Monday, February 21, 2011

I don't get it.

Finally saw the new Coen Brothers remake of True Grit last night. What an excellent, excellent movie! And I say that having just read the book for the first time a few weeks back and thinking it was a very good novel.

I am going to confess that I have never sat down and watched the entire 1969 John Wayne vehicle from start to finish, and now I'm kind of afraid to.

What I don't get is how Hailee Steinfeld is up for Best Supporting Actress. How do they get "Supporting Actress" out of her role? There were scenes without Jeff Bridges, and there were scenes without Matt Damon, but she was on screen for pretty much the entire 110 minutes and the plot revolved around her character.

34 comments:

Mad Saint Jack said...

Well they can't let the kid beat out a big name.

Joseph said...

Watch the original, it is good, as good as this version, though different in that John Wayne is, well, John Wayne.

The only problem I had with Bridges is that he lapsed into "The Dude" at times and I'm not a fan of "The Dude" so it was a tad annoying.

As for the young lass getting supporting actress nod, since when does the Academy Awards actually mean anything about how well movies are made or actors act? It is completely irrelevant today.

She put on a good performance, as did Matt Damon (who strangely didn't play Matt Damon) and I'll be more likely to see another movie with her in it.

cheifjaybob said...

The same thing happened Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon in 1973. She was in every scene but still only got the nod for supporting actress.

Wolfwood said...

Perhaps it's a tactical decision. I don't know who are the other nominees for Best Actress, but maybe they thought they'd have better odds in this category.

Mark Alger said...

Star billing and lead-actor status are about a bit more than just ego -- sometimes. A star is somebody who can carry a picture -- more, can OPEN a picture. The kid in True Grit may have a long and storied career ahead of her, but in TG, she's a supporting actress.

M

Bob said...

Contrary to the Coen Bros. claim, they didn't adhere more closely to the book than the John Wayne version did, they just strayed from it in different ways.

The scene in the new version that bugged me was when Rooster kicked the children off of the porch; in the book, it's done as a reaction to the children tormenting a horse; in the movie, it's played up as white-on-red racism.

staghounds said...

True Grit is about Mattie Ross, period.

Desertrat said...

I enjoyed the original, since it was mostly John Wayne being John Wayne. His frustration with Mattie's stubbornness was highly amusing; that pretty much "made" the movie.

Henry Blowfly said...

I am afraid to watch this remake of True Grit.

Every sequel, remake or follow up movie I have ever seen was dreadful, and I loved the John Wayne version

Frank W. James said...

Yes, the Coen Bros. TRUE GRIT was good. Was it better than the Wayne film?

No, just different.

The girl was better. Damon was better than Campbell, but to say Bridges was better than Wayne in their roles is a stretch for me.

I was underwhelmed by Bridges in meadow "Fill Yur Hand..." scene. Wayne captured that scene and it remains one of my all time favorites whether it was filmed off the back of a truck or not...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Anonymous said...

I agree with most here. Thing I didn't like about both versions was the stilted dialogue. Maybe they talked that way in the 1800s but I can't believe no one use a contraction in general speech. Damon should have been heaps better than Campbell, but the dialogue made him seem only slightly better. Best part of the original was Wayne, I like the new girl better than the one in the original and that this story seemed more from her perspective. Maybe it's my old guy hearing but much of the dialogue, seemed muffled and mumbled.

Tam (remotely) said...

Bob,

"...in the book, it's done as a reaction to the children tormenting a horse; in the movie, it's played up as white-on-red racism."

What?

The kids are poking a mule, Cogburn snatches the stick away and turns the mule loose.

Earl said...

I ran my True Grit, John Wayne starring, after seeing the new improved one, and John's movie is cleaner - clothes, horses, and effect. In the end The BOOK is best since it puts my imagination to the test. The book never gets cute.

Bob said...

Tam - - I couldn't remember if it was a mule or a horse, and since I don't have my copy of the book to hand, guessed wrong. Which doesn't invalidate my point, that the Coen brothers played the scene up as Rooster being a racist, kicking Indian kids off the porch, whereas in the book it was clear that he was engaging in rough discipline of misbehaving children: Think it's funny, do you? he says as he turns the mule loose and kicks the kids off the porch, then kicks them off again when he finishes his business inside the store.

Robert Langham said...

Loved the remqke. Cast and characters, props, lighting, locations,dialog. Everything better. Just saw the remake with the Duke and had to cringe at his gun handling. He waves guns around like spatulas wielded by a drunken fry-cook at IHOP.

Anonymous said...

I thought Bridges meadow scene was was done better than that braying draft dodger Marion Morrisons.The girl really did a good job but if she was up for best actress she would be up against the girl in Winters Bone.I think Wolfwood is right about the tactical decision.

John Stephens said...

"...braying draft dodger Marion Morrison." Maybe, but I'd have done the same in his position:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1055/was-john-wayne-a-draft-dodger

perlhaqr said...

Bob: I have to admit, I didn't catch any particular "racism" element to the remake, which, I also have to admit, is the only version I've seen.

I thought he was being a touch excessive, and well, it's been at least a month since I saw it, so I just recall the mechanical details, not the dialogue. Did he say anything about them being bad because they were indians?

Anonymous: Oh noes! He didn't come a-runnin' when the slave massa called? What a bad boy!

Anonymous said...

Braying Draft Dodger...I am not sure what is going to cause more feathers to fly, Tam's 1911 post or that last statement.

Getting the popcorn ready here and just waiting for the action to start.

Yours- Rusty

Fred said...

You're not alone in that thought. The movie is really about her, hell she narrates good chunks of it.

mikee said...

CGI rattlesnakes. CGI rattlesnakes! CGI effing rattlesnakes?!?!?!?!?!?!

Why, oh why, did they use CGI rattlesnakes, that far into a movie that otherwise left not one reason for failure to suspend disbelief?

El Capitan said...

If they can give the Academy Award to Anna Paquin for her half-pint harridan/teeny termagant role in 'The Piano', then Steinfeld's gotta be a shoo-in.



(Captcha= ingen Didn't they make a bunch of Velicoraptors that got loose?)

Dwight Brown said...

"Why, oh why, did they use CGI rattlesnakes, that far into a movie that otherwise left not one reason for failure to suspend disbelief?"

I would speculate that it has something to do with child labor laws. And actually, I didn't even notice they were CGI.

El Capitan said...

$&%&#^@ Typos.

Velcroraptors. You can hang stuff on 'em while they disembowel you...

DaveFla said...

For those who haven't seen it, another side of the Wayne Draft story here:
http://jwayne.com/2010/03/01/john-wayne-world-war-ii-and-the-draft/

For my part, I'm skipping the new movie and reading the book. I hear Rooster gets his men in this one, too...

Matt G said...

I read the book shortly after seeing the Cohen Brothers' version. I had remarked to my mother as we left the theater that this one was much more Maddie Ross-centric. And in fact, when I read the book, it's all told in first person, from her point of view, in the form of the memoirs of a woman about 40 years old by this point. I believe that this accounts for the somewhat stilted dialogue; it's being retold by Maddie, writing in that old style.

Hailee Steinfeld owned that movie. All the others were simply her supporting cast.

Matt G said...

Mikee, I noticed the CGI rattlesnakes, too. But what're you going to do? Put a 14 year old girl into a pit with rattlesnakes, and then try to wrangle them into being aggressive? It's something of a suspension of disbelief that rattlesnakes would be aggressive in the first place. Note that it's cool, and they're in the mountains.

BobG said...

"What I don't get is how Hailee Steinfeld is up for Best Supporting Actress. How do they get "Supporting Actress" out of her role?"

I quit having any respect or regard for the motion pictures academy when they handed Gore an Oscar for a PowerPoint presentation.

Jeffro said...

The respective movies tell the story from different perspectives, and Mattie Ross portrayed by young Ms. Steifeld is the character with "True Grit."

The Duke plays himself in the original. Robert Duvall as Lucky Ned Pepper and Strother Martin as Stonehill are also compelling reasons to see the original.

Joanna said...

"Maybe they talked that way in the 1800s but I can't believe no one use a contraction in general speech."

Believe it. Language can, and does, change that much over the space of a hundred years.

Bob: I didn't take it as "white-on-red" racism so much as I took it as "Rooster is kind of a jackass." I was actually impressed with the Coens for showing the attitudes of the day without hitting the audience over the head with A Big Lesson.

Anonymous said...

"...she was on screen for pretty much the entire 110 minutes and the plot revolved around her character."

That, and the fact that the story is about her. SHE was looking for true grit (something she clearly had herself) SHE hired the guy...it is her story. -- Lyle

Montie said...

Tam,

One of the stronger recommendations I've seen you make. Guess I'll have to catch it this weekend.

jason said...

Frank--the meadow scene in the original was filmed in Colorado.

Both great movies.

J.R.Shirley said...

Tam, I like it up until the end. "The book ended this way" doesn't make me like it more.

Bob, it was clear why the kids were thumped.

All: John Wayne was the Bill Shatner of his day, ability-wise. I like corn, but can't stand "The Duke".