Saturday, February 12, 2011

I am probably the odd man (women) out on this, but though I liked some of the new True Grit movie, as a whole I didn't like it, exactly why I can't quite put my finger on...

Perhaps it is because the 1969 version with John Wayne, Glen Campbell , Robert Duvall and Kim Darby as the short haired , fiesty Mattie Ross, is so ingrained in my consciousness, I found it hard to, well, watch Jeff Bridges try to be John Wayne. I think maybe the old 1969 version is also ingrained in his consciousness. His constant squinting, nervous ticks and growly voice was just a little bit too much for me and well he...wasn't John Wayne.

I have often asked the question on this blog- "Is anything sacred in Hollywood? Is there anything that they will just leave alone, but apparently not- when the well runs dry, when they seem to be out of new ideas, which it seems to be the case in Tinseltown, lately- I haven't post much on this blog the last couple of months because frankly there hasn't been really anything interesting to post! My hope is that spring and summer will bring some better movies then the winter has. But I digress- I think if there is a movie that should of been left alone, for sheer nostalgia, it would True Grit.

It is an odd thing when a movie version of a novel, in this case written by Charles Portis, back in 1968, first as a serial story in the Saturday Evening Post is less known in the American conscious then the movie adaptation. Because for me, not only will Rooster Cogburn always be John Wayne, LaBoeuf is Glen Campbell not Matt Damon and I like Matt Damon, but I didn't like him in this role- yes the guy can adapt himself to about any role, transforming his whole body image, but I just didn't like him I guess as a "Dandy" Texas Ranger.

Plus, in the 1969 True Grit, LeBoeuf dies, hit in the head, he is just able to help pull the snake bit Mattie and Rooster from the pit, but then falls off his horse dead, somehow in my book adding a bit more tension to the end of a tension building story- "I'll send a horse back for you," just really didn't help hold the tension.

Plus I don't think John Wayne would have raced pass a perfectly good horse standing where the shoot out had happened in the valley below- seems like in the true West, you never race past a perfectly good horse just standing there, you lead it along with you.

Which brings up a gripe I have had with the few Westerns that have been made of late, like 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Rule on of writing fiction is that you have to stick to the rules of the Universe you have created.

Bullet actually kill people or render them incapacitated. Bullets make you bleed and are painful. One does not jump up from being shot and ride a horse, run like they ain't wounded and fight the bad guy with no visible effects.

When Mattie goes down to the stream to get water, with a very large thick wooden bucket that my husband said must of been high tech collapsible, so it could fit into their very small saddle bags, and she runs into Tom Chaney, played by Josh Brolin, shoots him at close range with a big pistol and well, he hardly have any effect from it, other than a lot of whining.

And what is with the pit, a pit filled with snakes isn't exciting enough there has to be a skeleton with hidden snakes in it - gosh I think just a deep pit with the sounds of rattles coming from the darkness is scary enough, the whole skeleton seemed contrived and unnecessary.

Again I think I am the odd one out, not putting this movie up there and wishing after the older version. Perhaps if John Wayne had this script..... no.... that would not work either. Usually we can't go back and shouldn't, though right now Hollywood doesn't seem to be able to go forward and find some more movies that forty plus years later will twist with our consciousness like True Grit has.

One thing that is certain is we will be seening more of the very talented Haliee Steinfeld

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