Jun 25

Tom Baker reviews “Crazy Heart” and “Brothers”

Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91) is a staff writer for The Daily Yomiuri. He usually writes for DYWeekend, the paper’s arts and leisure section. You can follow Tom’s blog at tokyotombaker.wordpress.com.

Recently he reviewed movies, “Crazy Heart” and “Brothers.” He found poetry in both of them. Here are some excerpts:

“Crazy Heart”

Country music singer-songwriter Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, sweats like a pig, and urinates into a plastic jug while driving from town to town. As I watched him perform under hot lights at a variety of small and unglamorous venues in the movie Crazy Heart, I could almost smell him. He didn’t smell very nice.

On the bright side, Bad’s personal problems are grist for the mill. One of his most popular songs looks back on a dissipated life with the refrain, “Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’/for a little while.”

Anyone who doubts that country music is the primary home of modern American poetry should meditate on that line. “Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin'” is alliterative and catchy, but also trenchant. And Bad has flown and fallen quite a way…

Read the rest of the review here.


In William Shakespeare’s play about his life, King Richard II is forced to surrender his crown to his usurper cousin Henry IV. In doing so, Richard compares himself and Henry to two buckets in a well: “The emptier ever dancing in the air,/The other down, unseen and full of water:/That bucket down and full of tears am I,/Drinking my griefs while you mount up on high.”

The title characters in Brothers, although they dwell in an American suburb rather than an English castle, are not unlike the tragic royal cousins.

Sam (Tobey Maguire) is an upstanding husband, father and U.S. marine who is about to be separated from his family for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. On the eve of Sam’s departure, his surly brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), a ne’er-do-well with a drinking problem, rejoins the extended family after a stint in prison…

Read the rest of the review here.

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