Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Best Kind of Grit Is True Grit

Or so I am told. But before we get to the eye-explodenening wonder of True Grit, I have a bit of an announcement-type thing. In a little over a month, Sugary Cynicism will be a year old, which is pretty craz-ay. And while I have stuff planned for the specific post I have an idea that I would like to see come to reality: A whole straight week of guest posts! A good week-long break for me as seven guest bloggers take the helm. That's why I'm telling you all now, so you got a good month to let me know if you're interested and then I have the time to write something up. I hope I can get seven people, that'd be cool. So yeah, the rules:

1. First come, first served, make your claim in the comments section

2. Must be a topic somehow relevant to Sugary Cynicism, such as: movie review, rambling nonsense, Steampunk geekness, Sean Connery, silly doodles, Eddie Izzard, bad movies, Nicolas Cage, kittens, how awesome I am, etc.

Or maybe you already thought of something different. Maybe you've sat at your computer going "If only Sugary Cynic would do guest posts! I have the most brilliant idea ever and when she asks me I will tell her and it will be so amazing she will poop herself" In which case let me know and I'll get the diaper.

3. I need it at least the day before it would go up

And that's pretty much it. Go crazy, and hopefully I'll get seven people before February :D

Insecure? Who's insecure? YOU'RE INSECURE!!

Ahem. So we were talking about True Grit?

Yes, yes we were.

So this movie is great. The characters are great, the story is great, the acting is great, the cinematography is great and your mom is great-

Just making sure you're paying attention.

Anyway, me and the Coen's don't always get along, I am in the minority of people that hated Fargo for one thing.

Movie nerd reaction to above statement

But I love Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou, No Country For Old Men and now True Grit. Cuz it's awesome. The movie centers on Mattie Ross, an incredible performance by Hailee Steinfeld, a fourteen year old girl whose father has been murdered by Tom Cheney, a nasty outlaw dude played Josh Brolin. No one really cares all that much so Mattie takes it upon herself to hunt him down, enlisting in Jeff Bridges' character, the old, fat, one-eyed, hard-drinking, little-sense-making but still somehow badass US Marshal Rooster Cogburn.

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen

So after much badgering and cajoling on Mattie's part, the two set off to hunt down Cheney, occasionally helped/hindered by a Mr. LaBoeuf, a kinda goofy Texas Ranger also intent on tracking down Cheney, played with surprising ease by Matt Damon. Along the way they encounter corpses, convicts and such Coen-esque moments as a snowy meeting with a bearded-man in a bearskin who claims to be a traveling dentist.

"John Goodman was busy. So you got me instead"

It's a pretty straight-forward Western for a Coen Bros movie. And that's not a bad thing, it's a damn good Western, just less Coen-y than I would have expected. I kept waiting for Steve Buscemi to pop up and be quirky but they basically play the genre straight. The characters are what drive the film, and they are great. I cannot overstate how amazing Hailee Steinford is as the bright, stubborn girl determined to bring Tom Cheney to justice. She is a fearless, matter-of-fact girl who doesn't fuck around and Steinfeld brings her to life beautifully, you're on her side almost the moment you meet her. I hate kid actors for the most part as they are largely horrible, but she sympathetic and believable and other such praiseful words. If this kid isn't nominated for SOMETHING, it will be a grave mistake.

"Dammit, stop stealin' all the scenes!"

Jeff Bridges is also fantastic. It's weird to watch after just seeing him dicking around in Tron, with all his bio-digital jazz. For True Grit however, he brings his A-game and portrays Cogburn as a stumbling drunk who never shuts the hell up about his ex-wives, but will also attack four armed dudes on horses, a gun each hand and his reins in his teeth. Which is cool as hell. The dialogue is also great, whip smart and fast-firing and often surprisingly funny, I wanted to write it all down to remember later because it was all clever and such. Also, everyone talks period-accurate which was interesting because it meant no contractions and people making such pronouncements as "I do not know this man," "I am not happy," or "You give out very little sugar with your pronouncements."

Some people have claimed that the ending comes too fast, that it's anti-climatic, and that Josh Brolin's dipstick Tom Cheney is a letdown. Well, the ending does feel rushed, but as for Tom Cheney and his anti-climaticness, I feel it was very much on purpose. We don't see him for the longest time, only hear how he murdered people and evaded the law, and he is built up as this force of evil and we finally meet him after all this build-up and...

He's kind of a dumbass

But he's also just a man, which is going to disappoint you no matter what after everything you heard about the guy. So, to sum up: Gorgeously shot, expertly crafted Coen-y Western goodness. Hailee Steinfeld is incredible, Jeff Bridges is fantastic and if the only complaint I can make is that the ending is rushed, things are looking good. For being a good old fashioned bad-ass Western, True Grit grits its way to four and a half catapults out of five.

"Oh. Oh no. Looks like she fell, and um, broke. Dang. Guess I'll have to do all her scenes now, right?"

This is Sugary Cynic, firing pistols without depth perception (I'd duck if I you). 'Night!

Rooster: "I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned. Or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which will you have?"


  1. vote one times a hundred for the coen brothers .. i'm trying to get off my seat and see this film .. cheers alan

  2. I hated Fargo too- you are not alone.

    PS I'm happy to help out with guest posting if you need me :-)

  3. Loved this movie! Anytime that Bridges can channel "the Dude" in his character (and let's face it, he's done that alot -- sometimes without knowing it, I think), its a sure-fire win for all of us!

    And I may not be writing on my blog lately, but I'll break the hiatus to get on this guest list!!

  4. Check my blog out today Cynic! Oh and I'll do a guest post on Oh Brother where art thou if you'd like...Whilst I also work on the super secret project wink wink!

  5. Yo. How can you not have asked me about guest posting? I thought we were internet BFFs, dagnabbit!

    Indeed, Matt Damon can be quite bitchy when he wants to.

    Me and my sister can't stop trying to say "...Or should I say eye..." right.

  6. tbaoo: Get off your butt, dude! It's worth it, I promise!!

    Manda: Hooray for Fargo-hate solidarity! And I'd love to have you do a post!

    Jacob: Who doesn't love The Dude? Also, I feel special you'd break your hiatus for me :D

    Lisa: Thanks for the linkage love!!! You can post about any damn thing you like, because you are special ;) (short-bus special maybe, but still)

    Simon: I just assumed you would be guest-posting, to be honest. I thought our friendship had reached a point where words were no longer necessary :p And Matt Damon was fantastically bitchy

  7. Nice! True Grit was awesome! If you need another guest post I'd be up for it.


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