Monday, January 3, 2011

"True Grit" was a true disaster.

Let me preface this by saying that I do not hate Western themed films. Admittedly, there a very few that I like, but I do not hate them as a rule. I usually despise them for being outright dull or unnecessarily violent. Some I dislike, not because the story is bad, but because the acting is pathetic.

When I first saw a trailer for True Grit, I wasn't even watching TV. Padawan was, and I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom. I heard the actors, I didn't even see them, and I called out, "I don't even have to be in there to know that whatever that movie is called, it's bad." 

To which Padawan immediately replied, "What? It has Jeff Bridges in it! It looks awesome! I want to see it."

And I answered, "Are you kidding? I can't even see the screen and I know the acting is bad! The lines are falling flat! It sounds awful."

We agreed to disagree and I never gave the movie a second thought. Until last night, when Relly and T-Man invited Padawan and myself out for dinner and a movie. Since I had promised Padawan I would treat him to dinner and a movie for his birthday, I asked him what he wanted to see. 

"True Grit."

Balls of fire! I should have known. But a promise is a promise, and it turned out that T-Man had loved the John Wayne version and was eager to see the Jeff Bridges remake, so we all agreed to see it after eating dinner at Joe's Crab Shack.

I can't help but add in here that Joe's has this really awesome margarita. It was Pomegranate, and they put pop rocks in it when they brought it to the table. For those of you who do not have children and did not enjoy pop rocks as a child yourself, let me explain what they do. When you get them wet with water, saliva, soda, milk, anything, they fizzle and pop. Some morons will put a whole package in their mouths at once and take a drink of coke. That's a stupid thing to do because the carbonation goes nuts and your mouth fills with gas and explosions and you wind up spitting pop rocks and coke all over the place and looking like an idiot and hacking up your lungs.

When you add it to a margarita all at once, the effect is still explosive. So explosive, in fact, that Padawan wound up with pop rocks in his hair, and on his jeans, and I had some down my shirt. But it was well worth it, because the margarita wasn't merely fun, it was also totally yummy. And stronger than it tasted.

After a huge meal of steak and broccoli and fries for me (Relly had Snow Crab, Padawan had Fish and Chips, and T-Man had Mahi Mahi or something like that) and a yummy dessert of warm apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream, we dragged ourselves away from the warmth and comfort of the restaurant and headed to the theater. 

I will admit, I went into the movie expecting it to be awful. I had absolutely the lowest of the low of expectations for the acting. The story itself I believed would be tolerable, maybe even enjoyable, but the acting, despite a cast including Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges, would be unbearable.

Ten minutes in, however, it became apparent to me that the movie did not want for talented actors. Despite my previous belief that the reason the lines fell flat was because of poor casting choices, I quickly learned that the chosen cast was impressive, talented, and would  have been damn convincing if they had been given the chance. 

You can't fault actors for bad writing.

And that's what it came down to: the acting was fabulous but the script left something to be desired. So often in movies what you find is that the script is great and well planned, but the actors fail to deliver. In this case, the cast was crippled by a talentless writer. Or maybe not a talentless writer. I have no idea who wrote the screen play, and I do not care. All I know is that he (or possibly she) took a good idea (and presumably a good movie that had rocked to begin with) and tried to add his or her own touch, and wound up with a shipwreck of a script that would sink the best efforts of the actors involved.

Even Padawan, who had wanted to see it, said that it left him disappointed because all of the reviews declared it was amazing, a must see, a clever rendition of a movie long forgotten, blah blah blah. I personally never bother with reviews. If you can't hook me on a movie with the trailer, which theoretically shows the best parts of the movie, then it's not worth the effort of watching. 

I didn't ask Relly because she was falling asleep on the way out, but T-Man said that, although he loved John Wayne's movie better, he wouldn't mind watching it again, and he loved Jeff Bridges in the movie. Well, you have to admire his dedication.

I personally wish I had talked everyone into seeing Tangled or Black Swan. I considered walking out of the movie a few times when I felt the violence was unnecessarily disgusting, but I pat myself on the back for staying put and watching the entire thing, as much as I wanted to fall asleep sometimes.

I'm not saying nobody should see it. I'm not saying everybody should see it. I'm just saying that I didn't enjoy it, and I feel like I wasted two hours and ten minutes of my life enduring that movie.


  1. Hmm, I haven't seen it. My reaction to the trailer was the same as your boyfriend's. Maybe my reaction to the movie would be the same.

    The movie, by the way, was made by the Cohen Bros. You know, Fargo, The Big Lebowski and so on. I usually love their movies. However, I wasn't too crazy about No Country for Old Men, which a departure from their normal style. My reaction was similar to what you describe above. The dialogue just seemed...I don't know...too clever or affected or something for me to really buy into it. The movie has grown on me, but it still doesn't and never will feel like a Cohen Bros. movie.

    Now along comes True Grit, which I'm also hearing is also a departure from the Cohen's style. I'm not liking the sound of that. I'm hearing it's more "straight genre" then they normally do. That doesn't sound good either.

    I don't know much about Black Swan, but I'd probably watch it. I love weird movies. The guy that made that made The Fountain which was awesome.

  2. Wow. Apparently the Cohen Bros. are hit or miss with me. I loved Fargo, but I did not enjoy The Big Lebowski. I tried to watch No Country for Old Men once, but I fell asleep a few minutes in because I was exhausted. Padawan doesn't like to watch movies twice within a year, so I never tried it again.

    Clever, affected, or something...yes, that's exactly how the script felt. It was too proper, too carefully written, and entirely unbelievable. Especially when combined with Southern drawls and uneducated morons. As weird as it sounds, I think the dialog would have had a better flow if it had been done with British accents.

    I give the actors credit in this: they did the best that they could with what they were given. Another cast could not have made so much out of so little.

  3. I felt the same way about Bejamin Button. Okay, not the SAME thing because it was well-acted, but it was a good half-hour too long. If you're going to turn a short story into a megaflick, at least cut it down for size.

  4. I feel the same way. There's nothing more annoying that having a movie run on too long. Like Funny People. I liked it, but I wanted it to end half an hour before it did and it completely ruined the entire experience for me.

  5. I saw the original True Grit and cannot fathom it being remade. John Wayne won an Oscar for the movie, granted it was a makeup gift for not giving it to him earlier in his career, but it was a 'good' movie. I'm waiting for someone to remake Citizen Kane. God knows what they'll do to that. Maybe they can cast Wil Smith as Kane, huh?

  6. Do not even jest such a horrible idea! Remake Citizen Kane? The idea is unthinkable! It's horrifying. And not that I don't find Will Smith amusing when he's on screen, because I do. In some movies he has an unfailing way of delivering lines that makes me giggle. But his funny way of performing has no place in Citizen Kane. EVER.

    I can't...I can't even think of anyone who would be an appropriate Kane. It's just...No. Don't wish such an evil on the world. It's perfect the way it is.


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