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True Grit

A movie directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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"And you will know my name is THE DUDE, when I lay my vengance upon thee!!"

  • Dec 23, 2010
Or should that be "The DUKE" now?

He sleeps in the back of a Chinese Grocery, he gets so drunk he can't remember details during a trial and you'd be surprised that he can even ride his horse facing the right direction and risk looking like Dudley Do-Right but under that unshaven face with only one eye, those whiskey fueled synapses still fire and if you're on the wrong end of his Winchester, your a dead man.

The Coen's remake of the classic John Wayne Western is a head scratcher for sure.  The original True Grit is mainly remembered for being the movie that got John Wayne his Oscar, and some will argue it was a pity award for Wayne.  Even in Wayne's extensive catalog of films, it's not considered one of his best movies by even his fans.  Were the Coen's still in love with Westerns that they saw it an easy re-write or were they sadly getting lazy and showing signs of tired film makers?  Who knows.  The movie thankfully does hold water, er whiskey.

The story is largely the same with Maddie Ross a young girl of 14 looking to hire a lawman to find her father's killer, Tom Chaney and bring him to justice or shoot the bastard down.  Hearing who is available from the Marshal's service, the name Rooster Cogburn catches her ear for his reputation of being the roughest and toughest of the lot.  He's also something of a slovenly old drunk who you wonder hasn't been done in yet.  Maddie has made arrangements for money for Rooster to take on the assignment.  A Texas Ranger named LaBouef is tagging along as he has been on Tom Chaney's trail for a long time and wants to take him back to the Lone Star State, but with LaBouef's bravado and inability to catch his prey, his moniker of "Texas Ranger" only adds to his blowhard attitude.  Maddie remains stern about getting Chaney back to Fort Smith to hang.

The big question of this movie is does Jeff Bridges play Rooster Cogburn any better then The Duke.  Well, again I never saw the whole original film nor many other Wayne movies but lets say this.  What I know of The Duke is that his characters in every movie was more or less the same.  Here, Bridges plays the character the way I could believe the character would act, like a stumbling man full of booze who tells a tall tale but will ride tall in the saddle when the going gets tough.  It's more of Bridges acting a part that is different of his other roles then parroting Wayne's performance.  From the little I've seen of Kim Darby in the original, I much like Hallie Steinfeld in the role of Maddie Ross more.  She's not nearly as Tomboyish but has a stern attitude and determination to finish her mission.  She's gotten a taste of what the wildnerness and adventure has for her but is still stunned at some of the things she sees.

The one thing I loved most about the movie was arguably the costumes and set designs.  From Maddies thick dark heavy brown coat (which surprisingly drys very quickly), Rooster's dilapidated and stained hat, Fort Smith's dusty roads and old barns to the snow covered hills in the wilderness.  This is a great movie to look at.

How is the rest?  Well It's one of those cases where I wonder if I should have seen the whole original movie first to compare better.  I don't think so since the film should stand on it's own.  Was I expecting more?  Yeah maybe a little.  The film is a little slow to start and kinda paddles along till we get a shootout with Rooster and Chaney's gang.  It's almost like Apocalypse Now, we get a mission, we meet the players there's stops along the way until an action beat at the end.  It's the journey that ends up being the best part.

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December 23, 2010
Loved this movie, John and I have been waiting for your review since this morning! I have to say this stunned me as to how it improved from the original film. I loved it! Bridges rules! Hey, your title is way cooler than mine LOL! Thanks! I am happy now and I can rest. :)
December 23, 2010
If it makes you feel better, I did see the early show but couldn't write it till I got home. I would like to see the original film one day. Hey, your title is fine. I kept hearing "Vengance" and remembered Sam Jackson's line from Pulp Fiction and I started the review, put in the title and saved it for today. Thanks again.
More True Grit reviews
review by . December 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I have no idea how many times I have stated the rules for filming a movie that remakes an iconic original. Well, if you’re one of those folks who’ve never read any of my reviews before, they are quite simple: 1) It must broaden the scope that is covered by the original film while adapting it for a much more modern audience. 2) It must follow the essence and the spirit of the said material (in this case the book). 3) It should pay homage to the source material and/or the original film.   …
review by . December 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Our Christmas movie this year was True Grit, which we saw in the late show Christmas night just before the first Christmas snow in Raleigh in 60 years shut down the town.  We followed that up with a viewing (my first!) of the 1969 original starring John Wayne and Glenn Campbell.      I recently read and reviewed Charles Portis's novel, which I rated +5 for Mattie Ross's spare language of guarded emotion that tells us more about her than pages of florid description …
review by . January 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Nothing in this world is free… except the grace of God.
With that, the movie begins.      Let me say this about movies. It is neither my lifeblood nor life passion. It is simply one form of entertainments for me. And since I moved to China a few years ago, I barely need to pay much for it. Believe me, very little, hehe...      So, I got my fair share of movies. Some good, some darn lousy. I don’t normally waste time writing the lousy ones. To me, they are not even worth a minute of my life writing about …
review by . February 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     "True Grit" is the latest offering from the legendary geniuses that are the Coen Brothers, and upon finishing the film, I can't help but admit that I was indeed quite "wowed". I went into this film expecting no particularly big surprises; and left feeling provoked and shocked by just how different this film was; at least from what I expected it to be. But the second adaptation of "True Grit" is still a damn good one, and in a number of ways, I enjoy it …
review by . January 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen Brothers are not usually known for doing purely genre films.  There's usually a semblance of several genres mixed together when they do a film.  To see them do a purely western is something of a curiosity.  After all, there are reasons why a western, of all genres, might turn heads.  In the first place, it has been years since a fantastic western actually showed up in theaters (perhaps the last truly good one was the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma), but more than that... …
review by . February 08, 2011
Our Christmas movie this year was True Grit, which we saw in the late show Christmas night just before the first Christmas snow in Raleigh in 60 years shut down the town.  We followed that up with a viewing (my first!) of the 1969 original starring John Wayne and Glenn Campbell.      I recently read and reviewed Charles Portis's novel, which I rated +5 for Mattie Ross's spare language of guarded emotion that tells us more about her than pages of florid description …
review by . December 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   If you had asked me a month, maybe even a couple of weeks ago what my favorite film of the year was going to be, without hesitation I would have said Christopher Nolan’s Inception. I knew that Tron Legacy and True Grit were coming up, and I had a feeling that the latter had a good chance of making my top ten or even my top five, but I had no idea it had this great of a chance. In fact, it might just be giving Inception a good run for its money. This is one of my favorites of …
review by . December 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   The Western genre is a perennial of American cinema. Sometimes very popular, sometimes just sort of “there”, but never going away. In recent years we’ve seen Westerns like Unforgiven and 3:10 to Yuma, both of which are great examples of what the genre can do when it’s being worked by someone who really knows what they’re doing. Now to this list we can add True Grit, directed by the Coen Brothers. As with their other films, it’s not just a fine example …
review by . December 26, 2010
14-year-old Mattie Ross has come to Ft. Smith Arkansas sometime during the "old west" to hire a US Marshall to track and bring to justice the man who shot and killed her father. She hires the man she's been told has true grit, Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, a one-eyed drunk with a ferocious reputation. They set out for the Indian Territories, accompanied, to their chagrin, by the dandified Texas Ranger LeBoeuf. Along the way, they encounter some strange characters and engage in dangerous and bloody adventures. &nbs …
review by . December 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen Brothers know their way around a film. That much has been established over the years. And after a few films that were not seen by too many, they return to the West, but this time around with the clock set back a few years.      True Grit is based of the 1968 novel of the same name. And while it shares its source material with the 1969 film that won John Wayne his only Oscar, it would be unfair to call this a remake. Lost is the tone of the previous film, it loses …
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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True Grit is an upcoming 2010 Western film, written and directed by the Coen brothers and starring Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Matt Damon. The film is an adaptation of the 1968 novel by Charles Portis which was previously adapted for film in 1969. Filming began on March 2010 with an anticipated release date of December 25, 2010.
Bridges will play U.S. Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. The character was portrayed by John Wayne in the 1969 film, a performance which earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl, undertakes a quest to avenge her father's death at the hands of a drifter named Tom Chaney. Ross persuades an alcoholic marshal named Rooster Cogburn to join her in tracking down Chaney.
Ethan Coen said that the film will be a more faithful adaptation of the novel than the 1969 version.
“             It's partly a question of point-of-view. The book is entirely in the voice of the 14-year-old girl. That sort of tips the feeling of it over a certain way. I think [the book is] much funnier than the movie was so I think, unfortunately, they lost a lot of humour in both the situations and in her voice. It also ends differently than the movie did. You see the main character — the little girl — 25 years later when she's an adult. Another way in which it's a little bit different from the movie — and maybe this ...
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Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Western
Release Date: 22 December 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 110 min
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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