Paramount Home Entertainment has announced the western True Grit for Blu-ray release on June 7, in a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. This new adaptation of the novel by Charles Portis (previously brought to the screen by Henry Hathaway in 1969), was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, although it came out of the Oscar ceremony empty-handed.
Special features include:
Mattie's True Grit
From Bustles to Buckskin—Dressing for the 1880s
Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western (BD-exclusive)
Re-Creating Fort Smith
Charles Portis—The Greatest Writer You've Never Heard Of... (BD-exclusive)
Uggh. I wonder who thought it would be great idea to roll this out in June, in the middle of all the summer blockbusters rolling out? Dumb, dumb move. I was hoping for more extras with it going to be so long before it came out.
That being said I absolutely love the movie and I'll buy it day one. Just wish day one wasn't so far away.
Scarface16, you're an idiot. What did you want, some broody angsty goth amoral slogfest? The source material was light-hearted and sentimental (though not only that). Thank God they decided not to remove the meaning to make another pointless nihilist film. I don't care if you didn't like the movie, but not liking it because it was exactly what it was supposed to be (a movie based on the book) is stupid.
"I didn't like Lord of the Rings. Way too many epic hero journeys." Well, yeah, that's the book r-tard.
Well, good thing I saw it 3 times in the theater because this is a really long wait. Oh well. Day 1. The Coens continue to lead the pack of brilliant directors, releasing excellent film after excellent film.
I've read the book many times, it's one of my favorites. The only violence the Coens left out that I can think of was Mattie breaking her arm when she falls down the hole. In fact, they added violence by having Leboeuf bite his tongue nearly in half (a departure from the book)! So what exactly are you talking about when you say the book is much more violent? They included the finger chopping, the fall down the hole with the snakes, Rooster stabbing the horse to spur it on. Those are the more violent scenes I can think of that were featured in both book and movie.
You called it "way too light-hearted." Now it's my turn to ask: did you read the book? It is full of humor, which I'm glad the Coens captured in the movie. And the narration is, again, from the book, though instead of including it throughout they used it as bookends. Reminded me a bit of To Kill A Mockingbird (though I think TKAM uses it in the middle as well). Finally, the abrupt ending is, again, completely faithful to the book.
I never claimed to have read the book. When I made the comment about the book being more violent than the movie I was referencing a statement Ethan Coen made when being interviewed for an article in the New York Times.
He said quote:
“The book is quite violent, but the level of violence was a consideration for us in a way that it has not been in the past,” Ethan said, in part because the PG-13 rating will open up the movie for audiences beyond their fan base. “compared to what you see on HBO it’s quite tame.”
But let's forget about all that for now. The point, which you seem to be missing, is that a film does not have to stay slavishly faithful to a book in order for it to be great. You seem to be saying that the reason the film is so great is because it stays so faithful to the book. So, for argument's sake, let's say it does. That doesn't change the fact that it's just simply not a great film. It's a good film, don't misunderstand me, but not great.
On a side note, I re-read your first comment and noticed you accused the Coen's of making "pointless, nihilist" films in the past. If this is how you really feel about their past work, I think it speaks volumes about your ability to appreciate and understand great cinema.
I agree with you on many of your points. I also felt that this movie was quite average. Was it bad? No, it wasn't. But was it an amazing cinematic experience? Far from it. I, like you (if this is what you are hinting at), thought the pacing was definitely off. The first 80 minutes were supposed to build up to the final "internal" and physical struggle at the end which I really didn't see.
The Coens have put out much better work than this (Fargo, Barton Fink, BL, Serious Man...just to name a few)
I consider this one of my top films of 2010 and one of the Coens' better films. It's been on my preorder list for some time and I'm looking forward to receiving it. I frankly don't mind waiting until June for this film as many of my other preordered films will arrive this month and next. I also plan to pick up the original film of True Grit with John Wayne. I like doing those comparisons, rather like I did with the two versions of 3:10 to Yuma a few years ago.
You said: "I never claimed to have read the book." Yet, previously, you said: "I guess you didn't read the book because it's much more violent than the movie. So much for staying faithful." Which certainly implies that you read the book (as I'm sure everyone here would agree). If you want to get yourself off the hook with some weaselly "Well I didn't technically say I read the book, obvious implications aside," great, have fun with life being that guy.
Now that you admit you haven't read it, your reach of translating Ethan's statement about the violence as meaning "the book is MUCH MORE violent than the movie" is obviously off-base and overstepping your knowledge of the source material. And, as I pointed out, the Coens actually added violence! So your claim doesn't hold up on any level.
With regards to the quality of the film, my point was that your criticisms of the movie were actually of elements inherent in the book (light-hearted, abrupt ending, etc.), and since the Coens have repeatedly stated that they loved the book and wanted to make a faithful adaption, your beef is with the elements of the book. And my contention is, the book being great, any elements they carried from the book to the film were also great. Not as a rule, because a director/writer can still screw it up, but I think the Coens captured the good elements very well. Again, my beef is not with you not liking the movie, but your reasons for it, which I've called out as bogus.
You also called it "sentimental," which implies that sentiment is bad, which made me wonder if you were a huge fan of their nihilist Burn After Reading, the primary message of which seems to be, "No one knows anything, life is pointless, the innocent will suffer, people are cruel. Here's some funny bits with Brad Pitt (before he gets pointlessly shot in the face)." Even No Country For Old Men, which I really liked, barely has a glimmer of hope in it at all. It's a trend they've been following for a little while now, and it was nice to see them once again tackle a story with something triumphant about hope and human value. If you're one of those idiots who likes dark movies for the sake of the darkness, get back in your dumb little film snob goth hole. I'm a big fan of the Coens' work (the whole body, with one or two exceptions), but I think they're at their best when they tell stories meant to inspire rather than depress.
You said: "If this is how you really feel about their past work, I think it speaks volumes about your ability to appreciate and understand great cinema."
Fall in a well you smelly elitist. You're really good at talking out of your butt about things you know nothing about.
Where to begin? Well first off, you seem to be a very hostile person based on your comments. There filled with personal insults labeling me an "idiot", "smelly elitist" and wishing that I "fall in a well"? Take a step back man, really look at yourself and ask why you feel the need to level immature insults at a person who just simply does not agree with you. Be civil. If you'd like to have a back-and-forth about my criticisms of the film, that's fine. But please don't feel the need to attack my character. Really uncalled for.
Now I'll do my best to address your latest response. I'd like to preface this by emphasizing that it was not, at any time, my intention to suggest that I had read the book. However I can see how you might have gotten that impression based on my second comment. For that, I apologize. I should have made it more clear that I was in fact referencing the quote from Ethan Coen. He did say quite clearly that the book is more violent than the movie. I'm pretty sure he read it! There really is no "translation" required. One again, he said quote: "The book is quite violent, but the level of violence was a consideration for us in a way that it has not been in the past,” Ethan said, in part because the PG-13 rating will open up the movie for audiences beyond their fan base. “compared to what you see on HBO it’s quite tame.” Now, I don't understand how you could interpret what he said in any other way. As someone who has read the book many times he is CLEARLY making the statement that THE BOOK IS MORE VIOLENT THAN THE MOVIE. There's really nothing more to say on this point.
You say that my criticisms of the film can all be traced back to the book. I'm sure that's true. However, if there is something in the book that does not work, i.e. the abrupt ending, it should not be repeated in the film. It's important to note that what may work in a book, will not necessary work once it's translated to the screen. They are, after all, two entirely different mediums. Now comes the question of whether or not it works in the film. You say these things do, I say they do not. It's called an OPINION. Everyone has one and they are not always the same. That's what makes the world so interesting, and at times i.e. now, frustrating. I really can't stress this point enough, your opinion is your opinion and mine is mine. One is no more "correct" than the other.
Now let's deal with the issue of sentiment. I am certainly not opposed to a light-hearted or sentimental film. There are many films with sentimental or light-hearted overtones I like very much, to name a few: Slumdog Millionaire, Butch Cassidy, Cool Hand Luke, Dr. Strangelove, Duck Soup, The King of Comedy. I could be here all day. Now I'm not saying that the above mentioned films are all about sentiment, definitely not. But they all deal with light-hearted themes at one point or another. I can't really think of one film, comedies and musicals aside, that have one consistent light-hearted tone throughout.
So anyway, if you'd like to respond do so, but try to avoid those ignorant little insults you seem to like so much, it makes you sound like a troglodyte.
Regarding the "smelly elitist" insult: just because my insults are overt doesn't make your subtle under-handed nose-thumbing any less of an insult. You said: "I re-read your first comment and noticed you accused the Coen's of making "pointless, nihilist" films in the past. If this is how you really feel about their past work, I think it speaks volumes about your ability to appreciate and understand great cinema." First off, that's a snobby insult if I've ever heard one. "Well, CLEARLY you don't GET great cinema, PHILISTINE." Right, because I correctly pointed out that Burn After Reading and No Country For Old Men have nihilist themes? I've supported my assertions and you've done nothing to counter them other than effectively call me a boor with your nose high and eyes closed. So, stop pretending you're on a horse when we're both clearly in the mud.
I refer back to your original "review": "Way too light-hearted and sentimental." I maintain that this is a stupid reason not to like the movie and wonder how you would have preferred it. Again, the source material was light-hearted and sentimental, so if you don't like it, your disagreement is with Portis not with the Coens, unless you think they should have "darkened it up" by having Mattie die in the hole while Rooster questions his existence. It is legitimate to critique the way the Coens adapted the book, but your original comment, as quoted above, does not do this, and this is what I was calling out.
As to Ethan's comment on the source, I still don't think that clearly says the book was more violent than the movie. You're making a jump. It may be an easy jump to make, but it's still a jump. Let's look at it one more time:
"The book is quite violent, but the level of violence was a consideration for us in a way that it has not been in the past,” Ethan said, in part because the PG-13 rating will open up the movie for audiences beyond their fan base. “compared to what you see on HBO it’s quite tame.”
Nowhere in there does he actually say they toned down the violence. All he says is that the level of violence WAS A CONSIDERATION for them in a way that it hadn't been in past R-rated films. (You make your jump here, dude.) What this could mean is two things: either you're right, and they cut out some of the violence (which Ethan doesn't explicitly say). Or, that they shot it or edited it in such a way as to not dwell on the violence as they might for an R-rated film. As I've pointed out, I can't think of a single violent scene from the book that they left out, so I think a better interpretation of what Ethan said is that they had to shoot the violent scenes differently. You've still got the fingers being chopped off, the man stabbed in the chest. You've got the gunfights and the snakebites. You said: "As someone who has read the book many times he is CLEARLY making the statement that THE BOOK IS MORE VIOLENT THAN THE MOVIE." Nope, not clearly, and ultimately, given the evidence of the film as final result, not at all. JUMP!
I'm glad to hear you're not against sentiment, but then I wonder if you would elaborate on your original criticism that the movie was "too sentimental."
I've never heard the term "troglodyte" used without it sounding pretentious. For what it's worth.
Well, the insults continue. I will defend my comment about you not understanding great cinema because the statement you made was so blatantly ignorant. To refresh everyone's memory, you said that the Coen's make "pointless" films. That statement, I think most would agree, is ridiculous. I'm not saying there aren't nihilist themes, there are, but pointless? Even you must agree that was a rash, poorly thought-out and unfounded criticism. Take Fargo for instance, a very grim tale, yes, but pointless? I think not. Look at the characters portrayed by Buscemi and Stormare. Their playing criminals, not terribly different from most criminals depicted in movies. However, unlike most movies, Fargo does not glamorize them. Most gangster films make it seem like the gangsters, the ones who disobey the rules of society, are the people who get real excitement and fulfillment out of life. In Fargo, it's the simple, some would call boring, characters who are the happiest. Like Marge says "there's more to life than a little money, ya know." There's your "meaning" for you.
You say that my compliant that the movie was too light-hearted and sentimental was a stupid reason not to like it. Again, it's not the only reason I wasn't impressed by it. However, on the whole I would say that I do prefer more intense, sometimes dark-themed films more than light. Since True Grit's a western, I'll compare it to The Assassination of Jesse James, which I liked much more. That's a preference, you can't criticize me for liking one type of film over another. And let's forget about the book already. I haven't read it, I never posted a comment saying I didn't like the book, the book is not what we are talking about, let's forget it even exists. It doesn't matter how closely the film follows the book. Who cares? As far as Ethan's quote is concerned? It is clear that they chose to tone down the graphic nature of the violence so that it could get a PG-13. There's no "jump" there. I'm sorry if you can't see that. Out of respect for the dead horse, let's stop beating it.
In an attempt to lay this whole "sentiment" issue to bed, I'll say that, again, I usually prefer darker themed films on the whole. However, sentiment is fine, if the subject matter warrants it. I don't believe that a western about girl who sets out to seek revenge on the man who killed her father warrants a light-hearted, sentimental theme. That's just me.
I'm sorry that you think the word "troglodyte", or any word for that matter, sounds "pretentious." I should probably use more terms like "stupid" and "talking out of your butt."
Well you made this response easy! All I have to do is copy and paste stuff we've already written before.
First off, "the insults continue"? What insults did I lay down in my last post? I did say I thought one of your reasons was stupid, but if we can't have an argument that calls out an opponent's reasoning as bad, then I give up.
You said: "To refresh everyone's memory, you said that the Coen's make "pointless" films. That statement, I think most would agree, is ridiculous."
Let's refresh everyone's memory with an actual quotation, shall we? I said: "Thank God they decided not to remove the meaning to make another pointless nihilist film." And then later identified two movies with nihilist themes, Burn After Reading and No Country For Old Men (and I mentioned that I really liked No Country). You'll note that I didn't say "ALL their movies are pointless and nihilist," and that I later went on to say that I liked most of their films. And I will maintain that Burn After Reading is pointless (I already called out its message and gave reasons, so see above if you would like to fight that one). It has entertaining parts, but no real insightful themes that I could identify. Your example of Fargo isn't applicable, because I never called that pointless OR nihilist, and I love that movie. It may have ugliness and darkness, but it has a bright moral center and hope in Marge and her husband (as you pointed out).
You said: "You say that my compliant that the movie was too light-hearted and sentimental was a stupid reason not to like it. Again, it's not the only reason I wasn't impressed by it."
Yet, your first post was: "First Coen Bros. movie I won't be buying. Major disappointment. Way too light-hearted and sentimental." So, until I challenged you and you elaborated, these were your only two reasons you gave for disliking it, and they must be your primary reasons. This is what I first attacked as stupid.
You said: "I don't believe that a western about girl who sets out to seek revenge on the man who killed her father warrants a light-hearted, sentimental theme. That's just me. " You can't think of any other movies featuring revenge that work with a light-hearted tone? Princess Bride, for example, features several characters out for vengeance, yet it's a very light-hearted movie that I think most would agree works really well. And jeez, if you want to talk Westerns, you must not have seen one made before 1963, because there are hundreds with revenge themes, sentimentality, and light-heartedness (boy I'm tired of typing that term), all working side-by-side in harmony. That's actually kind of a Western them in itself: quick death at the end of a gun and a cheesy 50s cowboy song (maybe Ricky Nelson sings a song in the middle) and Walter Brennan providing comic relief. John Wayne made a million of those.
You said quote "Thank God they decided not to remove the meaning to make another pointless nihilist film." No where in there did you ever specify that you were ONLY talking about Burn After Reading & No Country for Old Men. Yes, you did go on to site those films as examples of what you were talking about, but you did not make it clear that those were the only ones. So, yes, they certainly do have nihilistic themes. Which makes me wonder what you have against that. Certainly the same could be said about many of Woody Allen's films, I am I to assume you don't care for his films either. If you don't particularly care for those themes that's fine, that's your individual taste, but I think it's unfair to criticize the Coen's for incorporating them just because you don't like them.
My primary issues with True Grit are indeed the fact that it was very light-hearted and sentimental. Just as your primary issues with No Country & Burn seem to be that there both nihilistic. I could call your reasons "stupid" but I won't, because that's just your opinion and I respect it.
Sure the Princess Bride is light-hearted but I don't think it's a great movie, good, but not great. As far as John Wayne westerns go, I'd say the same thing. Only I wouldn't describe them as even "good." Oh, I know, everyone LOVES John Wayne and John Ford and it's sacrilege to say anything against them. But the reality is those movies were astoundingly overacted and poorly written. I could barely make it through The Searchers, yeah, I know, it's a "classic." But if I had to watch one more white man put on a little makeup and call himself a Native American I was gonna vomit. Now of course this was 1956 and films have come a long way since then but just look at Sergio Leone's films. Now those are great westerns with very good performances. I wouldn't characterize those films as sentimental.
"If you don't particularly care for those themes that's fine, that's your individual taste, but I think it's unfair to criticize the Coen's for incorporating them just because you don't like them. "
Isn't this the same thing I said about your criticism of True Grit's sentimentality?
However, I will call the Coens to task for nihilist stories, because by definition there's no meaning. The whole value of storytelling is to inspire, encourage, warn, criticize. If a story's point is "there is no point," then what value does it have? Storytelling and art have an important role in the shaping of society, so when a story reflects the value of "life is meaningless" I reject it both as art and as entertainment.
Now we're getting into personal worldviews, but through this discussion it seems that we've arrived here. I go to movies to be entertained primarily, so I'll tolerate empty stories that are entertainingly told (perhaps more than I should), but the ones that resonate with me the most are the ones that tell moral truths. They don't have to be light. The Godfather tells a dark story about the corruption of a man, but it tells the truth about the corruption of power and delusion of good intentions (a simplification, to be sure). Movies like Seven Samurai or To Kill a Mockingbird, on the other hand, inspire me with their depiction of good man acting beyond themselves for something greater (and the films themselves are brilliantly realized). No Country For Old Men, on the other hand, while wonderfully told, features a story that is very difficult to derive meaning from. Sheriff Bell is no Marge; his hope is a mere glimmer to be found in half-remembered dreams, and only if you really strain to see it. His narration is mostly despair at the evil he's seen. Well, I know the world is full of evil. That doesn't help me. Tell me about redemption. Tell me how to overcome evil. Tell me that it's worth fighting even when it looks hopeless. Those are the stories that build any great society, those are the stories we tell children to shape them into better adults.
I disagree with you about Wayne's films. Sure, there were a lot, and less than half are genuinely good films (I've seen my share of yawners and groaners), but the best of them tell good stories and even feature complex characters and moral arguments. Rio Bravo is fascinating as Hawks' response to High Noon, and Dean Martin's character is one of the more unique and interesting I've seen in a Western (and his performance is top notch). Red River is another well-written Wayne movie (another Hawks directed film, too), and Montgomery Clift's character and performance are a revelation. The Cowboys is another with both sentimentality and darkness as the boys learn to be men on the cattle drive (in fact, it gets a little too dark when Bruce Dern attacks Wayne). For a Ford/Wayne team-up without the West, check out The Quiet Man. (The DVD has a god-awful transfer, just a heads-up.)
So here we are, ending the argument with taste, but I do maintain that the Coens' best films avoid the nihilist route and are better for it.