I never did get around to seeing Crazy Heart for which Jeff Bridges won his long overdue Academy Award. You want to know why? It looks boring as bat shit and outside of Invictus it was probably the Oscar title I was anticipating the least. I did a good job coming up with reasons to not see it in cinemas and I think it's out on DVD right now, but, and I'm being honest here, I'd rather watch unseen-by-me cult classics like Supergirl or Surf Nazi's Must Die>. They may be shit, but I can at least say I've never seen anything like them before. Crazy Heart, not so much.
All of this is a long way of getting around to this new Gwyneth Paltrow movie called Country Strong in which Paltrow plays a country singer, recently out of rehab, trying to stage a comeback. Same story, it would seem, as dozens before, but I can't recall it being done with a young woman at the centre rather than some distinguished male actor. If I'm wrong here then by all means correct me and I'll reassess, but I think we can all be thankful that, if nothing else, Paltrow won't be seen romancing a handsome actor 20 years her junior. Unfortunately, there's a bit of The Coal Miner's Daughter influence going on, obviously, with Tim McGraw playing her husband slash manager, which seems fairly predictable. Fans of Gossip Girl should know that Leighton Meester - I don't watch the show so I haven't the foggiest idea who she is - also has a role as a young beauty queen turned singer.
Paltrow has proven to have a more than passable voice in Duets, which - I kid you not - provided Paltrow with #1 and #3 hit singles on the Aussie charts ("Cruisin'" and "Bette Davis Eyes" respectively). And having heard the film's title track I gotta say it's very impressive. It sounds a lot like the Dixie Chicks (with Patty Griffin on backup vocals!) and that's a-okay by me. You can listen to "Country Strong" here and, even if the film doesn't do for Paltrow what she hopes it will (aka, get her back into the good graces of awards bodies and critics) then the song seems like a good bet for a Best Original Song nomination at the Academy Awards, especially in this lackluster year for musicals.
And just to remind y'all, here's Gwynnie performing her surprisingly strong version "Bette Davis Eyes". It's got nothing on Kim Carnes, but what does? And then there's a clip from Infamous, the other Truman Capote movie from the mid '00s. I've always been a fan of Gwyneth and think she was quite great in Two Lovers