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John Drew

True Grit (2011) by The Coen Brothers

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I posted this bit of info in our Ridiculous Remakes thread about 6 months ago, and now that casting rumors have begun, I thought I would start an actual thread.

The Coen Brothers are set to remake True Grit, although keeping their film closer to the actual book. I've never read the book, mainly because the original film has never inspired me to pick it up. I not a big fan of the John Wayne film... everyone either overacts (Wayne), acts stiff as a board (Kim Darby), or flat out can't act (Glen Campbell). Only the villains come off smelling like a rose.

This morning, Variety announced that Jeff Bridges is in discussions to play Rooster Cogburn.

Story here.


Moderators - Hmmmmm.... I hit "New Topic" while in the District 9 thread in the Film Forum, yet this posted in the Film Awards, Festivals, & Lists forum. Could someone move this to the proper forum? Thanks!

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Moderators - Hmmmmm.... I hit "New Topic" while in the District 9 thread in the Film Forum, yet this posted in the Film Awards, Festivals, & Lists forum. Could someone move this to the proper forum? Thanks!

Done.

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Damon, Brolin Have "True Grit" for Coens

Matt Damon and Josh Brolin are in discussions with Joel and Ethan Coen to join Jeff Bridges in “True Grit,” the re-imagining of the iconic 1969 Western that Paramount Pictures will put into production next March for late 2010 release.

The Coens, who previously attached their “Big Lebowski” star Bridges to play U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn, are in talks with Damon to play the lawman (played by Glen Campbell in the original) who teams with Cogburn and a 14-year old girl to track her father’s killer into hostile Indian territory.

In a turnabout, Brolin is in talks to play the killer. The actor’s recent rise was greatly helped playing the good guy in the Coens' Oscar-winning contemporary Western “No Country for Old Men.” Jeff Corey played the killer in the original, and Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper also played outlaws.

They haven't yet cast the young girl. . . .

Variety, October 26

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Great cast. I can't wait for this. I don't care much for the original; it's hardly one of Wayne's better Westerns. But I can easily imagine the Coens taking the same story and creating something truly remarkable.

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it's hardly one of Wayne's better Westerns.

It isn't? It was his only Oscar winning role. That generally doesn't mean much, but Rooster Cogburn is easily his best role.

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it's hardly one of Wayne's better Westerns.

It isn't? It was his only Oscar winning role. That generally doesn't mean much, but Rooster Cogburn is easily his best role.

Hardly. His best role and best performance was Ethan Edwards in John Ford's THE SEARCHERS. But regardless of Wayne's performance as Cogburn, TRUE GRIT fails to impress or entertain to any real degree. It's not on the level of something like THE SEARCHERS or THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, or even EL DORADO or RIO BRAVO. It's a middle-of-the-road Western that happens to have an notable turn from Wayne in it.

Edited by Ryan H.

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it's hardly one of Wayne's better Westerns.

It isn't? It was his only Oscar winning role. That generally doesn't mean much, but Rooster Cogburn is easily his best role.

Hardly. His best role and best performance was Ethan Edwards in John Ford's THE SEARCHERS. But regardless of Wayne's performance as Cogburn, TRUE GRIT fails to impress or entertain to any real degree. It's not on the level of something like THE SEARCHERS or THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, or even EL DORADO or RIO BRAVO. It's a middle-of-the-road Western that happens to have an notable turn from Wayne in it.

It certainly has a different aesthetic than Ford or Hawk's Westerns, but True Grit is hardly middle of the road. Turn on TCM any Saturday morning and you'll find middle of the road westerns. Those are truly non-entertaining. I don't know how you can even make the statement that True Grit is non entertaining. Haven't seen it in years, yet certain scenes seem as fresh today as when they were playing out on the screen--esp. when Cogburn takes those reins in his teeth and charges across that meadow. Ohh, and those fingers! And running that horse into the ground trying to save Maddie. I should put this back in my Netflix queue.

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It certainly has a different aesthetic than Ford or Hawk's Westerns, but True Grit is hardly middle of the road.

If by different, you mean "lesser," then yes.

I don't know how you can even make the statement that True Grit is non entertaining.

I didn't say it wasn't entertaining. I said it wasn't entertaining to any real degree meaning that it's not particularly noteworthy in its entertainment value. It's a watchable film, but there are plenty of watchable films out there. But in the canon of Wayne's Westerns (which I've been working my through over the past year), TRUE GRIT is not one of the more engaging efforts.

Haven't seen it in years, yet certain scenes seem as fresh today as when they were playing out on the screen--esp. when Cogburn takes those reins in his teeth and charges across that meadow. Ohh, and those fingers! And running that horse into the ground trying to save Maddie.

Great moments don't necessarily add up to a great movie. TRUE GRIT undoubtedly has a few (most of them involving Wayne in some capacity), but as a whole, it's not that impressive.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Haven't seen it in years, yet certain scenes seem as fresh today as when they were playing out on the screen--esp. when Cogburn takes those reins in his teeth and charges across that meadow.

Yes, that really is a great John Wayne moment isn't it? I look forward to seeing the same scene in the Coen Brothers hands.

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Wells:

I've been keen to read Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit script for a while now. This morning a draft of it (their third, dated 6.12.09) arrived in my inbox. I was dazzled right away by the robust poetic flavor of the Old West dialogue, which I presume is partly taken from the Charles Portis novel. There's hardly a single line that resembles the English spoken today in the U.S. of Eloi, and it's pure pleasure. The Coens' True Grit-speak is as specifically unto itself as the Elizabethan English spoken during William Shakespeare's day.

(Now I'm waiting for Peter to discover the script Wells is reading is a fake.)

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Overstreet wrote:

: (Now I'm waiting for Peter to discover the script Wells is reading is a fake.)

I wouldn't have a clue how to discover such a thing.

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Seriously, guys, you know Glen Campbell blows everyone else out of the water in the original. Hee-yuck.

I'm actually really excited for this. I pretty much disagree with all of your about his best performance/role (I'm partial to Nathan Brittles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon myself), but let's agree on this: Rooster still was a neat character, and Wayne does a good job with him.

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Roger Ebert's thumbs-down review of Raising Arizona, back in 1987, began like this:

I have a problem with movies where everybody talks as if they were reading out of an old novel about a bunch of would-be colorful characters. They usually end up sounding silly. For every movie like "True Grit" that works with lines like "I was determined not to give them anything to chaff me about," there is a "Black Shield of Falworth," with lines like "Yonder lies the castle of my father." Generally speaking, it's best to have your characters speak in strong but unaffected English, especially when your story is set in the present. Otherwise they'll end up distracting the hell out of everybody.

That's one of the problems with "Raising Arizona." The movie is narrated by its hero, a man who specializes in robbing convenience stores, but it sounds as if he just graduated from the Rooster Cogburn school of elocution. There are so many "far be it from me's" and "inasmuches" in his language that he could play Ebenezer Scrooge with the same vocabulary - and that's not what you expect from a two-bit thief who lives in an Arizona trailer park.

Huh.

Edited by Overstreet

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Roger Ebert's thumbs-down review of Raising Arizona, back in 1987, began like this ...

That's a pretty awesome find. I'm assuming the Coen brothers read Ebert's review back in 1987.

As far as Ebert's opinion that it's too distracting to have your characters speak anything but strong regular unaffected English, I'd say in a different western, the language in the HBO show Deadwood, pretty much proved that opinion wrong. Meanwhile, regardless of some of the great lines in Raising Arizona, I think it was Miller's Crossing that convinced everyone that the Coen brothers should be allowed to write whatever dialogue that their hearts should so desire.

Edited by Persiflage

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I very much liked the original (in spite of Glen Campbell's terrible line readings) but I'm warming up to this. They have an excellent cast and the Coens should be able to do it differently enough to make it fresh.

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Oh my oh my.

Go ahead and give little Hailee Steinfeld a nomination... just on a strong intuition.

75 seconds worth and it totally feels like the Coen Brothers. How they've gone this long without making a real Western still dumbfounds me. It's going to make this year's Christmas all the more fun.

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