Jeff Bridges has been nominated for an Academy Award four times but he's never won. His performance as a broken down country singer in "Crazy Heart" could change that because it may be the best acting he's done in thirty-eight years on the screen.
57 year old Bad Blake drinks too much, smokes too much, and hasn't written a new song in years. But even though he's reduced to singing in bowling alleys, he still has charm and talent.
"I used to be somebody," he tells his audience. "Now, I'm somebody else."
The lyrics to Blake's songs reflect his dissolute life. "Funny how fallin' feels like flyin'... for a little while," sums up a lot.
Bridges does his own singing and guitar playing in "Crazy Heart.." His character has been married four times and has no money, but between drinking binges he still manages to perform for the few loyal fans he has left.
And though he's overweight and a bit of a slob, Jean, a young journalist and single mother played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, is interested in Blake.
In her first interview with the once successful singer, she asks him what his real name is. "I'm Bad Blake. I was born bad. when I die, my tombstone will have my real name on it. Until then I'm just gonna stay bad."
The set up is very similar to last year's film, "The Wrestler" starring Mickey Rourke, but you may be surprised by where this film takes its similar themes.
And though most audiences have seen washed up singers on the screen before, Jeff Bridges makes Bad Blake unique and completely human.
"It all happens for a reason," one of his songs goes, "even when it's wrong....especially when it's wrong."
The music is excellent, but you don't have to love country music to enjoy "Crazy Heart." What makes this movie truly memorable is the outstanding performance by Jeff Bridges and the honest script and sensitive direction by first time filmmaker Scott Cooper.