December 20, 2010
Since we're about 40 hours out from the opening of the new True Grit, let's take one last look before you go take a look:
As one of the critics, who has seen it, remarked: it's the least ironic of all the Coen brothers' movies. Being a fan of The Big Lebowski, Fargo and No Country For Old Men (okay, two thirds of it), I think this played into my expectations. I was expecting more Dude and less Duke.
An Echo of The Dude Abiding?
And speaking of the Dude and the Duke, here's Jeff Bridges, who plays Rooster Cogburn in the new version, on whether he's intimidated by stepping into the Duke's boots: "The Coen brothers wanted me, man. Come on, I'm there, man."
And he hates the Eagles, man. The group, not the huge bird. Man.
Still, it's a straight up Western with no apologies. Yes, Jeff Bridges mumbles a couple lines, but for the most part I understood everything he said and he is a hoot. And Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger (his name is pronounced La Beef, in the new version) is a mile and a half better than Glen Campbell, but then, who wouldn't be?
One final nitpick: the big, quarter horses used in the film unfortunately puts a modern squat on the scenery. That is a later development, along with hereford cattle and to the trained eye, just grates on me. For an example of someone who got this right, look no farther than Tommy Lee Jones' Hell Bitch in Lonesome Dove. Jones brought one of his polo ponies for that ride, and it was totally right on for illustrating the kind of horses actually ridden in the Old West.
As advertised, this is a movie you can take grandma to, and you have to admit, she would probably be a bit confused by A Serious Man, or Barton Fink. Ha.
One classic exchange is preserved:
Rooster: "I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned, or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?"
Ned: "I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man."
Rooster: "Fill your hand, you son-of-a-bitch."