What's on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann
CRAZY HEART has already won two Golden Globes -- Best Actor for Jeff Bridges and Best Song for T-Bone Burnett, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor. And we've still got Independent Spirit Awards and the Big Kahuna of the Academy Awards to go. No less a critic than Roger Ebert predicts Bridges is a "virtual certainty to win his first Oscar."
"Bad" Blake (it's not his real name, but "I was born Bad. My tombstone will have my real name. Until then, I'm going to stay Bad.") is a too-hard-drinking, too-hard-living, too-hard-loving country singer. Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a woman young enough to be his daughter, with a four-year-old son, is the good woman who wants to give the lie to that Badness. She's also got an Oscar nomination.
It's not the first time this iconic story has been told. It's a country song rolled up in a screenplay. But this time it has those ineffable qualities that make for a hit. With an 92% rating on RottenTomatoes.com and an 83% rating on Metacritic.com, "it's a mesmerizer," says Rolling Stone.
Come for the acting. Stay for the music. And enjoy a " a well-done, adult American movie—that is to say, a rarity." (Village Voice)
I'm pleased to see that the Tropic is bringing back AN EDUCATION, which had a brief run early last Fall before any buzz had built about it. It's now got three major Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress. First-time screenwriter Nick Hornby crafts a script with the clever, engaging plot and dialogue we've known in his novels (About a Boy, High Fidelity). Carey Mulligan is Jenny, a prep school senior who discovers there's more to life than aceing your A-levels and getting into Cambridge, when she meets David, a forty-something bon vivant.
In an odd coincidence, David, who's seducing this young woman, is played by Peter Sarsgaard, the real-life husband of Maggie Gyllenhaal, the one who's captivating an older man in Crazy Heart. Everyone's talking about Carey Mulligan for Best Actress, but my own acting nod would go to Sarsgaard, who does an amazing job of making his sleazy perv character into a loveable rogue.
Held over are a bevy of Oscar-nominated hits, NINE (4 nominations), THE YOUNG VICTORIA (3 nominations), A SINGLE MAN (1 nomination), and UP IN THE AIR (6 nominations), so there's plenty to see for those of you who have been ignoring your movie-going pleasures.
On the Special Events front. the Tropic Talks Series features Peter Schweitzer, producer of THE EDGE OF NEVER, the true story of 15-year-old Kye Petersen, who, under the wing of a "tribe" of big mountain skiers, took on the challenge of skiing the Alpine run that his extreme-skiing father died on. Schweitzer, a senior producer for CBS's 48 Hours, took a crew to Chamonix to document young Kye's confrontation with the mountain that took his father. The location is breathtaking. The story is jaw-dropping. Following a special screening of the movie, you'll have a chance to meet Schweitzer by live, interactive video feed. That's Wednesday night.
The Monday Night Classic is ETERNALLY YOURS, starring David Niven as magician who charms Loretta Young into deserting her rich fiancé and marrying him. But the film's title is ironic, I think. Find out Monday night.
And don't forget Verdi's FALSTAFF, from the Belgian Royal Opera on Sunday afternoon.
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[from Key West, the newspaper]