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BEST LINES EVER! “I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look. I never knew what a dump it was until you came in here…” – Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) in Crazy Heart, 2009 By Richard Crouse

CrazyHeart_QuadIn a story that echoes The Wrestler, Crazy Heart follows the tail end of the career of a man who once had everything but threw it away. Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges in his first Oscar winning role) was a big country music star whose life seems ripped from the lyrics of a hurtin’ Hank Williams song. On the road he’s so lonely he could die, so he fills his time with groupies; women who follow him back to his seedy hotel room, remembering the star he once was and not the sweaty, drunk wreck he has become. His downward spiral is slowed when he meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist and single mother who becomes his anchor. In their first interview Bridges shoots her a flirty line destined to become a classic.

“I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look,” he says, looking at her framed against the peeling wallpaper of his motel room. “I never knew what a dump it was until you came in here.”

It’s a sharp line that says two things about the character. First it shows that Blake is used to charming women and secondly, that he speaks like a songwriter, like someone who knows how to play with words.

“It is the sign of a master craftsman at work,” says Crazy Heart writer / director Scott Cooper of Blake’s enticing words. “A man who can write a line like ‘I used to be somebody but now I’m someone else,’ or ‘Sometimes fallin’ feels like flyin’’ or ‘Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try.’ That line seemed to me like something George Jones or Waylon Jennings might write, and it felt very appropriate. I hope it comes across as organic.”

The line is the beginning of Bad Blake’s redemption. Seeing her he realizes that beyond these seedy motel rooms he is forced to stay in and the crappy bowling alleys he has to play, that seeing her he realizes there is something better out there for him to aspire to.

“He now knows he has a purpose in life and someone is making him feel like he has a purpose and someone is helping him,” says Cooper, “even though he doesn’t yet quite understand that he is rediscovering his artistry. And he says to her, “I haven’t seen anybody blush in I don’t know how long,” and she says, “Well my capillaries are close to the skin.” She doesn’t give him all the credit, but they are flirting and we know that this may be the beginning of an unlikely but a good relationship.”

It’s a line that could have come off as stilted in the hands of a lesser actor but Cooper had ever confidence in Bridges and his ability to deliver the words with just the right amount of emphasis.

“I told Jeff that any time he says this writing I didn’t want it to come across as clever or seem overly written. I wanted it to feel organic. You can throw those lines away and Jeff does that beautifully. That’s why you hire people with his instincts and abilities.”

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