I am waaay behind on my chick flick viewing this month. I was finally able to get out to the movie theater this week. I intended to see Black Swan or The Tourist or even Tangled. My favorite movie theater is located in one of the biggest and busiest shopping malls in town. So for the past two weeks, the North Park was so crowded with Christmas shoppers, it was almost impossible for me to even approach the parking lot without a major elevation in my stress level.
It is not a few days after Christmas and the mall is still crowd. Apparently, they were all headed to the movies too. Everything I wanted to see was sold out. Well, I here now, give me a ticket to True Grit. I am not usually a fan of Westerns. I am however a fan of the movies of Joel and Ethan Coen. I got more than I expected with True Grit.
True Grit is a Chick Flick
You wouldn’t know it from the movies trailers airing on TV for True Grit, but the story is told by and from the viewpoint of a young girl, which in my book makes True Grit a chick flick.
Mattie Ross, played to perfection by young Hailee Steinfeld. Mattie is a 14-year old, no-nonsense kind of girl, who is out to avenge the murder of her father. Mattie, the plain talking, fearless girl from Yell County comes to town to take care of her slain father’s affairs. After some shrewd horse dealing, Mattie hires the pistol happy, drunken, one-eye Marshall Reuben (Rooster) Cogburn to track down Tom Chaney for the murder of her father.
Mattie insists on accompanying Rooster on his journey to ensure he doesn’t drink up her money. Along the way, they are joined by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf, played by Matt Damon. LaBoeuf is also in pursuit of Tom Chaney for a murder in Austin, Texas. Along the way, Mattie and Rooster meet danger from outlaws and the elements (snake warning!!!), but Mattie Ross’ single minded pursuit of Tom Chaney pushed her to grow up show her ‘true grit’.
The cast is well matched. Jeff Bridges is at his gruff, fat sloppy best as Rooster Cogburn. I was very impressed by Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. She holds her own alongside a cast of Oscar-winning actors. Barry Pepper is almost unrecognizable and in sore need of dentistry as Lucky Ned Pepper and Josh Brolin, who also starred in the Coen Brother Oscar-winning No Company for Old Men makes an appearance as the murderer, Tom Chaney.
The Road to Perdition
In 1969 John Wayne, Glenn Campbell and Kim Darby starred in True Grit. The Coen brothers have remade True Grit based on the original novel by Charles Portis. Comparisons will of course be made, but they are two very different movies. Where John Wayne’s version was essentially a comedy-adventure, the Coen Brother’s version is more of an adventure movie. There are many funny scenes in the Coen Brother’s True Grit, mainly provided by the interaction between Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn and Matt Damon’s character, LaBoeuf. With stark snowy, winter landscapes, a blunt and antiquated style of speaking and the Coen’s Brothers’ typical style of un-romanticized violence, True Grit often reminded me of Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition. But unlike Michael Sullivan, Mattie is wants justice for her father’s murder, while Sullivan wants revenge.
Like most of the Coen Brothers’ movies, they are an acquired taste. You either love them or you hate them. I love them. They create their own world and populate it with quirky characters and inane and quotable dialogue, which attracts wonderful actors like George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Intolerable Cruelty), Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona) and Jeff Bridges (True Grit, The Big Lebowski).
Have you seen the 1969 John Wayne version of True Grit? How would you compare it to this remake? Talk to me people? Let me know what you thought of True Grit.
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