Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Movie Night: Scene One

Much to my husband's delight, this weekend I agreed to see not one, but TWO movies. In a THEATRE!! Stepping out, people!

The first was "True Grit". I've never seen the earlier version...Clint Eastwood? John Wayne? I get all those westerns mixed up. Anyhow. Never saw it.

While the Coen Brothers' remake had all the murders, revenges, horse chases, and hangings one would expect from any respectable representative of the western genre, there was more. The central character was a 14 year old, well-spoken & savvy young girl who sort of made it Anne of Green Gables meets Tombstone.

The cinematography was wonderful. The acting was excellent. The two main heroes bantered back and forth in an ironic blend of vain obstinance and comical leisure. I appreciated the visible filth of the characters. Oily hair, horrible teeth, same clothes as yesterday, etc. (Shows like Big Valley and Bonanza always bothered me because even as a child, I could not reconcile the actors pristine appearance with the absence of showers and toothpaste.)

Another detail I enjoyed was that the rough, seemingly uneducated characters never uttered the stereotypical drawl like "I ain't gonna letcha" and "You arta sit a spell and thank on that". To my delight, the stiff, formal feel of dialog without contractions made the interactions far more humorous. Imagine each of these lines delivered in chopped rhythm through rotting teeth and a cheek full of dripping tobacco... "I do not aim to let you go." "That plan did not pan out like I thought it would." "I do not regret killing that man."

The soundtrack was gorgeous. Several voicings and unexpected arrangements of a traditional hymn or two subtly lay beneath the adventure and suspense. Wonderful!

This movie is graphically violent with literal bloodshed. Despite the redeeming qualities of charming character development and humorous wit, the plot resolved with little redemption. Perhaps that was the point.

Finally, as the credits rolled, Philip and I lingered in our seats. We believe one mustn't leave until one has seen and heard all there is to see and hear. So we sat. That is when I discovered the funniest line in the movie--a movie set in the dead of winter-- a movie in which not one single actor wore fewer than 3 layers of clothing in any given scene. These words were buried in a list of grips and extras.

"Matt Damon's abs double: Buster Coen"

Very funny.

'True Grit' Trailer

**context clues reveal that it was indeed John Wayne...not Clint Eastwood. He won awards apparently. I'm a nerd.