We don't go to the movies often, preferring to watch them in front of a warm fire at home with a cat on our lap, where we have our own refreshments at hand (and frequent bathroom breaks are not a problem) -- and I don't have to ignore people's cell phones, or their eating ice, or chewing their cud in my ear. But every so often one comes along I simply can't wait the requisite 3-4 months for Netflix to churn out. Such is the case with 'True Grit.'*
I have been a fan of TG since I read the book as a teen. I felt it necessary to read all the works of Charles Portis. He is a fellow Arkansan -- who also graduated from U of A Fayetteville, with a degree in Journalism (though the year I was born). His writing style is like a newspaperman - sparse and clean, with the added delight of a sly wit. But of all his work, TG is by far my favorite.
When the movie came out, I think in '69, when I was a kid, I hadn't read the book yet, but I loved westerns and John Wayne ruled the western movies. I loved John Wayne's acting in it, and Robert DuVall was an excellent Ned Pepper, but I was sorely disappointed with the casting of Kim Darby as Mattie Ross. And Glenn Campbell as the Texas Ranger??! Let's not even go there. To make matters worse they filmed it - god knows, but it sure as hell didn't resemble AR and the Indian territory of OK...as much as I liked the movie, it was a bit of an embarrassment. Then when I read the novella, I felt they didn't do a good job at all, despite making a movie that stands up today. (Wayne's Oscar was a nod to sentiment, but his performance is still a pleasure to watch).
This movie seems to put things to rights. All the actors are amazing. One reviewer in TIME said he couldn't understand Bridges 'growling' as Rooster Cogburn. I don't know what his hearing issues are, but maybe he should clear out the wax. Bridges gives another Bridges brilliant performance, and the young Mattie and Matt Damon as the Ranger are pitch-perfect. All the actors are excellent.
I didn't even miss General Sterling - the cat featured in the first movie. As a fierce lover of all things feline, that's saying something.
* another is 'The King's Speech'