Sunday, December 26, 2010

I like John Wayne movies, but he was always...


The Duke, which was fine but you might miss the real story if he was the star. But you would be entertained, like reading Louis L'Amour novels. I bought every LL book in print while in Vietnam, to read. Got them and found I couldn't read three of them in a row - because he used too many similar pieces of Western color for his texture. Okay, the plots were really simple, too. But as a stand alone for empty time, they always satisfied my thirst for American heroes.

Anyway, I read True Grit and while wandering the military saw the movie with John Wayne, it was pretty true to the book, but it was the Duke and that meant it couldn't be bad, mean, ugly. Really, the Duke never played the ugly of drunkeness, although he played drunks badly. And I read The Shootist which is another great book, but once John Wayne starred it missed the mark, and was a fine final film for an actor dying of cancer, about a shootist dying of cancer. My biggest problem with the film was they didn't end it the way the author intended - Opie had to kill the Duke, and they didn't go that way. Still got the point across about the evils of gun fighters and such, but Opie and John were still clean.

Today, I recommend True Grit, the 2010 edition, but read the book first. The directing makes all the difference - the acting is great, but you have to know the characters, the makeup is awful real, the shooting is as bad as it really was, and the story is again about a young farm girl going about her father's business and life as it was in the late Indian Territory, which we hide a lot from today. I do like the trailer, but then I am so old fashioned and the voice sings to me. I do hope you appreciate the dirt, the blood and the grime. One day they will bring the smells into the theater to wash out the popcorn and butter, and then movies will stop being entertainment, but they wouldn't make any money would they?

2 comments:

Jeffro said...

Heh. I just posted my thoughts on the same movie - and it appears we agree on quite a bit. The two movies aim for different targets and hit them quite well, eh?

John D. said...

I'm really anxious to see it. The Coen's did such an excellent job of adapting NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN that I have higher hopes for TRUE GRIT than I usually do for remakes.