TRUE GRIT TIMES TWO
By Natalie Bright
Writing Exercise #1.
Develop a new twist on the characterization of an iconic character.
On a cold, foggy Saturday this past weekend, my husband popped in True Grit (TG#2) starring Jeff Bridges. Later that afternoon John Wayne’s True Grit, from 1969, (TG#1) happened to be on television. Over dinner we talked about the differences between the two movies.
My husband made a good point in that Bridges played a meaner, darker version of a crusty, old Marshall, which is why he likes TG#2 better. Directed by the Coen brothers and released in 2010, I agree that TG#2 is more realistic to the old west. It never made sense to me that the Marshall would have walked that far in TG#1. In TG#2 they rode Little Blacky to death first and then Mattie was carried by the Marshall on foot to save her life.
On Sunday afternoon, we introduced my son’s girlfriend to The Cowboys (1972) with John Wayne. If you don’t own the blue-ray version of this movie, you must find it. Filmed on locations in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico the scenery stands out as a character on its own. TV reruns don’t do these ranches and sweeping landscapes justice. Roscoe Lee Browne is my favorite character as the chuck wagon cookie, and I’ve had a crush on A. Martinez as Cimarron from the moment he defiantly proclaims, “I’m a mistake of nature.” This movie is so good. Tommy Lee Jones is reportedly writing a new screenplay for The Cowboys. I’m happy/sad about that news.
To sum up our weekend, my 18yo likes TG#1 and TG#2 equally as well. His girlfriend loved The Cowboys. Our 14yo tells me he’s not really into John Wayne, but he really likes that new Netflix show Lonesome Dove (What? I thought he only watched Walking Dead). I’m so glad new generations are discovering these “new” western type shows! When’s the last time you watched a good ole’ family western?
Writing Exercise #2.
Using one of your own characters, rework the description into something more… more dark, more funny, more brave. Dig deep into their personality and motives, and see what you can find hiding there.
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Natalie, love your blog. I agree with your take on the two TRUE GRITS. Lots of differences. I think with #1 everyone was steering away from showing the harshness of the times. People were locked in a strange mindset back then. Lucy and Ricky still slept in twin beds. And in action movies they didn’t show very much blood at all. Most times the camera moved away after someone got shot. We were TOO protected.
THE COWBOYS is my favorite John Wayne movie of all time. I cry every time I watch those young boys heading out on the cattle drive. Some were just babies. But they wanted to prove themselves. To become men. And John Wayne’s acting was superb in this. I loved Roscoe! Great character. I already know I won’t like any remake if it happens. You can’t beat perfection.
I watched THE REVENANT on Saturday. If you want realism, you’ll love this one. I thought it was very good but Molly hated it. This is one you’ll either love or hate. No middle ground.
Gene Autry the best Tom Mix is another one