Ain’t No Place For The Weary Kind

My boo and I watched Crazy Heart tonight. We try to watch all of the Oscar noms before the actual ceremony, but didn’t get around to it til now. 

Holy crap.

I know that everyone said it was like The Wrestler except about country music and that while The Wrestler  was better, Jeff “The Dude” Bridges was better/more compelling than Mickey Rourke. Frankly, I don’t think that The Wrestler was better; honestly, I fell asleep during the first hour of it. And no, I never finished it. I will eventually, I promise. 

Maybe it comes from the fact that I’ve spent time on the road with a bunch of musicians, traveling around in a beat-up, smelly van. And not just any musicians, but country musicians. Let me tell you, if you’re not familiar with the current state of country music, that it’s nothing even resembling what “country” music should sound like. Acts like the fictional Bad Blake or Tommy Sweet are hard to find out there, and when you do find them, it’s usually in some run-down, out of the way hole in the wall where only the lonely and depressed can find solace. 

I’m not  a country music purist, by any stretch of the imagination. While I grew up with parents who broadened my musical horizons and exposed me to music like Hank Sr. and Waylon as well as all sorts of Southern gospel music, I never really latched on to country music. I think most of that was because of my disinterest in most over-produced stuff, not to mention a rebellion against where I’m from. 

Crazy Heart features some great music by T Bone Burnett (who did the  O Brother soundtrack and oversaw the music for The Big Lebowski and Walk The Line), and a solid, solid, solid performance by Jeff Bridges as an old, road-tired, alcoholic country musician traveling the Southwest. It’s fairly typical of your average redemption story, but for some reason it hits more chords with me (pardon the musical pun!).  I tend to read everything ever on Wikipedia, but I refused to read up on this movie. As a result, I honestly didn’t know how the movie was going to end; I figured there were several option: one, he winds up dying; two, he continues life, drinking himself into a stupor and playing in dive bars; or three, he gets his act together. 

All of them could have happened, and, honestly, I would have been okay with any of the endings. I’m not telling which one it was, of course, but it was ultimately satisfying.

Jeff Bridges was, of course, awesome. Honestly, The Dude can do little wrong in my book. Maggie Gyllenhaal was surprisingly good (I say that, even though I liked her in The Dark Knight and love-love-loved her in Secretary), and Colin Farrell was a delight in his few scenes. Also, cue an awesome cameo from Robert Duvall, and you got yourself a gumbo!

Overall, I enjoyed the ride through country music land, and am going to download the soundtrack as soon as possible.

Oh Noes! The Apocalypse n’ junk!

Oh my. 

First off, I’m feeling inspired to write, which is kinda…new…for me right now. Also, the gang over at the super-awesome-and-fatabulescent  I Fry Mine In Butter made little ol’ me the IFMiB Commenter of the Week!

So, today I’m feeling inspired by the (fairly) recent apocalyptic thriller by Scott Stewart, Legion. It stars Paul Bettany as renegade angel Michael, who blows shit up, has an awesome knowledge of modern weaponry, and is sent to save (yet) another HOLY WHITE BABY from, like, totes evil minions. 

BUT WAIT!

Michael is actually here of his own volition, having defied God’s will to come down here and save the wee tiny fetus from…um…God.

Why? To quote Brian Griffin: GOD. IS. PISSED.

Why is God angry enough to smite us all? Uh. Well. That’s not really discussed.

Ok, well, what makes this baby so special? That’s…not really mentioned either. 

Also, why the hell does the character Jeep (for realz, y’all, that’s his name) have an incredibly awesome Southern accent? He lives in the frickin’ Mojave desert! In a “town” named (get this!) “Paradise Falls” and is Dennis Quaid’s son. Now, I know that they probably didn’t feel up to getting a dialect coach for Lucas Black (aka that kid from “Sling Blade”), but still… I take offense to the “Dude lives in a trailer so he must have a ‘trashy’ accent” trope. Also, seriously, did we need another “spoiled brat reconciles with rich, obnoxious parents who are APPALLED! to be stuck at a truck stop” thing or a “Older, wiser Black man who’s ‘seen things’ gives words of wisdom to the young thug” scene? 

Basically, as was discussed with my besties last night, this movie comes across like something from an Intro to Screenwriting class. There’s lots of “show, don’t tell” which is good, but it’s always so…overdone. The idea of the story (God being pissed at humans for their wicked ways, so he tries to smites them) isn’t too bad, but could have been explored in a better, and more logical way. Or at least in a way that somehow had some semblance of a plot. And, really, we were spared FOR NOW *dum dum dummmm* because Michael was able to change God’s mind? Because the shmuck Jeep never gave up on the pregnant, smoking, snarky  Girl Of His Dreams? (She’s also apparently slut-tastic, which is a whole ‘nother thing I take issue with, but won’t get into now. Why’d it have to be insinuated that she’s a skank, just because she’s a pregnant single woman who doesn’t like The Dude That’s Right For Her? Mrar.)

I enjoyed Paul Bettany (possibly mostly because I have always and will always love him and will fight Jennifer Connelly and her eyebrows for him in an epic battle at some point in the future).  And some of the dialogue was so-bad-it-was-awesome (my personal favorites were all uttered by Tyrese, like something along the lines of “Why do I have to explain the motherfucking meaning of the word pestilence?” Also, another gem is the line “It’s because I woke up hoping to get double teamed by a couple of meth head truckers in some bathroom of a desert shithole. It’s good that we got stuck here.” That was not said by Tyrese, but by the aforementioned spoiled brat.) And I enjoyed the line “And yet in the midst of all this darkness I see some people who will not be bowed. I see some people who will not give up even when they know all hope is lost. Some people, who realize being lost is so close to being found.” It’s a sentiment that I can enjoy on a few levels, but then the dialogue goes to shit again. 

Legion is a case of something trying a little too hard without really trying at all. Which is kind of amazing.