Movie review: True Grit

So another Tuesday night, and regular readers will know that is $5 movie night at the local Regal Theater.  True Grit looked like the only movie I was interested in, as I had heard good things about it.  This was pure self indulgence, in that I think I need to see something really bad in order to produce a truly funny review for you, my cherished reader.  That’s why next week I think I will see the Season of the Witch.  The suck is just oozing off the trailers for that one.

That being said, I expected this movie to be pretty good, and was not disappointed.  I actually read the book as a kid and liked it.  I don’t have a great love of Western stories  like I do kung fu, zombie, or science fiction, but I have an appreciation of it.  I also saw the original with John Wayne but don’t remember it much.

The story is of a young girl from Arkansas who’s father is killed by a hired hand.  She travels to the town of his death to avenge his death.  She hires a grizzly marshal named Rooster Cogburn who is a drunk with one eye.  Along the way they run into a Texas Ranger also after their man with the solitary name of Leboeuf.  The girl is super stubborn, which turns out to be her defining trait.  Horses get ridden, whiskey gets drunk, and guys with bad teeth get shot.

I enjoyed this movie a lot.  Watching Jeff Bridges play a grizzled drunken lout actually really helped wash his recent performance in Tron Legacy out of my mind a bit.  I think this is the first movie I have seen him in wherein he does not play the Dude, although he can’t seem to get away from movies that involve substance abuse.  Let’s get into the stars and black holes.

Stars first.  The story is good and as far as I can remember follows the book closely.  Two stars.  All the characters are both believable and pretty cool, especially Rooster, and the acting was good.  One star.  Everyone is armed.  One star.  They managed to avoid crowbaring in a romance story to appeal to the 15 year old girls.  One star.  None of the stars are particularly good looking, apparently believing that a good story and good acting negates the need for eye candy.  One star.  In a big F you to current American culture and our mediocre school system the language is very formal and authentic, not “modernized” for the morons.  One star.  The story and character motivations are clear and understood.  One star.  It’s a cowboy story.  One star.  The action is both cool and and frequent without being forced.  One star.  They did not try to hide any of the old West racism (the one black guy was a servant, the one Native American with a line was more or less abused).  One star.  Total: eleven stars.

Now black holes.  The girl’s stubbornness gets old after a while.  One black hole.  They do that movie thing where they keep talking about how ugly she is when she is kind of cute in a young Melissa Gilbert-Laura Ingalls sort of way.  One black hole.  The characterization of the head of the outlaw gang the villain joined up with, Lucky Ned Pepper, seems to drift from outlaw rogue poet to psychotic dirtbag.  One black hole.  For all the opportunity out in the open for really amazing shooting and cinematography, the photography  seemed kind of up close and less than panographic.  Honestly, bad cowboys-verses-ninjas movie the Warriors Way did better.  One black hole.  Total: five black holes.

Net total: six stars.  A very good score.  I would highly recommend this movie to anyone.  However, given the week photography I don’t know if there is a massive motivation to see it on a big screen.  If you are OK waiting for it to come out on DvD just NetFlix it.  I would put it in my top ten Western films along with Tombstone and Unforgiven, but honestly I don’t know if I have watched enough cowboy movies to really make that kind of assessment.  If any of you have suggestions on movies I should see to help me round out my Western experience I am open to them (or, if you want, find some movies that sound Western but are actually really horribly bad as a joke on me, I would do it.  Should be good for a laugh) I’ll try to track them down.

By the way, I warn you now that tonight is Bad Movie Night at my friend Brian’s house and he is planning on showing both Highlander 2: The Quickening AND the original 500 Years Ago on Planet Zeist.  I have seen the first and regretted it but if the second is as bad as it sounds I might have to do one of my bile enhanced bad reviews tomorrow.

Still working on the Solomon Grundy/Deadpool question.  For today I would ask who would win: Dwight Shrute from the Office versus Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters (Shrute Farms image courtesy of the TV show t shirts category).

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