Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Jive For The Weary Kind

As I sat frozen in my '04 Acura listening to "The Weary Kind" for the first time off of the Crazy Heart soundtrack, I knew that I was gonna love Bad Blake before I even saw the movie. After listening to the lyrics, I also realized that Ryan Bingham had written the perfect country and western song...and I felt obliged to Jive about it here at Top5. It is nominated for an Oscar and in my mind, no song has ever deserved the accolade more. Keep in mind, I say that knowing that a Springsteen song won the Oscar in the '93 season and another deserving tune by The Boss was later snubbed in '08. I think that the theme to Crazy Heart is better than both of those songs.

Over the course of the last month, The Pop-Culture Know-It-Alls and I ( Pontification Nation?) discussed our favorite movies of the decade with a lot of talk on the greatest performances. I cannot imagine a discussion without mentioning this fantastic, captivating, and charming performance by Jeff "the Dude" Bridges. I wondered if Kris Kristofferson was considered for the role but then guessed that the producers thought that Bridges could play Kristofferson more convincingly than Kristofferson could play himself. They were right.

Every performance chosen by the Academy has that one scene that justifies or solidifies the nomination. It's usually shot in Close-Up. Last year had Mickey Rourke's "I'm a broken down piece of meat." That same year there was Richard Jenkins' "Do you hear me...I mean DO YOU HEAR ME"? A few years before that we had Virginia Madsen telling Paul Giamatti that wine tasted "so f**king good". Bridges and his co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal have that scene too.It takes place in her doorway as Bad Blake's words are delivered with hurt, confusion, and above all...simplicity. It's a brief but emotional scene.

If you're in college and are looking for a fun drinking game with your sorrority or fraternity...when this movie comes out on DVD, try taking a shot every time Bad Blake has a nip. Much like Doc Holliday in Tombstone, Blake will make sure you aren't awake for the Third Act. He drinks a lot of booze....

And speakin' of booze....

I've been reading the autobiography of country music legend, George Jones. If drinkin' was an olympic sport, "No Show" Jones would certainly win some sort of medal. I read that he drank so much that he developed multiple personalities. One was "DeDoodle Duck" and the other was "The Old Man". He would talk like each one of them and argue back and forth. Insanity.

For Jones to win a medal in this "sprint to the grave", he would have stiff competition from other famous artists, writers, musicians, actors, politicians, athletes, etc. He would have to win out over such accomplished booze-hounds (in no particular order) such as Humphrey Bogart, Lee Marvin, Jack Keruac, Edgar Allen Poe, Dean Martin, Vincent Van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, David Crosby, Johnny D., Boris Yeltsin, Winston Churchill, John Barrymore, Ernest Hemingway, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and John Daly. Let's not forget the women such as Calamity Jane and Judy Garland. George Jones would probobly defeat John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Bon Scott (original AC/DC) and William Holden (The Wild Bunch, Network) by disqualification since their alcohol consumption directly contributed to their demise. Just for fun, we could have Jones compete with fictional boozers such as Homer Simpson, Barney Gumble, Norm Peterson, and Otis Campbell. To be certain, George Jones could probobly win out over many of these notorious lushes. However, there is one man...I mean one Giant that Jones, nor any other human in the history of mankind could defeat in the Battle of the Booze; that would be Andre the Giant.

Don't believe me? Check out this link at . I have a well thought-out theory as to why Andre is The Greatest Drinker in History. If you want to know, ask me in the Comments section and I would love to tell you.

Anyway, back to the country singers....

"And Ol' George Jones I'm Glad To See Is Finally Gettin' Straight"

Anyway...back to where I began. I strongly recommend Crazy Heart for those of you who dig a Strong Character Piece. You are not going to find a better performance than this one. This movie really struck a chord with me (pun!). My favorite line of the movie comes when Bad Blake is asked where he gets the ideas for his songs. "Life, unfortunately", he says. Now that's a great title for a movie I wish I could write - Love Actually's Evil, and Realistic Twin.


BTW, Collateral has been knocked out of my Top 10 of the decade.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Love This Song

After Johnny Cash covered Nine Inch Nails' version of "Hurt" in 2003, I remember Trent Reznor saying that (paraphrasing) after The Man In Black covers your song, it no longer belongs to you. Not that my opinion means anything, but I would have to put Eddie Vedder in the Exclusive List of Two who can take any popular original and make you forget that another version exists.

I've often stated that I first became a music fan at the age of 12 after listening to Nirvana. I have neglected Pearl Jam's contribution in my Musical Journey. I may have heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" first, but "Alive" came maybe a week later. I still remember watching them on SNL in '92 and being blown away as Eddie Vedder "headbanged" right out of his cap. Anyway, "I Am a Patriot", written by Stephen Van Zandt and performed by Eddie Vedder is one of my all-time favorite songs.

Top5 Pearl Jam songs are:

5. Alive

4. Yellow Ledbetter

3. Here's to the State of Mississippi (live)

2. Corduroy

1. I Am a Patriot (live)

Shoutout to Who You Are and Better Man (live)