Wednesday, December 29, 2010

True Grit

I was the least motivated to see this movie, even in my very excited state of "Oscar homework." I am so glad that I saw it. My lack of enthusiasm may have stemmed from my childhood dislike of Westerns. My dad loves Westerns, in particular John Wayne. After having no choice but to watch them as a kid, it is a genre I shy away from. In preparation however, I watched the 1969 John Wayne original. I was familiar with the images and some of the dialogue but since my viewings were under protest, I never really watched it. Right from the start, in the Coen brother's version, even the opening music is better. The character of Mattie Ross is portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld in the Coen film. In the original, Kim Darby's Mattie, is ridiculously annoying. Tune out of the movie annoying. By that alone, the Coen Brothers version is so much stronger. Hailee's Mattie is tough, whip-smart and a character to root for.
The strength of the film continues with the actors efforts. I have to say, the Dude over the Duke. Several of Jeff Bridges' facial expressions are priceless and his presence in the role is phenomenal. John Wayne won his only Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn. It is my opinion that the Academy was looking to award him for his career, not this particular role.

Matt Damon is also notably excellent as Texas Ranger LaBouf (pronounced Le Beef), a fully developed character who often provides the humor. The overall tone of the film, is very entertaining. The original is humorless. The cinematography and editing enhance and strengthen the picture. The song featured over the film's closing credits, is just as awful as the opening song of the original. That aside, True Grit 2010 is an entertaining, well-done, evenly paced movie. While I might not have seen it otherwise, I'm happy to have it checked off my list.

Entertainment Weekly's "The Oscar Race is On!" Issue comes out Friday, one cover with Natalie Portman and one with James Franco. I think this may be the first year that I can guess most of the "25 movies to see before Oscar night" list and have seen more upon publication than ever before. In fact, here's my list:
1) The Social Network
2) The King's Speech
3) True Grit
4) The Fighter
5) Black Swan
6) Inception
7) The Town
8) The Kids Are Alright
9) Toy Story 3
10) 127 Hours
11) Winter's Bone
12) Rabbit Hole
13) Another Year
14) Get Low
15) The Ghost Writer
16) Blue Valentine
17) Biutiful
18) Waiting for Superman
19) Conviction
20) Animal Kingdom
21) Made in Dagenham
22) How to Train Your Dragon
23) Tron: Legacy
24) Alice in Wonderland
25) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The last few may surprise you, but the Art and Technical awards tend to honor the more popular and well done films in the special effects categories. I've seen 8/25 as I type. By Saturday, 10 out of 25 and come January 11th when the Social Network is on DVD, I'll be at least at 12/25. After the nominations come out, I cease using the ew list and just go straight for the ballot. Hope my excitement spreads! I'm not usually this enthralled until early February. My hope is that this makes it easier to see the ones that are more difficult to track down and easier to see the movies I have trouble being motivated to watch.


  1. I got 20/25 right! Honestly, a list of 15 would suffice.

  2. Why is this blog now showing up in some crazy font??? It's like Wingdings or something!!! Weird!