Saturday, January 01, 2011

Tears at True Grit?

True Grit, brought tears to my eyes.

Reading that there was a re-make of the John Wayne movie, I was skeptical and decided I didn’t want to see the 2011 version.

Hearing that Jeff Bridges was staring as Rooster Cogburn made me hedge – realizing the Coen brothers were producing the film, pushed me over the edge. I saw it on the eve of New Year’s Day.

Bridges, was, well, Bridges – that’s why I went to see the original, to see John Wayne be John Wayne – and Bridges did not disappoint, he played himself, extremely well.

Matt Damon gave a great new interpretation to his role as Texas Ranger Laboeuf. Good thing, Glen Campbell almost ruined the original. Fortunately for the moviegoers, Campbell never did another movie. And Damon did nothing to diminish his excellent career.

Haliee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross gave a stellar début performance – she may have actually up-staged her more experienced co-stars. The chemistry between the three actors produced timely “western” humor and as artists, they created a believable story that was well worth the time and money.

The Coen brothers kept to the story and did nothing but enhance the “old western feel.” The movie had that “Unforgiven,” Clint Eastwood, touch going – nice. Using hymns as the soundtrack had its desired effect. However, the scene with Cogburn carrying Mattie on Little Blacky was hooky; sorry guys, you blew that one. Sometimes, you have to “fill your hands you Son-of-a-bitch,” and just shoot the scene without telling a story.

I would see the film again – I own the original, I’ll probably own a copy of the Coen brother’s version.

Admittedly, I was probably the only person in the theater with tears in their eyes at the end, or any other time for that matter. And, truthfully, it probably had nothing to do with the movie itself.

John Wayne was my grandfather’s “guy.” And True Grit was his movie. We watched it together dozens of times. He died twenty years ago this month. Watching Mattie Ross stand at the foot of Rooster’s grave with “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” playing over the scene, well – it was the end of the year and a time for reflection. The tears were filled with good memories. Thank you Coens.

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