Friday, January 7, 2011

Best Damn Western Ever

[before I start, thanks to all the artists volunteering to be exploited by Yours Truly...I really appreciate the fire, spirit, and creative talents of you folks with the inks and pencils, and you all inspire me to get MY ass in gear and finish the thing. Thanks for that]

Just saw Jeff Bridges taking his turn as Rooster Cogburn in the new True Grit film, tonight. The wife and I have been trying to see more movies lately (last weekend was Black Swan, which was pretty damn creepy...I'll never hear the music of Swan Lake again without some pretty ghastly images popping into my head).

What a great damn movie.

Of course, I haven't seen the original with the Duke (yet), but the Coen Brothers' re-make was an excellent, excellent film. The writing was wonderful and the acting was top notch (especial 'ol Rooster and the girl; damn that girl was good with some tricky dialogue!). In fact, I think it has now become my personal favorite Western film.

Which is saying something, let me tell you. I LOVES me the Westerns. Not really sure why, though my Dad was always a big John Wayne fan and loved to watch them 'ol matinees (I probably saw the old True Grit at least once or twice as a young child, but the memory escapes me). I have a tendency to watch every Western film that comes out of Hollywood, either on video (um...DVD) or television if not in the theater. But until tonight, my hands-down favorite for nearly 20 years has been Eastwood's 1992 film Unforgiven.

Not that there haven't been plenty of good, even great Western films since then...and not-so-great ones that were still fun to watch. But few of them have captured the raw, and yet somehow civil, story of folks trying to carve some semblance of Order out of the Chaos that was the "wild frontier."

True Grit showcases this, juxtaposing the civility and Christian values (remember my recent rant on religions?) with lawless bastardry and low-down meanness. Love it. I can't believe I ran a Boot Hill game for two weeks without watching this movie. The Coen Brothers' True Grit could be re-named Boot Hill 101 and that would about perfectly describe it.

[and yes, there are many valuable lessons to learn for the RPG from watching True Grit]

Damn...I've said before that there's something about the "old geezer" characters that just appeal to me for some reason...hell, maybe it's 'cause I'M turning into an old geezer. But from now on, all my Boot Hill characters will all be based on Rooster Cogburn (interesting that the one time I got to play a "failed Jedi" in a WEG Star Wars game I was a drunk with an eye-patch...right on).
; )

8 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm keeping an open mind, even though the Coen's last remake -- The Ladykillers -- was an atrocity.

    On that subject, I wonder if that film seemed less of a disaster for those who hadn't seen the original?

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  2. You really need to see the John Wayne version. It really is one of the best movies he did. I plan on seeing this new update on DVD.

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  3. I have to agree this was a great movie. Jeff Bridges was awesome but the girl was amazing for what little professional acting she's done.

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  4. Saw this on Christmas day and really enjoyed it. I haven't seen the original either, but several people have said that the key difference between the two is that Jeff Bridges plays Rooster Cogburn, whereas John Wayne played...John Wayne (just like Pacino always plays Pacino). Loved the dialogue, loved the acting, loved the scenery (much of which was shot in the vicinity of my current locale).

    Overall, I'd put this one in my top three favorite contemporary Westerns (along with Dead Man and Tombstone)--and yes, it's tremendously inspirational from a gaming perspective. As I was watching it, I was like, "Holy crap, you could easily run a Western game using Pendragon--the similarities between Westerns and Arthurian genre tropes are so clear!"

    And that trapper/mountain man would make a terrific NPC in pretty much any game of wilderness exploration (::cough::D&D::cough::).

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  5. I was prepared to be disappointed by the remake, but was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The girl who played Mattie Ross practically stole the show. I still prefer the Duke's portrayal of Roster Cogburn, but the Coen brother's version of True Grit is the better overall film of the two, imo.

    Btw, I think AMC is playing the original tonight, in case you're interested.

    Ed Green

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  6. I'm definetly a western fan and that's why my novels - so far - could be called that.
    I loved the origional True Grit, the story, the characters and those that constructed those characters. However, I thought Wayne was the least impressive of them all since he was doing pretty much what he had always done and did - including the military roles. I'm only aware of one movie where he moved away from that character and that is Ron Howard's "The Shootist".
    Not that there's anything wrong with John Wayne playing John Wayne. People knew exactly what to expect. Personally I enjoyed all his roles, even those were the man calling the shots behind the camera was not pulling his weight.
    I'm looking forward to seeing Bridges as Rooster; it should be marvelous.
    Dave
    www.dmmcgowan.blogspot.com

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  7. @ Dave: Haven't read any of your books, man...is there one you'd recommend me to start with?
    : )

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