Goddamn, it’s been more than two months since I rocked your calamitous bowels with a Desktop Thursdays? As Jeff Bridges said in The Fly, life finds a way to get in the way. But, I’m here now! And, I’ve got some glimpses into my existence for you fucks. I hope you’ll join me in the comments section, sharing looks into your world(s). Be they tangible, intangible, existential! If not, no worries. Enjoy the glimpse, and I’ll enjoy the artifacting of my own existence. I’ve been rummaging through previous entries into this column, and it’s fucking wild to see me in the various stages of my life.
Jesus Christ, Kingsman 2 is assembling a murderer’s row of talent.
With their take on True Grit, Joel and Ethan Coen didn’t remake the 1969 John Wayne film of the same name. And they didn’t “update” the film’s 1968 source material by writer Charles Portis. What they’ve done is make the best damn western since 1992’s Unforgiven. But the Coen’s masterpiece isn’t filled with brooding and extraneous landscape shots. In true Coen fashion, the two hours are stocked with dark humor, bursts of violence, Roger Deakins‘ masterful cinematography, and characters so well-crafted that no time gets wasted on unnecessary background stories. In one of the great surprises of the year, one of these characters is played by 14-year-old newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.
Young Hailee effortlessly steals the show from acclaimed veterans Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin. She plays Mattie Ross, a girl whose father is shot dead by drifter Tom Chaney (Brolin). Because Chaney flees into Indian territory, the local authorities will not pursue. Mattie hires Deputy U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Bridges), a man with a merciless reputation – a man with “true grit.” Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Damon) is also on Chaney’s trail, for a murder he committed months previous in TX. And the great adventure begins.
Bridges plays Cogburn hardboiled as hell, without the character devolving into a goofy, tough-guy brooder. He’s filled with interesting contradictions: gruff marshal with the heart of gold, drunk mess who’s a competent lawman, constant heckler with a sensitive spine. All of this makes up another classic, quotable character for Bridges. Damon’s La Boeuf is the all-American Texas Ranger swollen with pride. His boasting makes him sound foolish, but he’s got the gunslingin’ chops to back up all the touting. Out of the plethora of colorful characters the Coen’s have penned over the years, True Grit‘s cast makes up some of the best. They all deliver dated dialogue in an obsolete, contraction-less language that comes off Shakespearean at times. I left the theater wishing people still talked that way.