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Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Feel your hand, you son of a" TRUE GRIT-2010

I was asked to post what  I thought after seeing the movie and I want to thank everyone who commented last week as  I ended up waiting to see the movie. Surely I have been reading so much Hoopla and can look at it highly critical. However, just going out and watching a movie, well it's the best western movie made in is not a movie about John Wayne, it is a movie about a young girl wanting to revenge the killer of her father. John Wayne did a great job in the 1969 movie where he earned his only Oscar. However, this is not a review on his movie. This is one about 2010 and the superb film brought back by directors Joel and Ethan Coen. However due to so much hoopla....about the Duke, one can not review this movie without justifying an unnecessary discussion and comparison.
I don't need to fill you with all the dialog of what the movie is about. What it is not is anything that takes away from the DUKE and in reality, brings much more awareness of John Wayne if anything. In 2010, the Duke has been Googled and Yahooed more than any other year. Additional, while VHS tapes and DVD's have sat unrented collecting dust at Blockbusters, netflixs and others....Out of no where, attention to the 1969 make of True-Grit became the 2010 holiday rental. Those who desire to argue points and have not seen the movie is much like speaking worthless breaths of air to a band of folks that remain blinded because they have made up their mind that nothing is better than John Wayne.

Well, some would argue John Wayne avoided the draft during World War II despite than many war pictures he did or he was a tempered man of three marriages or maybe even racist during a comment made while being interviewed. Although, I personally liked the Duke and he has received two special Presidential Awards. I've read his history, viewed his movies and appreciated what the man appeared to be. The Duke appeared to be the American Cowboy and his movies have been well worth watching. Regardless, I remained unbiased as to how good this 2010 remake movie would be. I needed to see it for myself.

I had planned on seeing it Christmas Day but it was sold out. Not just one show, but the whole entire day. A good friend Vernon Mortersen got to see it early during a sneak preview held in San Diego where Vernon is a producer. He also served in the Navy with naval Special Warfare so I felt he has a grip on not only the movies, but what is real and believable and what is not believable. He told me it was great but rather than speak much about Bridges, told me to check out Berry Pepper. Thumbs up from

The Holiday schedule had myself busy unable to see it until New Years day. However, by then, Bob Boze Bell gave his review. Bob owns True West Publishing and narrates with the ENCORE Western Movie Cable channel. He quoted "Last night the entire family, six of us, went to see the new "True Grit" and all agreed it is a winner. Tonight, Kathy and I watched the original and it's amazing, both stand tall, with slight differences and advantages." I even had to read Roger Ebert's review who also gave it thumbs up and believes maybe it's time to do the remake of the Broadway Hit Musical "Oklahoma."

However, this is the Grit of True Grit. I saw it. I liked it. I liked it better than the first. I was highly impressed with the screenwriters selection of dialogs and expressions that fit the movie. I can dig fault in any movie and found two parts I thought could have been different, but if one read the book, you would appreciate a director who does justice by not changing things from the book as perhaps director Henry Hathaway did in the first movie making the picture more about Rooster Cogburn rather than
Mattie Ross, the educated sharp tongue 14 year old girl from Arkansas.

Don't be surprise when this movie goes up for at least 5 academy awards. The acting is superb. The wardrobe is impeccable to the era portrayed and the folklore and action all so realistic that it is a believable tale. Although, I believe 2010 has a hand full of great movies. It would be unlikely to receive the top award for best picture though if Bridges won best actor in this movie, it would make Oscar History as I do not know of another which has won this award and then do it again. Each character plays their role as directed by the Coen brothers and they each did a superb job.

This morning over coffee, Jennifer Schmidt shared some of her thoughts as we disused the highlights. She too loves the Duke though desired and longed for another good western. As we talked about actors that might have been able to play this part, actors like Robert Duval who played the lead in Lonesome Dove couldn't because he played bad guy Ned Pepper in the original. Clint Eastwood would have had his flare but would be difficult to see him playing anything but his own roles. One name we both agreed upon was maybe Billy Bob Thornton who is also from Arkansas and has a very unique way of being any role his portrays. However, the role was given to Jeff Bridges.

Bridges who perhaps is best known for his roles in Starman, Iron man or Tron but wait a minute, didn't Jeff just win an academy award? Yes he did in the 2009 movie "Crazy Heart" Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Oh and the movie was a modern western about a broke down country singer on a come back.....and oddly, watching True Grit for its second time, and ICON fades and another begins. Bridges has had some other roles in westerns too. One along side Clint Eastwood in the 1974 "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot." Later the not so proclaim western "Rancho Delux" stealing cattle which was basically the story of two dumb idiots. Then there was "Texasville" which is the story about west Texas booming oil towns and more money than good ole white trash America knows what to do with it. The book was better but Bridges can act and does better than good in True Grit. That's great acting.

As Jennifer continued comments, we both agreed about Josh Brolin playing the role of Tom Chaney seemed weak. However, perhaps because Chaney is the hired hand who killed his employer in the mannerism of showing Chaney as weak and perhaps not intended to make out as heroic. She too, gave her thumbs up and we both agreed that the directors could had portrayed this man tougher or perhaps fearing. Maybe it was to not take away from Barry Pepper playing the role of gang leader Ned Pepper which Robert Duval played in the first make.

I found two scenes I personally wished where different. One is the scene of the medicine like man wearing the bear suit. It's a cool idea but seems to miss something until later making the audience laugh. The other is towards the end as one rides off on a horse doubled and passes an available horse. No Cowboy would leave a horse that he could switch out with but this is Hollywood. Plus what man would ever stab a horses thing to make it continue running.....unless you really wanted to shake up an audience in a manner and believe this would make a horse desiring to quit continue. It must have worked because when it occurs, you hear moans coming from those peering into the screen as they push back or flinch in the seats.

Money Talks: On Christmas day, the money makers at the box office openers was "Little Fockers" and "Tron the Legacy." True Grit trailed miles behind. Completing this first week, True Grit edges the Little Fockers and surpasses Tron by miles. I do not believe this is the best movie of 2010. However, it is the best Western this year and it is a must see picture. Anything to believe different because John Wayne once played the role of Rooster Cogburn would be doltish. I will state it should be one of the best five movies this year did see as we enter into 2011.

What matter most about seeing this movie was my company at the movies. I took my son and he not only loved the movie. He enjoyed the company of his Dad. He never ICON John Wayne and doesn't know him like I did growing up. He merely is the same age of the young Mattie Ross and said this was the best western movie he had every seen next to Dancing with Wolves....that tells me, it's a hit to the young and the old. FOUR STARS

1 comment:

  1. I was curious as to how the actor's dialects were decided upon. I suppose we have written dialect from that period and possibly recordings too. That aspect of the movie interested me, as did the period costume.
    This is the best western of 2010, but not the best movie of 2010. The acting and directing, however, were superb!
    I also could not get over riding right by a perfectly good horse at the end of the movie!
    I have never seen the entire original True Grit, I'm not your biggest John Wayne fan, and if I were choosing my favorite John Wayne movie, I think it would have to be The Cowboys.
    We enjoyed the movie and will look forward to seeing it again when it comes to TV!