seek out and study Crazy Heart are its lead actor, Jeff Bridges, and music composer (and producer) T Bone Burnett. Both men are in the sphere of the Coen Brothers (we’re talking about The Dude here in Bridges, and Burnett from O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and both won an Oscar for their work in Crazy Heart. Apparently, the two men are buddies and Bridges agreed to the role on the condition that Burnett write some songs for it.
- Robert De Niro’s buddy Paul Herman is in support, as is Colin Farrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal (the best of the supporting team here) as well as Robert Duvall. Duvall’s casting is an homage to 1983’s Tender Mercies where he plays a down and out alcoholic country singer. A down and out alcoholic country singer is exactly what Bridges plays here- Bad Blake. Needless to say, Bridges is very convincing. This is a powerful character study that takes on the drunk country singer cliché unapologetically.
- It opens on a bowling alley (boy does Bridges look at home with a drink in his hand in a bowling alley!). Bad Blake always has whiskey nearby, his pants unbuckled, and his dependable rough looking Silverado accompanies him everywhere.
- Bridges nails the accent, the singing voice, the physical performance (he is a sweaty mess). He looks unhealthy.
- Songs include originals (good enough to make for a strong country western album) “The Weary Kind”, “Hold On You” and “Fallin’ & Flyin.”
- He falls for Jean (Gyllenhaal) and her son Buddy. There is a desperate scene – one that is tough to watch- of Blake taking Buddy to a bar.
- The film ends with a bittersweet finale—a touching tribute (via royalty check) to Buddy and Jean as Blake stares off into the gorgeous vista (above) and his future.
- Scott Cooper’s contribution is minimal- but with the hindsight of his work since, he does get very good performances from his actors (Out of the Furnace, Black Mass).
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2009
Is Robert De Niro in this movie?
@Malith- He is not
Then what do you mean by “Robert De Niro’s Paul Herman is in support” in the second bullet point?
@Malith- from IMDB As of 2020, he has appeared in 16 films starring Robert De Niro: Falling in Love (1984), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Heat (1995), Sleepers (1996), The Fan (1996), Cop Land (1997), 15 Minutes (2001), Analyze That (2002), What Just Happened (2008), Little Fockers (2010), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013) Joy (2015), and The Irishman (2019) https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0379200/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm
@Drake-Yeah. I was a bit confused I thought both Paul Herman and Robert De Niro is in the movie. De Niro in an uncredited cameo probably.
The current phrasing is quite misleading. Perhaps write “Paul Herman, a common costar of Robert De Niro,” or just omit the mention of De Niro.
@Graham- Appreciate it- but the wording is intentional. I’ll add the word “buddy” but I think it is only confusing if someone doesn’t know who Paul Herman is. It may take people down a rabbit hole of looking him up. I’m fine that. I went on the same trip.
[…] Crazy Heart – S. Cooper […]