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"True Grit" remake by Coen Brothers


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#41 of 137 Chuck Mayer

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Posted December 24 2010 - 11:59 AM

Spectacular film. Completely worked for me. And I was struck at the finale how much the title refers to Mattie as much as Cogburn. Gorgeous, sparse, with brilliant dialogue and effortless performances.
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#42 of 137 Brett_M

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Posted December 25 2010 - 02:53 AM


Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer 

Spectacular film. Completely worked for me. And I was struck at the finale how much the title refers to Mattie as much as Cogburn.

Gorgeous, sparse, with brilliant dialogue and effortless performances.



My thoughts exactly.  

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#43 of 137 Steve...O

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Posted December 25 2010 - 01:06 PM

This is a fine movie, but having re-watched the original on TCM within the last week both my wife and I feel the Wayne version tops this remake.  Although there are some differences, many of the scenes and dialogue are the same or generally the same between the two versions.  I found myself thinking the lines before they were said.


Jeff Bridges delivers a strong performance, but in my opinion, Wayne is and always will be Rooster Cogburn.   This is why iconic films should not be remade; it is impossible to shake the image of the original especially when the original has a star with a larger than life screen presence.   The actress playing Mattie did an incredible job, and I hope appropriate recognition comes her way.   The villains are ok, but topping the likes of Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall is not easily done.


This is not to say people shouldn't see this; they should, but keep your expecations in check if you are familiar with the original.




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#44 of 137 Don Solosan

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Posted December 25 2010 - 02:46 PM

"This is why iconic films should not be remade; it is impossible to shake the image of the original especially when the original has a star with a larger than life screen presence."


But there's a whole generation that has no knowledge of John Wayne or the original movie, and are unlikely to find them, except by the sheerest of accidents.  If we follow your advice, classic stories will be lost/ignored/neglected.  This film not only gives new life to the book, but also to the original movie.



#45 of 137 Richard--W

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Posted December 25 2010 - 03:07 PM

I'm glad to hear someone speak up for the original.


Henry Hathaway was a consummate filmmaker and a leading director for over fifty years when he directed the first adaptation of True Grit near the end of his career in 1969. He was no slouch, and there is considerably more depth and nuance in his version than some people realize. Don't take it for granted just because John Wayne is in it, and don't overlook the fact that John Wayne works hard at creating a Rooster Cogburn audiences can believe in. He was a seriously good actor in a film filled with memorable performances by actors who really nail the characters in the novel.


I like the Coen brothers version very much. Like the original, it is substantial story-telling, superior filmmaking and a first-rate entertainment. It's an intelligent film and an intelligent western. In contrast, it shows up the remake of 3:10 to Yuma  and The Missing as the empty-headed trash those films are. I appreciate the Coen brothers fidelity to the novel. But scene after scene echoes the original version because they are essentially the same scenes, and the tone of the new version seems flat compared to the ebullience of the original. I think there are some missteps in tone and attitude here. That having been said, I urge everyone to give the new True Grit their support. In a way, it makes one appreciate the accomplishments of the original even more.


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#46 of 137 PatH

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Posted December 25 2010 - 06:14 PM

I'll drop in here.  Just saw again the original on TCM this week and will take a back seat to no one in my admiration for it.  That having been said, I liked the remake a tad better,  It was, of course, truer to the book. though Wayne's wasn't that far off.  Even so, Wayne's version had two principal problems: blatant miscasting and, in a way, John Wayne himself.  I'd best explain or I risk a deluge of insult from uncritical Wayne fans.  Firstly, Glen Campbell is no more LaBeef (I use the phonetic spelling} than am I and if TCM is correct that Wayne himself chose him, then it was, charitably, an off day.  Clint Eastwood would have been far better but he might have detracted from The Duke.

Now we come to Wayne himself.  He was a good choice for Cogburn no argument.  But by that point in his career he was such an icon that there were certain expectations of a John Wayne Picture and once he became attached to it, the script was probably tailored to meet those expectations, with the resulting shift of focus from Mattie Ross to Cogburn.  This didn't necessarily hurt the film, but gave us Cogburn after Cheney with Ross and LaBeef along for the ride.These things happen in Hollywood.  In introducing Meet Me In St. Louis on TCM, Robert Osborne said that it was under development as a straight drama until Judy Garland became involved, whereupon it became a musical and, ultimately, a Classic.


I don't assign that value to the new True Grit . . . yet.  But I do agree with the intent of an earlier comment that this True Grit is the one this and subsequent generations will judge.  I don't believe Wayne's version is as inaccessible as the comment claims, but seeing it does require a little effort--unless one loves it from the get go and has it on his DVD shelves.Posted Image


Finally, I disagree with another comment that Classics shouldn't be remade.  But most remakes are trash and it takes talent and a reason (such as focusing the story as intended) to do it right.  I think the Coen Brothers succeeded admirably.  And I'll point out to anyone reading that the greatest version to date of the Maltese Falcon (Bogart's) is in fact the second remake.  Warner's owned the property and kept dusting it off until John Huston and his team got it right.  And John Wayne's Three Godfathers is itself a second remake.  So, approach remakes with a healthy lack of expectations but don't dismiss them altogether.  You may be doing yourself a disservice.


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#47 of 137 Don Solosan

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Posted December 25 2010 - 07:42 PM

" I don't believe Wayne's version is as inaccessible as the comment claims, but seeing it does require a little effort"


If you're referring to my comment, let me clarify:  the film isn't inaccessible so much as it is swamped in the multitude of entertainment choices the current generation has available to them.  Unless you've got the cinema bug, and happen to like Westerns, you might grow up having never heard of the original movie.  My Blockbuster, for instance, has only a small section devoted to classics, but they're more likely to have a copy of True Grit (John Wayne version) on the shelf now that the Coen Brothers remake is out.


It's interesting that Steve takes the position that "iconic" films should never be remade... and then he went to see the remake.  Want to guess why films get remade?




#48 of 137 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 25 2010 - 09:32 PM

This is a good film discussion.  I watched the BRD of the original on Tuesday followed up by seeing the remake on Wednesday.  Since I'm a big John Wayne fan and have seen the original film several times over the years including during it's theatrical run, I was kind of worried when I first heard of this Coen remake.  I'm very pleased with this latest effort.  The Coens did a fine job.  With that said and even with Campbell's poor acting in the first one, there are certain points about the original that the remake hasn't approached in my opinion.   IMO, the original flushes out why Mattie would want Rooster buried in her family plot as I think it did a better job establishing what I call the "emotional bond" between those two individuals while displaying some similarities in their personal makeup which is why the term "True Grit" applies to both of them.  Rooster recognized the former when he mentions how Mattie reminds him of himself and his willingness to place a certain bet on Mattie with lawyer Daggett.  Of course, neither scene is in the remake.  Anyhow, I really like this film and will be seeing it again tomorrow with a friend of mine.


By the way, 3 Godfathers has been remade at least 4 times prior to the 1948 version.  I have two of those earlier versions on DVD from Warner and there have been some earlier silent versions too including one directed by John Ford and starring Harry Carey Sr.




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#49 of 137 Ken Chan

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Posted December 26 2010 - 07:29 AM

Was that JK Simmons doing the voice-over as Mattie's lawyer?



#50 of 137 Bryan^H

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Posted December 26 2010 - 08:22 AM



Originally Posted by Steve...O 

    This is why iconic films should not be remade; it is impossible to shake the image of the original especially when the original has a star with a larger than life screen presence.   The actress playing Mattie did an incredible job, and I hope appropriate recognition comes her way.   The villains are ok, but topping the likes of Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall is not easily done.

 


I have no problem with a remake if it is done properly.  The original True Grit was a good western.  Kim Darby(Mattie) was a little irritating at times, and I thought this new young lady did a better job.  Not to say one is better than the other, but when a remake is done very well then it's like comparing apples to oranges.  Here is a good example:  The classic Planet of the Apes film.  The original with Heston was a masterpiece, and basically the common denominator of pop culture.  Tim Burton's remake was a tragic mess.  Now let's say a master of pop culture (Quinton Tarantino) did a remake with Brad Pitt as Taylor, and Gene Hackman as Zaius....that could be brilliant, or equally as good as the original.


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#51 of 137 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 26 2010 - 09:48 AM



Originally Posted by Bryan^H 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve...O 

    This is why iconic films should not be remade; it is impossible to shake the image of the original especially when the original has a star with a larger than life screen presence.   The actress playing Mattie did an incredible job, and I hope appropriate recognition comes her way.   The villains are ok, but topping the likes of Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall is not easily done.

 


I have no problem with a remake if it is done properly.  The original True Grit was a good western.  Kim Darby(Mattie) was a little irritating at times, and I thought this new young lady did a better job.  Not to say one is better than the other, but when a remake is done very well then it's like comparing apples to oranges.  Here is a good example:  The classic Planet of the Apes film.  The original with Heston was a masterpiece, and basically the common denominator of pop culture.  Tim Burton's remake was a tragic mess.  Now let's say a master of pop culture (Quinton Tarantino) did a remake with Brad Pitt as Taylor, and Gene Hackman as Zaius....that could be brilliant, or equally as good as the original.


I think you're selling Kim Darby a little short as her confrontations with Rooster were quite good.







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#52 of 137 Don Solosan

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Posted December 26 2010 - 10:08 AM

Yes, irritating is a necessary component of the character.  If you found her irritating, then the actress has done a good job.


#53 of 137 Bryan^H

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Posted December 26 2010 - 11:22 AM

It's been a few years since I have watched the original. I know a lot of people didn't care the actor that portrayed LeBeouf in the original. I thought he did fine. I also know that the original film had a better ending (better closure). And if I remember, the original had some beautiful scenery with the mountains and all. All in all it's a win/win situation. I plan on buying the original on BD, and the remake when its released.


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#54 of 137 Steve...O

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Posted December 26 2010 - 11:40 AM

I agree with the comment that this has been a good discussion; I've enjoyed reading and thinking about all the viewpoints presented.

To expand on my opinion that iconic films should not be remade, I'm not against remakes in general.  There are many movies that could be improved upon.  What does bother me is when a film reaches landmark status and a remake generally follows the original.  What has the remake added to the equation?   I will give the 2010 True Grit credit for taking a different approach to the LeBeouf character.  But aside from that and a handful of other scenes a lot of the dialogue approximated the original.  I'd rather see Hollywood tackle new stories and adaptations rather than covering ground that's already been done before.

For example, Hammett's "Maltese Falcon" was made into a movie twice in the 30s. Both versions are entertaining in their own way but both are also largely forgettable.  John Huston saw an opportunity to remake the film with a better script and set of actors and ended up producing what I think is one of the best movies ever made.  This is a case where a remake was appropriate and successful.  Could somone now remake Falcon as a big budget production and include material from the book not in the Huston version?  Sure, but what's the point?

No disrespect is intended towards the 2010 True Grit.  It is a fine and highly entertaining film with a star making performance by the young actress playing Mattie.  It will not disappoint anyone who watches it and the producers deserve kudos for a beautiful looking film.  However, in my view, it doesn't sufficiently differentiate itself from the original to make it a lasting alternative to the telling of the story of Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn.


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#55 of 137 Brook K

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Posted December 26 2010 - 03:36 PM

 I really needed something like that (and not necessarily crying) to show how she feels about having to do the job that she hired Rooster for.


While we don't get this directly, I think we do get it ultimately in the final scene where she tells us she never married and didn't see the need to fool with such things (or something along those lines). Seeing so much death at such a young age, and taking part in it herself, has dulled her ability to trust, take comfort from, and seek companionship with a partner in life. Perhaps it has dulled her sexually as well. Or perhaps she now feels that no man could take care of her as well as she could herself. I've never read the book or viewed the original, but I definitely came away feeling that her life had been forever changed by her father's death and her pursuit of vengeance.


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#56 of 137 Don Solosan

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Posted December 26 2010 - 03:47 PM

"Seeing so much death at such a young age, and taking part in it herself, has dulled her ability to trust, take comfort from, and seek companionship with a partner in life."


This may be so, but it's kind of odd since the movie seems to be presenting Rooster as a sort of surrogate father (the shot of his coffin getting loaded on the train mirrors an earlier shot of Mr. Ross's coffin being loaded).  So on one hand she has made an important friend through this adventure at the same time it is preventing her from making other friends... odd...



#57 of 137 Michael Elliott

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Posted December 26 2010 - 04:58 PM

I'll go back and read this thread after I post but I watched the original film around midnight last night and then went to see the remake about twenty-hours later.

I must admit that I really don't understand people calling the 1969 film iconic.  Perhaps the sight of Wayne in the role is iconic but I still found the film itself to be extremely flawed with various issues including everything leading up to the eventual journey.  I don't understand some of the praise those anti-remake folks are putting on the movie because I can think of at least twenty films from John Wayne that are better than this one.


With that said, I really don't see what special things people are seeing in the remake.  I think it's a good, three-star film but best picture of the year?  Not even close.  I love Jeff Bridges but I really thought the Rooster character here was rather weak.  I'm really not sure what we're suppose to think of him and I never really saw any great Marshall.  Perhaps it was just Wayne but when you first see Rooster in the original you feel as if you're seeing someone special.  I didn't feel that here.  The voice and everything else just seemed like a gimmick.  I thought Steinfeld was wonderful and clearly stole the film.  Damon was ok but the screenplay didn't do him any favors.  I'm really not sure why Brolin would take this part as I thought it was horribly written and none of the villains were given enough time for us to hate them.  Of course, the original had the benefit of us seeing Duvall and Hopper in good parts.


Perhaps I was wrong watching both films in less than a 24-hour period.  I personally found both movies to be good but neither are classics IMO.  I think the remake is disappointing because I thought there was so much material in the original that could have been improved upon but it wasn't.  After I turned off the 1969 version I said to myself there are so many things that could be changed and made to work but sadly the remake didn't do them.  It's a good movie but not one I need to see again.


#58 of 137 Robert Crawford

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Posted December 26 2010 - 05:05 PM

And now it begins......





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#59 of 137 Michael Elliott

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Posted December 26 2010 - 05:27 PM



Originally Posted by Robert Crawford 

And now it begins......





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#60 of 137 JonZ

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Posted December 26 2010 - 05:32 PM



Originally Posted by Bryan^H 

I think this beats "The Unforgiven" .



I've had a bit of time to process it now, and I think this is where I have my problem with the film.


Unforgiven dealt with regret, remorse, grief, etc and I would have liked a bit more of that here. Having never seen the original, it was what I was expecting since the Coen Bros films so often give you something to think about.


I was hoping for something that deals with the psychological aspects of revenge.


I dont want to give the impression that I didnt like the film. On the contrary, I liked it alot. But the ending seems a bit rushed and I was expecting a bit more brain food.







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