Thursday, December 23, 2010

The new True Grit

First off, no it's not as good as the original. In some ways it's better. I love John Wayne, and the role of Rooster Cogburn seemed made for him. While I like his lighter, more smart-ass portrayal of Rooster Cogburn, Jeff Bridges is wonderful as the grizzled, worn down, and very flawed US Marshal. As much as I think Matt Damon is a pompous ass hat, comparing his acting ability to that of Glen Campbell's is like comparing LeBron James to me on the basketball court. The role of Mattie Ross is a toss up, I like Kim Darby's spunk in the original, but Hailee Steinfeld's intensity and drive brings new depth to the role.

The new True Grit is darker, dirtier, rougher, more authentic and grittier; definitely a Coen brothers film. There are no back-lot production scenes, everything looks worn out, used up, rode hard and put away wet. You can easily imagine how bad Rooster Cogburn's room in the back of a Chinese market smells. Everyone in the movie, except Hailee Steinfeld, looks like they were dragged face down through a sage brush patch; very real and in desperate need of professional dentistry.

The new film leaves out some familiar scenes, including the final cemetery scene, but replaces them with something even better. It's not as neatly wrapped up as the original, but this is the Coen brothers, and the ending does come full circle.

I really can't say that I like one over the other, although I am so much more familiar with the 1969 version. The new one is, well, it's new. It's kind of like getting a new dog that replaced and old favorite. All you remember are the great times you had with the old dog, never the time he chewed up you new boots. It's easy to find some things in the new film you don't like about , but then again, I have fast-forwarded through the Glen Campbell scenes in the old one too.

Go see it, and keep in mind, the Duke will never be replaced, but I think he would like it.

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