Country Strong / Townes Van Zandt

Country Strong = Country Wrong

I’m not a person who is easily offended. This movie offended me.

Not only did it offend me, it disgusted me. It made me want to vomit more than drinkin’ a bottle of tequila on an empty stomach and chasing it down with a shot of Tabasco. The agony that combination causes, I can bare. This movie exceeded any level of tolerance I may have.

Country Strong is a pile of shit. It is everything I hate about Hollywood and everything I hate about “country music” (aka Nashville pop) all in one. I don’t know what they were thinking. I think they were trying to make an mellow-dramatic , Oprah Book club, chick-flick version of Crazy Heart. Fail.

The movie centers around former country superstar, Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow) whose love of the bottle gets in the way of her mega-career. Boohoo.

When I first saw the trailer for this piece of garbage, I thought ‘clearly it must be a joke.’ Gwyneth Paltrow? This is a lady who romps around Britain with designer clothing and nannies and they’ve cast her in a film targeted toward the dumpy Walmart housewife crowd? On behalf of those people, I’m offended. It’s a mockery.

Beyond that, she looks good. A true alcoholic is bloated, fat, losing their hair…. in no way does Paltrow look as if she’s had any semblance of hard livin’. At least in Crazy Heart, Bridge’s was fat and worn out. Way to glamorize alcoholism, Hollywood.

But, the real crime lies in the fact that the plot also revolves around two up-and-coming country musicians, Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund) and Chiles Statton (Leighton Meetser) who are suppose to be some kind of modern bullshit version of Johnny Cash and June Carter (as evidenced by the horrid Garth Brook’s cover in the following clip).

I can deal with the fact that this is a terrible movie. Terrible movies make a lot of money. I can also deal with the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow (after making this film) decided she wants to be a country singer. Everyone wants to be a country singer these days. It’s fine, no one is taking it seriously. Go ahead, sing your pop music and put your steel guitars over it. Wear your little “western” outfits everyone in LA finds fashionable. You’re not a real Country singer. So long as you don’t try to be, I can handle it.

But wait. There came a moment in the film where they crossed the line. At one point, the nasal pretty boy twerp known as Beau was touted as “the Next Townes Van Zandt.” Thems are fightin’ words.

When I heard that line, I thought that I was mistaken. Clearly they wouldn’t say that. Clearly they wouldn’t reference someone so obscure in their mainstream commercial movie. So, I played it back again. And again. Just to be positive that they’d really committed country sacrilege. And, they did.

I have the following to say to the people who made this film:

Dear Assholes,

Townes Van Zandt is in no way anything like the character Beau in Country Strong. Since Townes isn’t alive today, on behalf of his memory, Fuck you.

Sincerely,
Person who actually listens to country music and knows the difference between real country and so-called country

Texas Troubadour, Townes Van Zandt (from the documentary Heartworn Highways)

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