Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crazy Heart the movie falls short

My son Raymond in the great header by Connie above playing "The Bohemian Cowboy" got excited about this movie, Crazy Heart, and I can see why he did. In the end the alcoholic western singer decides he has to sober up and goes to AA. I think Jeff Bridges is a very natural actor who was certainly able to display all the nuances of a country western singer drinking. What I didn't think he got well was a country western singing star singing. There just weren't any outstanding songs in this movie and Jeff Bridges doing an outstanding job of singing them.
Any talented star even if he drinks doesn't get far if he cannot deliver a great singing performance. And I have been moved by many country western performers, a number of whom had a drinking problem, possibly for years, before they were able to subdue the monster.
So for me this movie was just average. What I am getting excited about is the possibility of Raymond getting involved in the movie business, first up, it looks like with some of his scripts. He is scheduled to go to Austin this coming week where the movie he is working on is going to be made. Right now he is working on a script written by the director. He is too excited and nervous to blog so you will have to wait on him. Maybe after things actually start to happen he will settle down enough to let us know via his blog Cowboys and Bohemians.
Raymond actually has not done hardly any of his projects for many years while drinking. As he has pointed out, you can't teach high school theater and drink on a regular basis. Drinking is the ghost of past times that haunts him. He is always working to make sure that this ghost won't show up at the wrong time and scare off opportunity.
So what I think he is going to be able to do eventually is make a great western movie involving singing that will not disappoint in the song department. He has written a lot of great songs and he has been working on his performing skills. But what he should never forget which Jeff Bridges and company lost sight of is that to be memorable a movie about an alcoholic singer needs to be about more than drinking. I am so tired of seeing all the signs of alcohol abuse. Jeff Bridges portray those well as I said, but that was not what I hoped to see in this movie. I hope to see songs performed that I would remember, that I would take with me as I have taken many of the songs to heart that drinking singers have performed with haunting effect, despite drinking. To name a few, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings.
Raymond's own father mesmerized a drinking party crowd quite a few times in his day while drinking, but I would always hope he would get started singing soon enough that he did not get too drunk before he had worked the crowd up with a great night of singing. I can still remember him with his haunting voice doing just that. I knew that that was all we were going to get from him, take it or leave it, that he was probably years from quitting drinking. He did not in fact quit drinking as a younger man until after we were divorced and he was married to his high school sweetheart who managed to get him to church every Sunday for years. But he mostly stopped singing except with the choir and I don't think he ever became a regular member of that.
Years later, after he gone on another nearly ten year spree of drinking, he was finally able to sing sober with his son Raymond. But he was too old by then to make a run for it. The youthful energy was gone that propelled him when I was married to him.
Now it was his son Raymond who had that energy not him, who has still got it in his early fifties, by virtue of struggling so hard to keep drinking out of his performing.
A man can do so much more with his opportunities if he does not drink. How sadly I can say that after I once more go to collect my things from the apartment of a guy who had all the talent in the world and has squandered it with years of heavy drinking. Doc was watching this movie with me, revealing that he had gotten drunk the night before with Navaho Dave. He hadn't sobered up yet, and after the movie was over, very drunk, he wanted to make a video. I just couldn't stand to perform with him that drunk, so I blew up and left. A little while later he called and told me to get down there or he was going to call Kim. Oh he had gotten drunk and drunker with Kim a few nights before that and told me with glee that he had gotten up to answer the door naked 'because he thought it was me' and gush goo it was Kim. I said, oh, well, you have been trying so hard to get that to happen, you answering the door naked to some other woman besides me. I take no notice of it knowing he is helpless in that department.
I told him I was not coming down at his command so go ahead and call Kim. Whatever.
But my thoughts have also been straying very far from him during the many evenings I spend alone, for if he is not getting very drunk, he has to go to bed about 6 or 7 he is so pleasantly sloshed after sipping all day he can't stay awake any longer.
I am usually very busy as I was night before last in preparation for writing about my cousin Howard's passing.
The great thing about both Howard and Homer in their years of being Mormon Bishops is that they were always totally sober. You can count on active Mormons not to drink. I know that they accomplished a lot of good in their service to others in the capacity of bishop.
So they were both powerful men which is why their passing was an event. They were both god fearing men who were 'going home.' I could imagine the great solemn music playing and the feeling of joy in welcoming home two brothers dying within several months of each other, two years apart in age, who were such controlled disciplined men. There was a heaven for them waiting there I am satisfied, their reward for a long life well lived.
I was just sorry that they were not able to intervene more in the lives of their alcoholic relatives who caused so much pain to their families and themselves. But I was aware that first of all they needed to save themselves. They needed to do whatever was necessary to keep from becoming alcoholics. My Aunt Neta had the right idea. She so did not want her sons to follow in the same footsteps as her drinking brothers had done who had such tragic endings to their lives.
My own father did not go gently into the night even though he cut his drinking way back. Still he would go on one heck of a destructive binge every once in a while and that is what helped kill him. He caused a wreck that could have killed 3 young men by getting drunk and crossing the yellow line and hitting their car head on. It was all his fault. He was probably going to be quite severely punished when he went to court, but he died at 64 just before that happened. He beat his sentence by dying of a heart attack first, but during the wreck his chest had nearly been impaled on the steering wheel shaft of his almost new Cadillac de Ville. He wrecked that beautiful car totally! And I am sure paved the way to a fatal heart attack a few months later. We were just thankful to lay him in his grave without him having killed those guys.
When a good man dies the angels play their harps in their honor when they come home. I still feel that my father labors in the beyond to recover from his life of drinking. If only more young men pictured what was going to happen with a drinking life, perhaps there would be less old alcoholics so addicted it remains beyond their strength to quit for years.

4 comments: said...

I love the header...could be used in the saddle book the Festival makers are planning in the future.
Gathering all those saddles is no easy job. They should take pictures of owners and saddles and tell the stories.
It will be interesting to hear about the movies coming up. It sounds like Scott is after the one they did that someone stole. I hope Raymond can blog once more!

Connie said...

Good Luck to Raymond...and and don't forget the man in black when we're talking bout country singers/drinkers.....
The late GREAT Johnny Cash God rest his weary soul...

Gerry said...

Oh yes, not too long ago I got to see an old tape of Johnny Cash as the most handsome young devil all in black singing to some university and the MC was Art Linklater's son Jack, incidentally, and oh Connie, it was no wonder he took the country western world by storm, he was so good, one song he sang was the one about the crick a'rising--think of him and the latest Nashville flood. I have not had singing affect me so much in a long time as that did, he had it all as a country western singer.

Missie said...

Sorry I havne't commented a lot lately. I'm so behind with everyone's blogs. I think it's going to take me days to catch up. Have a great weekend.


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