As part of our promise (vow?) to keep you up to date on movies over the Christmas (and Epiphany and Baptism) season, here's Jake Martin's review of "Crazy Heart," which is winning plaudits for Jeff Bridges's performance as a "country crooner looking up from the bottom of a whiskey bottle."
Momentum often trumps skill come Oscar time. Industry buzz plays as much a factor in deciding whose white knuckles clench the golden trophy in March as the quality of a performance. A savvy media campaign is just as important as acting chops in nabbing the highest prize in Hollywood, and the focus on sizzle over steak has often left film lovers scratching their heads when “the Oscar goes to…” yet another unworthy recipient. This year things may be different.
Jeff Bridges’ performance as a country crooner looking up from the bottom of a whiskey bottle in “Crazy Heart” is the perfect marriage of media hype and craftsmanship. Such is the weight of Bridges’ performance and the buzz surrounding it that the folks at Fox Searchlight saved it from the direct- to-DVD purgatory for which it was originally intended and give it a limited theatrical release. The producers must have been fairly certain that Bridges would get a nod from the Academy.
Read the rest of Martin's review here. (And, by the way, in response to several readers' questions, Jake Martin is not a pseudonym for another Martin who writes for America. He is in fact a Jesuit scholastic teaching theology at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois--and a former stand-up comedian to boot.) Read the rest of Mr. Martin's online Culture review here.