My Wife’s grandma watches the Western Channel. I don’t mean like “she occasionally watches the Western Channel for a quick jaunt down memory lane or because her favorite show was always Bonanza;” I mean all she watches is the Western Channel. Always and forever.
I’m not judging. I think if I had cable I’d probably toggle between Comedy Central, CNN, and the Cartoon Network (but since I don’t, I currently toggle between 30 Rock at 9:30 on Thursday nights and nothing). But it’s because of her sensibilities that I’m recommending the remake of True Grit.
I’ve always enjoyed the Cohen Brothers’ movies. I’m not a huge fan and I won’t go see something just because they made it, but for the most part I generally have a pleasurable experience watching something they put together. True Grit is no different. I might actually say that True Grit is the perfect movie for these fellas.
In every Cohen Brothers’ movie I’ve ever seen, I get bored. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t get distracted, I don’t get taken out of the moment, and I don’t look at my watch. When too much or too little of something is happening (could be wall-to-wall action for 45 minutes or it could be two people sitting in a room discussing politics for 45 minutes) I get distracted; when something happens that is totally unbelievable (could be a form of another suspension of disbelief, it could be a form of a ghost in the machine) I get taken out of the moment; when too much of either one is happening, I look at my watch. Any one of these things can make for a bad movie. Me being bored for three minutes isn’t a deal-breaker (often it means that I don’t understand something about the movie and this boring scene is somehow integral).
In every program on the Western Channel, I also get bored; it’s probably because the pace of storytelling back then was much different than it is now. So when The Brothers decided to remake a western from this slow-paced era, it was a perfect match. The people speak slowly, the action unfolds slowly, and the characters build slowly. There are even lots of dissolves that we just don’t see in modern cinema.
I give it three stars (like I give just about every Cohen Brothers’ film). But for Grandma, I give it four.
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