Crazy Heart

Rated 4.0

Although he was great in the film, Jeff Bridges’ Academy Award for Crazy Heart was the dictionary definition of a “career-capping Oscar.” As with Paul Newman’s nod for The Color of Money or Al Pacino’s victory for Scent of a Woman, Bridges had reached such a pedestal-worthy point that the Academy felt ridiculous not honoring him for something. Enter Bad Blake, the alcoholic country singer playing and puking his way through off-interstate bowling-alley bars in Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart. It’s not one of Bridges’ five best performances, and arguably not even his best work this decade (I favor his role as an imperious children’s book author in The Door in the Floor), but he’s utterly believable as a ramshackle balladeer struggling for salvation. The film’s compromises are due to Cooper overselling both Bad Blake’s squalor and the ease of his recovery.