Actor turned writer-director Scott Cooper adapted Crazy Heart from Thomas Cobb's 1987 novel (the title is a Hank Williams B-Side). Cobb wanted Waylon Jennings for Bad Blake; Jeff Bridges finally got the part, though the now deceased Waylon and Bad's other inspirations hang over it. Jennings's "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" gets soundtrack play; Bad's shabby-romantic look recalls Kris Kristofferson, his perpetual hangover, "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down." The movie never specifies but seems to take place around '87, before cell phones eliminated distance, with the sad orneriness of country music more evident than it is today. It's easy to forget, as Billboard's Country charts fill with faintly twangy pop and lazy paeans to dogs and trucks, that this music has an atavistic darkness. Cobb wrote while Jennings was just detoxing from decades of storied self-abuse and Johnny Paycheck was serving time for a barroom shooting.
See www.villagevoice.com for full review