“I used to be somebody, and now I am somebody else…”

I just wanted to take a quick moment and revisit “Crazy Heart” and Jeff Bridges performance. I think much of the attention that has been bestowed upon Bridges’ performance is that not only was Bridges pitch perfect – but the character of Bad Blake is so appealing to us as humans. There’s been much speculation on whom Bad Blake is based off of. Bridges said himself that if Bad Blake were a real person, he would have been the fifth Highway Man, joining Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristopherson. Much of Blake’s mannerisms, appearance and lyrics are mirrors of Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristopherson – not a bad combination. I think deep down inside all of us, we carry a part of Blake inside of us. Whether it is remorse, regret, self loathing, or greatness that is imbedded within us; each one of us has a story to tell. Whether we write, sing, act or construct, our stories are built from whatever skills we have to use.

Much of the attention that Bridges is attaining isn’t without reason. Bridges was the most underappreciated actor of his generation until “Crazy Heart” came out. He always found his ways into roles that suited him perfectly (even if the film itself wasn’t that great). Bridges is a true artist. Not only is Bridges an actor, but he’s a skilled painter, photographer (Bridges is notorious for taking still photographs on every film set he’s been on, and they are remarkable) and singer. He released a folk album in the early 2000’s that is very good. His artwork was in the film “The Door in the Floor” where his character Ted Cole was a children’s writer. His artwork in the film is simple, yet holds a deep complexity of darkness and haunting within it, much like the stories that his character writes in the film. All of his art is displayed on his website, www.jeffbridges.com.

Aside from Bridges’ performance in “Crazy Heart” that makes the film compelling and real, is the music by Stephen Burton and T-Bone Burnett. The songs that Blake sings are truly beautiful, and they tell us a deep and rich story that helps explain who Blake is, and why he is what he is. His life has been filled with much joy, and much more pain; and the only way for Blake to release these feelings is through music. I personally think “Hold on You” is the best song from the film. It speaks directly to me. If any of the songs, poems, or scripts I’ve written are even as half as good as “Hold on You”, I would be delighted.

I been loved
And I been alone
All my life I been a rolling stone
Done everything that a man can do
Everything but get a hold on you
Done everything that a man can do
Everything but get a hold on you

I been blessed
And I been cursed
All my lies have been unrehearsed
A wall of fire that I walk through
Only trying to get a hold on you
A wall of fire that I walk through
Only trying to get a hold on you

I saw you waiting at the gate
But I arrived a moment late
I saw you shed a single tear
But still I can’t get there from here

I been high
And I been low
I been people that I don’t know
I been to China and old Peru
Only trying to get a hold on you
Been to China and to Peru
Only trying to get a hold on you
Only trying to get a hold on you

The lyrics don’t do the song nearly as much justice as the way Bridges sings the song.

Jeff Bridges means a lot to me. As an artist, it’s hard to find a match for him. He’s utterly brilliant and persuasively dynamic and so complex. I’ve made it a point in these past couple of months to dowse myself with as much of Bridges’ art, acting and music as I could. I am so very thankful for him, and for everything he’s given me. I still think Colin Firth gave the best performance of the year in “A Single Man”, but when Bridges wins his first Oscar, after being nominated five times – well, that’s just fine with me. And if you ask me, I think the Dude would defiantly abide.

NOTE: Thank you Alfred for the correct lyrics of the song.  Thank you for reading, and thank you for correcting me.

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

9 thoughts on ““I used to be somebody, and now I am somebody else…””

  1. I been loved
    And I been alone
    All my life I been a rolling stone
    Done everything that a man can do
    Everything but get a hold on you
    Done everything that a man can do
    Everything but get a hold on you

    I been blessed
    And I been cursed
    All my lies have been unrehearsed
    A wall of fire that I walk through
    Only trying to get a hold on you
    A wall of fire that I walk through
    Only trying to get a hold on you

    I saw you waiting at the gate
    But I arrived a moment late
    I saw you shed a single tear
    But still I can’t get there from here

    I been high
    And I been low
    I been people that I don’t know
    I been to China and old Peru
    Only trying to get a hold on you
    Been to China and to Peru
    Only trying to get a hold on you
    Only trying to get a hold on you

  2. My absolute favorite line is: “Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’ / for a little while.” The best songs are the ones that boil such expansive ideas (falling, flying) into one sentence. And while I know Jeff Bridges didn’t write this, he sure did sing the hell out of it.

      1. The lyrics to these songs ring so fucking true to life – it’s unreal. The music, and his character touches me so deeply – though that may be due to the fact that Jeff Bridges has changed my life.

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