Friday, December 31, 2010

True Grit

The Film: True Grit

The Actors: That Jeff Bridges fella, Haillie Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, etc.

The Dealio: Stepping into John Wayne's venerable boots, Jeff Bridges portrays Ruben 'Rooster' Cogburn, a dipsomaniacal, eye-patch-wearin' law man, hired by Steinfeld's Mattie Ross to find the man, (Brolin's Tom Chaney), who kilt her daddy. Damon is put forward in what is widely referred to as 'the Glen Campbell role' (though, thankfully, Damon is not required to sing), Texas ranger LaBoeuf- or La Beef, as he prefers. Trotting through Indian territory, this trio of constantly bickering rugged individuals parts ways, makes up and rejoins the hunt and, along the way, learn that how they feel about the bigger issues in life are more alike than not- although their individual methods of pursuing their goals could not be more different. Each also discovers more than they probably cared to about what it takes to survive in the rough and tumble, and then, to go home and live, at peace, with what they had to do to earn that survival.

The Grading Session: Well, if you are looking for a head-to-head taste test of this version against the original, you are bound to be disappointed. I did not see the original, and could not get past the Glen Campbell part when I got it from On Demand. So- for this version, and strictly as a stand alone: 4.81 pengies out of 5. In my book, you just can not get any better than Jeff Bridges, who, most assuredly, will not score a statuette for playing a drunken cowboy two years in a row. But he surely was great. Haillee Steinfeld made a staunch, sassy and somehow, very modern Mattie Ross and was a delight to watch. Hope to see more of her. Damon is always reliable and puts a dandyish, pompous and yet, touchingly vulnerable spin on his officious and vain Texas ranger character. If there were some fractions of points deducted, this was probably because Brolin's Chaney did not make any sense, and remained a blank slate throughout the flick. That, plus the fact that Prendie claims there would not have been enough time to reload a gun in a certain scene. And who would know better than he? So...debit there, Coens. But, otherwise, loved this movie.

Lessons Learned: Hire someone who knows arms to counsel you when you make a movie involving these, so that you can get it right. Also- man! do Barry Pepper and Josh Brolin have horrible teeth! Here's hoping this was effect. Lastly: when have the supreme efforts of two (single) cowpokes ever been a match for one wily, determined 14 year old girl whose mind is made up on something she feels she simply has to do? Well...that'd be, like, never.

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