Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crazy Heart

Went to see "Crazy Heart" with Jeff Bridges on Monday. Beforehand, had lunch with the IU Northwest regulars. Bill Dorin had seen Robert Downy, Jr., in “Sherlock Holmes” the night before. I saw it with Toni and the Migoskis in California and thought it funny. George Bodmer said that Basil Rathbone, who played Sherlock in 14 movies starting in 1939, made an appearance at an assembly at his high school in Cincinnati. Arrived at the Portage movie theater ten minutes early so watched the beginning of “Dear John,” which deals with a soldier home on leave and appears to be one to miss.

“Crazy Heart,” the tale of a down-on-his-luck, alcoholic 57 year-old country singer named Bad Blake, was fabulous. You got to love the charming Bridges, even when he is crashing his ’78 Silverado (“Old Betsy”) or puking his guts out into a trash can (then puts his hand in it to retrieve his sun glasses). Robert Duvall shines as his buddy and Colin Farrell as onetime protégé-now country star Tommy Sweet, but love interest Maggie Gyllenhaal almost steals the show as a young reporter with a four year-old kids torn between her head and her heart. The music is fantastic and songwriter T-Bone Burnett has been nominated for for an Oscar along with bridges and Gyllenhaal.

Called up Gaard Logan, Terry Jenkins, Josef Robinson, and David Malham and told them to go see “Crazy Heart.” David is a real movie buff who would love to write reviews and works for MADD. I told them his organization would love the movie’s message but refrained from giving any of the plot away. Nephew Joe celebrates his twenty-first birthday Saturday. His mom Andrea doesn't want him to see it because of the drunk scenes, but the flick has a good ending in terms of sending a message about alcoholism.

Have been shoveling snow for the past two days. The 15 or so inches were a minor inconvenience compared to the monster blizzard that hit the east coast, shutting down airports and the federal government for days. Staying home, I finished Gore Vidal’s “The Golden Years,” which is very critical of FDR for manipulating the country into WW II and Truman for Cold War measures that took away freedom of speech and made the U.S. a national security state permanently on a war footing. Oddly, Vidal puts himself into the novel when dealing with the New York City postwar Arts scene. I preferred Burr and Lincoln but enjoyed it.

House hunting is going slowly. Here in Northwest Indiana not many homes are designed for codgers like us. I liked one in Chesterton that was “too much house” for Toni and had dead trees in the back yard. The homes she has taken us past seem more appropriate as starter homes for young marrieds.

Told Paul Kern that I’m lined up to talk to the Hobart Kiwanis, the Portage Historical Society, a third grade class for Black History month, and Steve’s Indiana class, so I don’t miss not being in the classroom on a regular basis. Talking to third graders will be a challenge. years ago, I taught Gary History for IUN's Kids College. Any time I started to lecture eyes glazed over. My plan is to take with me about a dozen pictures, starting with Haitian-born fur trader Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, who married a Potawatomi Indian and lived in Northwest Indiana before moving to Chicago, and get the kids to talk about them. I was slightly disappointed when I ran into Nicole Anslover that she didn't invited me to speak to her class on the 1920s and 1930s although last semester after my appearance in her 60s class she said I could come back whenever I wanted. I told her about Bill Moyer's documentary on the Twenties that was part of his "Walk Through the Twentieth Century" series.

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