Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Whiskey Neat with a Beer Back
Yesterday, I treated myself to another movie showing. As there were no auditions for me to go to and no other theatrical pursuits on my to-do list, I decided to tick off another film on my Must-See-Before-Oscar-Night List (I have until March 7). Today's selection was Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges, the favorite to win Best Actor this year (sorry Colin Firth and A Single Man). The movie chronicles the over-the-hill years of country singer 'Bad Blake,' an amalgam of Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr. and other senior country music stars. Given to booze (hence today's title), smoking, women, and bad behavior, Blake finds himself touring the Southwest in his broken down Buick, playing bowling alleys and piano bars, a road show of one. The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a local reporter, whose ho-hum interview quickly turns into a stormy romance. Colin Farrell (yes, the Irish one) plays the Tim McGraw-looking country superstar Tommy Sweet. The movie lives in a world of open roads, warm sun, cold beer, and finding trouble with the boys. I though it was excellently acted, especially Mr. Bridges (I'm betting he wins), singing all his own material, embodying this folksy Falstaff, while still playing the reality of the character. He comes off as a little brash, but mostly charming, equally adept at knocking back McClure's as he is at making biscuits. Again, I found myself in tears by film's end, both from the movie's subject matter, as well as the very familiar chords it struck in my heart. The movie had me thinking of my dad a lot (there is a scene, with the wonderful Robert Duvall, in a small fishing boat after all). At the moment, all I really wanted to do was drink Coors Light, listen to Willie Nelson, and go fishing with my family - what's happening to me? I keep thinking of the deep sea fishing trip we took before sending Jessica off to college and how very glad I am that we went. The many burly, country men had me thinking of my family, especially the Boiles side, and how much my sister always loved those big, gruff looking men (I always seemed to gravitate towards the women and the kitchen - they had pie). Whether it was at a Swine Club meeting or at Gene Hollar's barn, my sister always had these tough guys wrapped around her little finger. It's strange (and wonderful), I found myself sitting in that movie theater, longing for country music, fried fish, and somewhere west of here; how wonderful it would be to escape my gray city. To put away the cheese plate and Pinot Noir, and enjoy the simple pleasures of a cold beer and good company. In fact, the two movies I saw this week were really reflective of the two parts of my life: one set in the city, the world of academia, the well dressed gentleman, the posh lifestyle; the other set in the country, more concerned with folk, filled country music, funny old men, and getting into trouble; both men, at times terribly lonely and heartbroken. If I could go anywhere right now, it would probably be to go visit my family, though I'd want it to somehow be the movie's hot summer, the 4-H fair, the pond shimmering with sunlight, and the Broad Meadow, green and alive and rustling. For now, I will go there in my heart and mind, drawing strength from that 'backwards' place I come from, the place (and people) I call home.