“Why a True Grit remake?”
I just got off the phone with my kid sister. We only talked for about 30 minutes, ‘cause I had to come up here to kick off our discussion. Y’all don’t wait well. I told Jill as much. She said she’d finish griping to me later. The girl has some issues.
One thing that was majorly upsetting her was “True Grit.” The new one. Kay and I saw it a week after it came out. I told Jill that it wasn’t nearly as good as the John Wayne version, but she still oughtta see it.
I told her that the dialog was pretty much the same, but the Coen Brothers version supposedly stuck closer to the book. I’d have to read the book to know if that’s true, and that’s not gonna happen.
The John Wayne “True Grit” was one of my favorite movies. You take Glen Campbell out of the thing and it’s one of the greatest Westerns ever made. Which begs the question: Why make another?
One would think it best to remake something that came out really bad. “The Beast of Yucca Flats” or “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” Those could only get better. But True Grit?
My Dad once told me, “Mark, I warned you not to stick that to your face. Now, you’re just gonna hafta go to church like that.” But, on another occasion he actually said something almost pertinent. He said, “Mark, try not to make good bad or bad worse.”
At the time, I wish he had given an example, ‘cause it just hung there. Later, I learned to appreciate his words. Haven’t been able to do a thing with ‘em, but I appreciate ‘em.
Had Dad been able to pass his sage advice on to the Coen brothers, I’m sure they would’ve still made “True Grit.” So, I don’t know why I even brought it up.
My over all view of the new Grit movie contains no malice towards anyone. Jill’s view, on the other hand, was ripe with that malice stuff. Jeff Bridges was a terrible Rooster. Delivered a deep snarl through the entire shoot. “I can’t help ya, son.” If Jill hears that fake Southern drawl one more time, she’s gonna punch something really hard. I’d steer clear of her till all the commercials are off the air.
“Well, Baby Sister, come see a fat old man.” The line wasn’t even in the new movie. And, Rooster didn’t jump his horse over a four rail fence. In fact the entire scene at the end of the original movie was replaced with something just a whole lot less satisfying. I’m sure it went hand in hand with the book, but who cares? Jill sure doesn’t.
And, Strother Martin? Nobody will ever be able to deliver a line like that guy. – “I will pay a total of two hundred dollars to your father's estate when I have in my hand a letter absolving me of all liability from the beginning of the world to date!”
In the remake, the actor playing Martin’s role did a fair job, but he certainly did not come close to matching Martin’s delivery. In fact, Jill doesn’t think any of the actors were an improvement over the original cast. Oh, except for Matt Damon. Damon didn’t erase the image of Glen Campbell from my mind, but did blur it a bit.
Granted, Campbell’s character, Ranger LaBoeuf, had some tough dialog -- “A little earlier I gave some thought to stealin' a kiss from you, although you are very young...” – but Damon managed to pull it off. I had to close my eyes during Campbell’s scenes. Don’t care to talk further about it.
I told Jill that the dialog for “True Grit” was supposed to be very close to the way people talked and wrote back then. I read/heard that back in the “olden” days, most people learned how to read from the King James Version of the Bible. So, they were naturally influenced by old English speech, as is evidence from some of the letters written during the period of the Old West. I don’t think Jill believed that any more than I did, but it sounds feasible as all get out.
Some of the toughest dialog in “True Grit” belonged to Mattie Ross. Jill thought that Kim Darby did a far superior job than Hailee Steinfeld, the younger Mattie. I don’t agree with that, but I didn’t tell Jill.
To bluntly sum up, I’d have to say that Jill believes that the newer Grit movie had poorer acting, more horrible and bleak scenery, and a stinking ending. Oh, and some of the best parts were left out.
During a lull in Jill’s venting, I asked how the popcorn was. The big reason I go to the movie is for the popcorn. If I could pop corn like the theatres, I’d watch all movies in my living room.
Jill said she didn’t get any popcorn this time, ‘cause she’s trying to cut down. Didn’t get any popcorn? “Never trust a review from a critic who didn’t get any popcorn.” My dad was a real sayer of sooths.
Of course, I saw the movie, and do agree with many of Jill’s assessments. Oh, and so does Dennis. My big brother called yesterday to ask me the name of the deputy in the old TV series “The Lawman.” The thoughts that capture Dennis have no parameters.
That bit of trivia sparked a discussion of other Westerns, which eventually brought us around to the topic of “True Grit.” Dennis didn’t like the remake one bit. And, get this, he not only got the large popcorn, but he got a refill. His review should definitely hold up.
So, if you haven’t seen the new “True Grit” you need to go, just so we can meet on the roof some day and compare notes. We’ll have to settle for microwave popcorn. Orville can call it “Movie Popcorn” all he wants, but it’s not even close… and yes, I know he’s dead.
I don’t know what slight of hand the theatre corn popping people perform, but I sure wish I did. Whatever they do has cost me a small fortune. – Oh and I almost forgot. The deputy was Peter Brown. Hey, I know my Westerns.
To see Mark and Brad’s restaurant review of Russo’s in The Woodlands, click here: Russo's
You can reach Mark at email@example.com.