Monday, January 3, 2011
Movie Monday -- True Grit (2010)
stopped by my blog on Saturday?!?!?! Wohoo!! New Year off to a great start so far -- yippee!!
Okay, so, over the Christmas/New Year's holidays, I got to take in a few movies. The King's Speech was one of them, which James Garcia, Jr. has blogged about today -- I don't know if I'll review it or not, but let me just say this -- GO.SEE.IT.
Was The King's Speech as good as Inception? Well, they're both very different movies, although they both contain personal struggles that we hope the heroes will overcome. Inception is over on Something Wicked This Way Comes -- Marissa and I did a joint review.
But back to the topic of this post, True Grit. I remember, a little over a year ago, when I visited Billy Bob's honky tonk joint in Forth Worth, Texas -- they were holding castings for Mattie Ross. I have to say I was a bit horrified that they were doing a re-make of True Grit, until someone pointed out somewhere that the John Wayne movie was based upon the book, True Grit by Charles Portis (1968). So, technically, it's not really a remake.
Okay, that was a bit of a long-winded way of saying that (1) I'm tired of remakes and (2) there is a novel, True Grit, which I recently read before I saw the 2010 movie and -- it's really good. The narrator, Mattie Ross, has quite a distinct voice, and much of the old-fashioned dialogue in the movie(s) was taken from the book -- nice to see them being authentic to the time period. It's also nice to see that there are books in which the "show don't tell" rule doesn't always apply -- whew! (I always have trouble with that rule!!).
So -- was True Grit, 2010, as awesome as I thought it would be? I have to be honest and say -- no. Was it terrible -- no. It was very good, but there were bits and pieces that were done differently from the book and the 1969 version which made it fall a bit short of my expectations.
Of course, I knew it would be vastly different from the 1969 version -- this is a Cohen brothers vehicle, and they're not known for cheery movies. Remember all the shots in the original in which the sun is shining? I don't think the sun came out once in this film! Not a bad thing, just different.
Things I liked:
Bridges did an excellent job as Cogburn. He had big shoes to fill, after all -- the original character was enhanced in the 1969 version as a vehicle for John Wayne to win an Oscar, which he did, so it would have been very difficult to take the role and make it one's own, but Bridges did that. The garbled way he spoke at times got on my nerves, but he made Cogburn into a three-dimensional person, a strong yet flawed human, a hero and a drunk, that couldn't have been very easy to do.
As a matter of fact, all the performances were good -- Damon brings the right amount of humor to his role, and Brolin played Chaney as the dirty coward he really was. Even Ned Pepper and his friend Moon -- I didn't recognize the actors who played them (in the 1969 version, it was Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper) but that didn't stop them from doing really good jobs. And the Cohen brothers did a good job with the first part of the movie, when Mattie arrives in town and tries to convince Rooster to go after the outlaw Chaney -- in the book, that part was loooong and slow -- entertaining -- but still, it was good to see them get through it well on the big screen.
Finally, one of the things that thrills me about the 1969 version and this new version -- when Rooster takes the reins in his teeth, a six-shooter in each hand and charges at Ned Pepper's gang, four against his one. This is explained in the book and movie as "[y]ou go for a man hard enough and he don't have time to think about how many is with him, he thinks about himself and how he may get clear of the wrath that is about to set down on him."
I always thought the John Wayne scene was a bit cheesy, despite its awesomeness, and I have to say that the Cohen brothers and Bridges really took the cheesy out and turned it into something just full-on awesome!
So, True Grit 2010 -- best movie in 2010? Nope, but it's still a really really good rendition of "how [Mattie Ross] avenged Frank Ross's blood over in the Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground."