Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a 57-year-old, overweight, washed-up, alcoholic, country and western singer whose better days have passed.
While Blake is still looking to get back on top, he is now resigned to performing mostly in venues like small honky tonk bars and bowling alleys.
Although he is not satisfied playing these small venues, it does provide him with everything he is used to — cigarettes, booze and women.
Blake’s self-destructive lifestyle leads to alcoholism, emphysema, cancer, five failed marriages and a grown son who won’t give him the time of day.
It seems nothing can stop the downward spiral of Blake’s life, until he meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a newspaper journalist who wants to do an article on him while he is performing at a local joint in Santa Fe, N.M.
Jean is about half Blake’s age, but that doesn’t stop the two from becoming close and forming an intimate relationship. While Blake seems to be taken with Jean and her 4-year-old son Buddy (Jack Nation), his self-destructive nature continues until Blake is left alone with Buddy and loses him while taking a pit stop in a big city bar.
He also loses the only family relationship he has had in years, which leads him call his longtime friend Wayne (Robert Duvall) for help with his alcoholism.
Blake’s life is finally looking up both personally and professionally and he begins writing songs again for his estranged former partner Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), but will his storied past and self-destructive behavior come back to haunt him and will he make amends with his son and Craddock?
This movie was decent, but it had its ups and downs. Bridges played the part so well you almost forget you are watching an actor, but the interaction between Bridges and Gyllenhaal shows a disconnect most of the time and doesn’t seem smooth or realistic — which I would suspect is how it is when alcoholism is involved.
At points I felt sorry for Blake, and at times I was angered by his actions. The movie dragged most of the time, and although it could serve as inspiration for those wanting to turn their lives around, it wouldn’t be easy viewing for anyone who has had to deal with alcoholism.
Bridges and Farrell also do their own singing, which wasn’t too bad.
Thumbs up for Bridges for making his part very believable, but the movie gets a big thumbs down overall. I wouldn’t want to see it again.
Next week’s review: Iron Man 2 starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell and Jon Favreau.
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