If we are being honest though this is far from being the best film of the past year. It tells a familiar tale of a once great, now down on his luck, country singer named "Bad Blake" (Bridges) who is reduced to touring the pubs and bowling alleys of middle America while his one time protege Tommy (Colin Farrell) enjoys huge success. Blake deals with this by drinking a lot of whisky and sleeping with a lot of tough looking women.
Salvation arrives in the form of a small town journalist, Jean, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Through her and her young son Blake finds that there might be something to live for after all. Dial-a-cliche anyone? Sure, but it's a heartwarming tale and, thanks to Bridges, it doesn't ever seem too contrived or trite. The film never quite manages to tug at your heart-strings or make you care in the same way as a certain other film about a former star fallen on hard times did but at an awards ceremony where "Avatar" has even been nominated as a best film we should all be thankful for a film driven by story and performance.
An aside...Maggie Gyllenhaal should be nominated for a Razzie for her utterly wooden performance which was, at times, laughable.