“True Grit” Notes -Old Grit Vs New Grit.



  • Rent the original (actually a pretty good movie-watch it first) and watch the two films back to back for some interesting insights.  It is a remake regardless of all the squealing to the contrary by the Coens.  Dialog is word for word throughout most of the film.  Having not read the book I suspect that dialog was lifted directly from its pages.
  • John Wayne is a kinder gentler Rooster than the Dude.  Jeff Bridges is a funnier, quirkier and more real Rooster… also a better actor.  The Dude trumps the Duke!
  • Personal note:  I hated everything John Wayne did back then simply because of his politics.  I’ve grown up a bit and have somewhat throttled back some my hate after all the years.  Of course my anger & outrage remain intact.
  • Favorite scene – Maddie riding across the river.  I almost squirted em (teared up) with admiration for her gumption.
  • The “New Grit” was stunning visually.  I would expect nothing less.  How do the Coens build such quirkiness into their images?  Awesomeness abounds!
  • The Coen ending was a modern abrupt cop-out that bordered on shaggy dog land.  It’s like, “well, we’re out of time, it’s Sunday night & this report is due tomorrow morning or we’ll flunk English class so let’s get er done”.
  • The crappy music & Glen Campbell ruined the original.  Kim Darby tried her best but couldn’t handle the job.
  • Brolin was a disappointment; my expectations doomed his role from the start.  Not enough screen time for his magic to develop.
  • Best Actress 2010 – Hailee Steinfeld
  • Barry Pepper for best supporting nomination
  • People kick Indians & demean women – that’s the fact, Jack!  We can’t close our eyes to reality, can we?
  • The Coens made a much better film.  Partially because filmmaking has advanced somewhat in forty some years.  True Grit was made same year as Easy Rider.  Shall we remake Easy Rider?  Unleash th Coens on that one!  See if we can improve on the Mona Lisa.  Like most Hollywood films of that era “True Grit” was a “throw-away” movie made to capture maximum revenue and wasn”t built for complexities.  

Conclusion:  The Coens made a better film!  Thanks to their talent and courage and the advance of film technology and increasingly sophisticated audience demands.  Comparing the two films is like racing a 2010 Ferrari against a 1969 Chevy Impala.  Both do a pretty good job but I’ll take the Ferrari thanks.

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5 Responses to

  1. JP says:

    Haven’t seen the first one in 40 years, but when Bridges said, “Fill your hands, you sonsabitches!” I remembered John Wayne hollering the same line, and much of the old movie came back to me. St. Teddy was waiting for that line, too. I like your new site.

  2. Fletch says:

    I’ve read (and heard) other people complaining about the end. I don’t understand the irritation. Can you expand on what you didn’t like? I’m not being snarky or difficult, I genuinely don’t know.

    • I appreciate your lack of snarkyness & am flattered you took the time to read & ask. Here’s why
      • Call me Old fashioned, I prefer a tidy package all tied up with a nice pretty ribbon.
      • The ending was so abrupt & jarring I actually felt the clunk. I invested so much in the story and I wanted a bigger, smoother, more artful payoff. I felt like I had drifted off to sleep during my bedtime story and the Coens were trying to sneak out of the room.
      • Who was that one armed women at the end? How did she get that way? What really happened to Rooster? Like Paul Harvey used to say, & that’s the rest of the story”. I just wanted more.
      • Just like Stephen King has great imagination, often delivering a weak finish, lacking a punch line, a big build up with no payoff. Not to put too fine a point or stretch too far, but It feels like the Coens did the same thing.
      • Like a good joke a film needs a solid punch line and timing is everything. Coen’s timing was off at the most crucial part – the conflict resolution needed a smoother more complete segue to the credits.

      As to why, Maybe it’s due to budgetary constraints, time constraints or other problems. Or maybe that’s just the way the Coens roll.

  3. Fletch says:

    I’m gonna have to see the ending again, because I felt like it actually wrapped things up more cleanly than I usually like. And since this is the internet and it’s sometimes hard to tell when people are kidding around– you know that the one-armed woman is Mattie, right?

  4. Sure it’s mattie, but how DID she lose the arm? Peeling potatos? Thinly veiled sarcism. Bottom line re: the ending is that like most art, it’s really a matter of opinion & personal taste. I wasted an entire semester in a philosophy class over the question if you can debate taste. I conclude a person can not! It either pleases me or not.

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