Actor Jeff Bridges turns the Big 7-0

Starman: I do know the rules.

Jeff BridgesSomehow, I have a difficult time thinking of Jeff Bridges turning 70 because of Sea Hunt. Jeff appeared in four episodes, and his eight-years-older brother Beau a couple of times in the series. Sea Hunt starred their late father Lloyd, an early syndicated show in the late 1950s.

You probably know Lloyd Bridges best from the movie Airplane! Actually, Jeff and his brother both made their film debuts, without billing, alongside their mother Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson) in the film The Company She Keeps (1951).

While I’ve seen Jeff in a few films, I’ve NOT seen most of his iconic roles. Need to fix that, surely. I did catch him in The Last Picture Show (1969), The Fisher King (1991), Iron Man (2008), and Crazy Heart (2009).

Starman (1984) which I loved, has one of my favorite pieces of dialogue:
Starman [Jeff Bridges]: Okay?
Jenny Hayden [Karen Allen]: Okay? Are you crazy? You almost got us killed! You said you watched me, you said you knew the rules!
Starman: I do know the rules.
Jenny Hayden: Oh, for your information pal, that was a yellow light back there!
Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.

I have soundtracks of two Bridges films that I did not see, Against All Odds (1984) and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), the latter containing Joe Jackson songs. I also have the Crazy Heart soundtrack, on which Bridges gives credible performances.

Bowling

But I missed TRON (1982), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1988), and Hell or High Water (2016), among others. And I have never seen, all the way through, The Big Lebowski (1998). I’m quite aware of its cultural significance of The Dude.

The Big Lebowski played at the Madison Theatre, three blocks from my house, less than a half-decade ago, but the timing didn’t work out. Now I have seen large chunks of it, and for that matter, TRON, on TV from time to time. If the Madison ever reopens and brings it back, I’ll be in line.

Jeff Bridges turns the Big 7-0 today.

MOVIE REVIEW: Crazy Heart

The familiar hellholes Bad plays in is reminiscent of the familiar, easygoing and peaceful characters Bridges has played in the past.


Strange. I saw Crazy Heart back in March, in the theater, just before the Oscars, and was going to write about it then, but couldn’t find the right angle. Then I figured that the next movie I saw would motivate me to finally write about it, but I haven’t SEEN a film since then, aside from a partial one. Now it’s three months later, the movie’s available on video. I was going to say at the time that it was a good rental rather than necessary to see in the cinema, but now I’ve waited so long, that’s about the only way you’re likely to see it.

As you probably know, Jeff Bridges won the Best Actor Oscar for playing rundown country singer Bad Blake, an alcoholic on the downward slope of his career, forced to play small venues such as bowling alleys. He manages to hook up with his female fans as he travels from town to town. His former protege, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), makes it known through Bad’s manager that he wants buy some of Bad’s songs, but Bad’s hidden pain blocks his creativity. Meanwhile, a roving reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) falls for him.

The familiar hellholes Bad plays in is reminiscent of the familiar, easygoing and peaceful characters Bridges has played in the past. It’s a good role, and he plays it well, but it is not groundbreaking cinema, and the award, I suspect, is as much a reward for lifetime achievement as for this particular performance.

It’s not that I didn’t like Crazy Heart – I did – but it had a certain “I’ve seen this before” feel. And I didn’t quite buy the hookup between Bad and the reporter, though, oddly, I did believe the relationship subsequently.

Oh, for Christmas 2009, I got the soundtrack for this movie, which is quite good. But it’s better once you see the movie and understand the context. Both Bridges and Farrell do their own singing, and they’re quite competent.