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Old November 28 2010, 07:55 AM   #820
Too Much Fun
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I watched "True Grit". Finally, finally, FINALLY a western I can get behind, after being disappointed by so-called classics "The Searchers", "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly",, "Unforgiven", and "The Wild Bunch". I loved John Wayne in this movie, but I understand this is more of a culmination of his performances rather than one of his 'vintage' performances, so I'm keen to see some of his earlier work now. I'm not sure which to go for, though. I didn't like "The Searchers" and Jimmy Stewart irritates me, so I'm not sure about "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

I have mixed feelings about the "True Grit" remake now. If nothing else, I'm glad it exists because it compelled me to watch this movie (I admire the Coens, so I had to see what inspired them to adapt it), but I don't know if I want to see another version of the same story. I think it was almost perfect the way it was done in '69 and the role of Cogburn was so beautifully played by John Wayne, I'm not sure I want to see someone else play it (even someone as rad as Jeff Bridges). The scenery and action in "True Grit" was amazing. I'm not sure if I'm up for a darker, more bleak interpretation. I loved the brightness and beauty of nature in the movie, which fit surprisingly well in a flick about a quest for revenge. It was also fun to see Dennis Hopper in a small, but early role as a wild-eyed, panic-y, easily intimidated thug.

On the other hand, some of the actors and characters in the movie were inconsistent and a bit underdeveloped. The girl was annoying at times, but mostly good. I'm sure Matt Damon and Josh Brolin will be huge improvements in their respective roles, and based on the trailer, it looks like the girl playing Mattie will probably bring some welcome additional toughness to her character.

If there's anyone else here who loves the original, how do you feel about the remake? I can see where some characters might be better fleshed out and played more solidly in a modern re-telling, but Wayne was so brilliant and iconic in his role and the direction, cinematography, and smoothness in the writing of the original make me ambivalent about "True Grit" 2010.
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