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"I'm Bad Blake. When I die, my tombstone will have my real name. Until then, I'm gonna stay Bad."
"Bad" Blake is a down-on-his-luck Country singer who nowadays travels on the road to perform one night stands wherever he can get them. His protegee, Tommy Sweet, is now a bigger star than him, and that gets on his nerves. One day, reporter Jean Craddock comes along and asks for an interview. He complies, and the ensuing relationship with her and her son Buddy sets up the road to get his life back on track. The film became a sleeper success, in great part because of buzz for Jeff Bridges' performance, and earned him the Oscar for Best Actor. The film also won the Oscar for Best Original Song ("The Weary Kind"), and Maggie Gyllenhaal was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
- Actor Allusion: When Jeff Bridges sat down at that bowling alley bar, one half expected him to order a White Russian.
- Adult Fear: When Blake loses Buddy in a mall, both for what might have happened to the boy and the fact that Jean would never forgive him for doing that, especially after Jean made him promise not to drink in front of the boy. Good news/Bad news: Buddy is found safe by mall security, but Jean breaks off the relationship because of that.
- Career Resurrection: Bad Blake's goal.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' Blake promises not to drink when he's around Buddy, as soon as he does though Buddy disappears immediately.
- Country Music: Quite a bit of it is sung throughout the movie.
- Development Hell: Thomas Cobb often tells his students that the book didn't do too well and actually went out of print after its first edition. However, the film rights were picked up numerous times throughout the next two decades and every time the film rights were optioned he'd get a small royalty check. When this version of the film was optioned, it was the first time Cobb had ever heard from an actual director. The film itself took only a month to complete.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Jean ultimately marries someone else, though the experience helps Blake get his life back together).
- Drink Order: Bad Blake will have a whiskey, and buddy a Ginger Ale on the rocks.
- Dueling Movies: Country Strong.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "Bad" Blake; in the end, he reveals his true first name: Otis.
- Handsome Lech/Kavorka Man: Blake could be classified as either of these; he seems to have quite a way with the ladies, despite being a mess most of the time.
- I Am the Band: Bad Blake and whatever country band was hanging around will be preforming tonight.
- Jerkass: We are led to believe Tommy is something of one at first, given Blake's issues with performing alongside him, but it is quickly revealed that, like Blake's inability to write new material, it's more his issues than Tommy's. Tommy is actually something of a Nice Guy, given he actively encourages people to take notice of Blake, encourages them to work together, tries to get a fan to obtain Blake's autograph, and actively pushes a deal that would see Blake receive more money than he's seen in years.
- Master Apprentice Chain: From Blake to Tommy.
- Oscar Bait: A ___________ destroys his life and then gets better after being inspired to by a beautiful young woman.
- Parental Abandonment: Bad Blake hasn't seen his adult son since he was 4 years old.
- Producing Against Type: Two of the producers, Leslie Belzberg and Michael A. Simpson, made a rare foray into drama here. Belzberg is best known as a collaborator on John Landis's films and Simpson produced two of the Sleepaway Camp films.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Averted. Colin Farrell explicitly asked to not be credited because he didn't want to overshadow Jeff Bridges.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: A couple of times.