December 2, 2010, - 2:47 pm

“True Grit,” New v. Old: Will You Go To the Remake?

By Debbie Schlussel

One of the biggest, most-hyped movies for the Christmas holiday season is the Ethan and Joel Coen remake of “True Grit,” starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon.  Many people regard the original 1969 version, starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell, as the consummate American Western.  I’ve seen the remake, and can’t post my review until it debuts on December 22nd.  Stay tuned.  For now, watch the trailer below (followed by the trailer for the 1969 original), and let us know in the comments if you saw the original, whether you liked the original, and whether you plan to see the remake.  Why or why not?  For some of you, Matt Damon movies are anathema because of his uber-Marxist, Howard Zinn-infected politics.  If that’s the case, let us know.  “I feel ya.”  For others, will Matt Damon’s keep you from seeing it, even if  you find the reviews end up more favorable than not?

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48 Responses

I do not plan to see any of the new movies that come out at all. When you go to movies now there is always a “hate America, left leaning message”. Also the so called “actors” are all from the left and I REFUSE TO SUPPORT THEM!

I say boycott all of the movies. Also the so called “actors” all mumble and you have trouble understanding what they say and it seems for the last 10 years or so are very badly written and edited so at times you wonder what is happening so the stories do not make sense. No more Hollywood Classics like the movies of the 20’s, 30’s 40’s and 50’s. They do not have the faces, talent or film making capabilities anymore to make a classic. No more Bette Davis, Clark Gable. Just another sign of our country sinking.

Fred on December 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Fred you hit the nail on the head. Just watching the two trailers side by side, makes me want to buy a Blue Ray version of the original with Duke, Glen, Kim Darby, & Robert Duval. In the trailers Glen Campbell, whom I have met, is far better than Jason Borne trying to look like Teddy R. during his rough rider days. What’s with the stupid derby on Brooster good heavens. In addition to all this, I will not spend my fast worthless dollars, hard earned as they are, to support comrade Damon or comrade brolin.

    ChickasawMan on December 3, 2010 at 1:11 am

The worst thing about remakes is the lack of originality from Hollywood. If you have to rip off the classics, trust me, there’s nothing new there worth watching.

NormanF on December 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Exactly right, Norman! When I first saw the trailer for this remake of a classic, I thought, “Does anyone in Hollywood have an original idea anymore?” Instead they produce remakes of other people’s original ideas, and even then they are rarely even close to being as good as the original. Personally, I’ll stick to the classic, which I still remember from my childhood. As for Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, the faster their 15 minutes of fame is over, the better I’ll like it.

    DG in GA on December 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

No!!! And the reason…Hollywood.

YeahRight on December 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm

With Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, True Grit risks becoming True S***.

Not Ovenready on December 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Why is there a remake?

What’s wrong with the original?

John Robert Mallernee on December 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm

John Wayne and Glen Campbell were the epitome of the aging marshal and young Ranger one of the best westerns made.
I agree with NormanF, No originality from the hollywood left.
No I will not waste my money on this trash……………

Dick Hamilton on December 2, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I won’t pay to see anything that has Matt Damon in it. He’s so clueless; just another celebutard that I won’t spend money on.

Laura on December 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Pass… especially when Josh Brolin and Matt Damon have their man-card revoked due to their utter stupidity. They should have left the westerns to the professionals (i.e. The Duke,Jack Ford, et al).

Pats on December 2, 2010 at 6:58 pm

As if. As if.

What next, the Hannah Montana CASABLANCA? The Kardashians in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY? John Goodman as Tevye the Dairyman?


Mack on December 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I saw the original shortly after it came out, at Grauman’s Chinese theater. I was 11 years old, and 41 years later, I distinctly remember the best thing about it being Elmer Bernstein’s rousing score. Particularly the part that begins at 3:18 in the above trailer.

I’ve noticed that this remake is going to feature incidental “music” by Carter Burwell, the same no-talent hack who scored just about all of the Coen brother’s films. I believe I’ll pass on this.

Irving on December 2, 2010 at 8:56 pm

I fail to understand the ego of the Hollyweird types who seem driven to remake films which are classic and unimprovable. We have at least two thrown at us each year, and on each occasion, were you within earshot, you’d hear a loud groan eminating from my location. There are two reasons for this silly exercise: laziness and sacrelige.

Kent on December 2, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I never saw the original. I do love the films of Joel and Ethan Coen though…can’t stand pit-bull faced Matt Damon. Hmmm…I dunno. Looking forward to your review though.

Skunky on December 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I had heard a rumor some time back and it looks like it is true. Notice the eye patch. John Wayne had it on the left eye, so he saw the world with a “right” view. Jeff bridges has switched it and see’s the world from the “left” perspective.

That’s all I need to know, that this is just another anti-American, anti-Second Amendment, lefty hollywood movie. They will use the prop of “justice”and “revenge” to put forth how evil guns are and that more law and government is needed.

No thank you.

ender on December 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Even though Kim Darby was not the best actress of her day,
she is miles ahead of this new gal. The book specifically says
Mattie is 16 and new girl doesn’t look a day over 13.
A 13 year old could never look out for herself the way
Darby’s 16 year old Mattie could and did.
In the words of Rush, “I hope it fails!”.

elaine steffek on December 3, 2010 at 12:00 am

    You have GOT to be JOKING … Hailee Steinfield acting was SOLAR CIRCLES around Kim Darby and even IF it’s the ONLY role SHE ever gets to do (which is highly doubtful!!) it is so well done and memorable that you can’t even COMPARE it to Kim Darby’s rendition.
    and how many other roles did Kim Darby ever have ?? Yeah, I thought so …

    TexasGal on April 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I fell asleep during the trailer for the new one, so I probably shouldn’t go see it.

CornCoLeo on December 3, 2010 at 12:15 am

I frigging HATE Matt Damon,but damn,this remake looks GRITTIER than the original.

I’ve seen the original 3x and have the dvd.
I think Kim Darby was an outstanding Mattie Ross,not so sure about this new girl.
Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper were excellent in their roles as well,not sure if the new actors bring as much to their character as they did.

I hate the fact that I’m interested in seeing this movie,and I refuse to support Hollywood and their agenda,so no,I won’t go see it.

It does look badass though.

ebayer on December 3, 2010 at 12:51 am

Speaking of the Duke’s “right-seeing” eye patch, it’s now a treasured possession of the Great One, Mark Levin, who adores John Wayne.

Redwine on December 3, 2010 at 1:00 am

I’ve seen all the Coen brothers’ movies and I don’t have a problem with them. I won’t let Matt Damon keep me away from this one.

sr on December 3, 2010 at 6:54 am

Well, if one is making a John Wayne movie without John Wayne, then they already start well behind the pace. Hollywood, therefore needing to put people in to the movie who would make me want to attend, instead respond with Josh Brolin and Matt Damon. Forget it. Like Jimmy Kimmel, I can’t seem to find the time for Matt Damon.

For me, I’d rather see The King’s Speech, about the great George VI, and The Fighter, about one of my retired boxing favorites, body-puncher Micky Ward – out next week.

Brian R. on December 3, 2010 at 7:11 am

Well I for one am really looking forward to it – I agree that Matt Damon is not my ideal movie star, but have always liked Jeff Bridges (don’t know his politics), esp. his recent “Crazy Heart” performance.
Country music and Westerns – they symbolise the US to me, so I want to support this movie in the hope that it’s a success & we get more of the same.
Davieboy (Americanophile from the UK)

Davieboy on December 3, 2010 at 8:25 am

I believe in divorcing an actor’s politics from performance. It looks like a good film, an adult film, so I’ll be going. I am quite fond of the original. Even read the book when I was a kid. Bridges looks great in the role. Watched the original trailer again, too. It’s so great to see Robert Duvall and John Wayne in the same scene.

Fleiter on December 3, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I’ll divorce an actor’s politics from his performance when he does. If an actor believes that the mere fact of his celebrity entitles him to speak out on the political issues of the day, then he runs the risk of the public turning off and choosing not to support his career. I prefer not knowing what an actor’s (or any other performer’s) politics are. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

    DG in GA on December 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I may watch it when it gets to Redbox. I agree with other posts about the music and character portrayal shown in the two trailers.

Having seen the trailer for the new version recently (seeing “The Next 3 Days”), I was intrigued. Seeing the two trailers next to each other, no contest. The original shows the evil of mankind but calls the viewer to a higher good. The remake looks dark all the way through.

Manfred on December 3, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’ve seen the original and really like it. That said, Campbell’s performance is strained. Even the lines Campbell says in the trailer are weak. The strength of the original is the John Wayne’s performance. He pulled off the roll by being bigger than life.

I don’t like Hollywood politics, or Hollywood employees… I haven’t seen any recent movies(with the exception of The 300, and Avatar), because they’re mostly remakes, or rip on America parties.

I will go and see this remake of True Grit though. After seeing the trailer I was drawn into the feel of the new movie. It seems a little darker. Damon seems more natural in the roll than Campbell. I’m worried that Bridges will not dominate his roll the way that John Wayne did. Overall I think Hollywood has grown up (production wise) and can pull off a great looking movie. They still need to mature to the point where their views match the rest of the country. I’ll use Avatar as an example. Great looking movie… Absolutely terrible and toxic plot. Why was the junk they were mining so valuable? Not stated. Did they even ask the blue tigers about removing the ore? No. Let’s say the ore provided the materials for cures to all sickness and cancers in children. Oh yeah, now all of the people who were cheering when the blue tigers were beating the American soldiers would be calling for B-52 carpet bombing of the “Nobel Blue Savages.”

I’m hoping that this movie will fall in line with Tombstone as a modern classic. Who knows if Hollywood can get it right. Even a broken clock gets it right twice a day.

Mat on December 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

I don’t see too many movies these days as there is not much worth watching, but I’ll go to this one since the original was such a great movie and I trust the Coen brothers not to screw it up.

By the way, while “True Grit” is a great movie “The Searchers” is the consummate American Western.

Trainwreck on December 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

Any John Wayne movie can, and should, serve as a template for U.S. foreign policy. 3:10 was good and this looks compelling as well; besides, it has to be better that most of the crap that comes out of hollywierd (Medved ref.).

Rick on December 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

I have no desire whatever to watch hollywood degrade John Wayne’s academy award winning performance.

quietman on December 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    John Wayne won an Academy Award for True Grit … mostly because HE HAD NEVER EVER WON AN OSCAR and he was at the end of his career. That’s it. NO OTHER REASON.

    True Grit with Wayne was just a passable Western, much like others of the time …

    John Wayne was an actor of that era. People, he wasn’t REALLY a war hero or a real cowboy or anything else …JUST AN ACTOR

    TexasGal on April 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

The Academy had missed the chance to give John Wayne recognition, and jumped at the chance of finally rewarding him an Oscar, even if it was for playing a parody of himself. I recall it being a light, comedic western, somewhat in the same vein as Cat Ballou. (The trailer supports this view)

Unfortunately, it seems dated, and stagey. My standard for a Western that doesn’t age is Clint Eastwood’s 1976 masterpiece “The Outlaw Josey Wales” which has better sets and more realistic-loooking characters. This new version looks to combine the best of both these movies.

I’ll hold my nose and get past Matt Damon. But I have my standards – if Sean Penn had been cast, I wouldn’t see it unless they paid me in silver dollars..

Salek Orzechowski on December 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

The appeal of the Coen Brothers’ movies is absolutely beyond me, but I’m biased. I have the pleasure of having grown up with their cousins on their Mom’s (Z”L) side, and I so having actually known their parents, “A Serious Man” made me want to puke. When it really comes down to it, from “Blood Simple” to “Fargo” to “No Country for Old Men,” (and others in between), they really just keep making the same movie over and over again. “True Grit” follows the same oeuvre, just another “chase movie” set in the American West. Not so clever or serious are those two “men.”

Michael on December 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm

“Matt Damon movies are anathema because of his uber-Marxist, Howard Zinn-infected politics.”

What Hollywood actor isn’t “uber-Marxist”? Robert Redford? Clint Eastwood? Nah. They both suffer from that Leftist disease that thinks it’s being pro-Western while it is simultaneously and assiduously undermining the West.

I don’t base my movie-watching on the politics of the actors/producers/directors. If I did, I’d stop watching movies and TV altogether. I just see Leftist actors/producers/directors for what they are: talented spinners of fantasy. And don’t tell me Liam Neeson is an exception. Until I see Liam Neeson produce and act in a movie explicitly taking on MUSLIMS (instead of amorphous Slavic kidnappers), he’s just another phony.

Hesperado on December 4, 2010 at 3:10 am

Speaking of Liam Neeson, I must have been psychic. The very next day, this story came out:

“Narnia fans’ fury after Liam Neeson claims Aslan – the symbol of Christ – could also be Mohammed,” by Tamara Cohen and Simon Caldwell in the Daily Mail.

Looks like Liam is just as deformed by PC MC as the next arty-farty hunk.

Hesperado on December 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Send that crap straight to the $1.99 DVD box at wal mart.

Joe on December 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm

No I will not watch the new movie. A. Don’t mess with the Duke. B. The star “jeff Bridges” is farthest I can see from the strong man needed for the role. C. Matt Damon has some views I can’t support and seeing the film supports him. D. Hollywood needs to start coming up with some of their own original stuff and leave the “classics” alone. E. Isn’t that enough???

OldCowboy on December 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Wow – I really hope you people re-read some of your comments and bow your heads down in shame, because some of these posts happen to be some of the most ignorant, dim-witted and even border-line absurdist remarks I’ve read in a while. I know it’s quite easy to get onto the “hate-train” but please – have some tact.

One little issue that I have Ms. Schlussel’s original post (And this is a key error which has fueled the onslaught of hateful comments) is the FACT that the Coen Brother’s rendition of the novel is NOT A REMAKE the 1969 version. It is strictly an ADAPTATION of the NOVEL. Duke Wayne fan-boys take heed: You can still watch that movie – no one is getting rid of it.

But your so ill-described Hollywood is not going toe-to-toe with the ’69 version. At ALL. Jeff Bridges is NOT portraying John Wayne. He’s not trying to outwit him, NOR strip him of his legacy (As he sure as hell does have one). He’s portraying Rooster Cogburn – and that’s that.

Now I’ll apologize ahead of time for coming off a tad too off-kilter in my post. I just become thoroughly annoyed when misguided individuals – namely slates of critics – go out of their way to undermine another individual’s artwork. The Coen Brothers aren’t assassinating the classics – they’re creating cinema they love, and the cinema millions of other people love too.

So please get your information straight, and don’t compare The Dude to the The Duke. It’s just not what us intelligent, thoughtful individuals and movie lovers should do.

As far as for the people that keep blindly hating on the 21st Century Hollywood productions, calling them inferior and “gutless renditions of the ‘Golden Era’ of film-making,” please do re-evaluate your “brain-housing group” (As the Devil Dogs call it). To me though – your opinions are just laughable.

TO me an actor’s (like a musician’s) political or personal agenda has no BEARING on his or her professional work. I don’t seek out actors for their “role-model” qualities, I watch movies because, at the end of the day, the men and women that dedicate their lives to the art of cinema are doing a damn fine job doing it. And don’t tell me Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin aren’t fine actors – the statistics speak for themselves.

And don’t sit there shaking your head, repeating in your mind that the actors of the 1930’s-1970’s were some demi-gods, clean as a whistle and immune to criticism. They came at a time when film-making was new and the media-machine was not as rabid as it is now. I guarantee you though, they were not saints. Look at Vivien Leigh, for instance.

Kristijonas on December 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

John Wayne films are no doubt classic works of art, but if he was put in present day films, he would be a terrible actor. He was a pioneer of his time, but times have changed….

Anyway the new version in no way compares to the old, but it was still enjoyable to watch.

The new film was intended to be a movie for entertainment, I don’t want to hear this bull about how its anti-american, liberal, etc etc. All you buffoons who believe that can go back to your little farm houses and play cowboys and indians…this is the 21st century, quit pretending you live in the old West. The government had nothing to do with this movie and no one is pushing their ideas on you.

This just in, John Wayne was just an actor….he was never a hero and even lost his scholarship to USC when he hurt himself bodysurfing. You guys can idolize a fictional character as much as you want, though….It doesn’t change the fact that his movies were solely for entertainment, just as the new True Grit film is.

Rooster on December 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I like to watch new movies very much.Nice post.

Glen on January 15, 2011 at 1:26 am

Proof positive that some movies should not and can not be remade. It was so bad I wanted to just cry.

Pete on February 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Saw the new true grit as soon as it came out, which was 2 days ago here. With all the hype and reviews that I had seen, I was expecting something that would better if not equal the 1969 version. I am so glad to report that as far as I was concerned I could only give it a 4 out of 10 as opposed to a 9 out of 10 for the original. Perhaps I am a little biased as the original ranks in my top 10 films of all time.
The new version was darker, both in content and visually. The latter of course is supposed to add to the western period but it is only when you see the original, do you appreciate the beautiful colour photography and Colorado scenery.
The dialogue in both films is remarkably similar but then the language that Charles Portis uses in his novel must lend itself to this.
John Waynes Rooster was nothing short of brilliant. He fully deserved the oscar for a performance which looked very natural to him. Kim Darby was also excellent in her role. She acted much better as Mattie Ross, coming over as tough, slightly vulnerable yet very capable of handling herself. Not an easy task for any actor but she suceeded where Hailee Steinfield did not. Of course Hailee was a few years younger.
Something I liked about the new version was the attention to detail that the Coen brothers put into all their films. The scene in the Chinaman’s store with the chickens hanging down and Roosters collapsed bed was brilliantly done. You could almost smell the place!
Lastly, Elmer Bernsteins musical score added very much to the original and I still love to hear Glen Campbells opening song ‘True Grit’.

Personally, I don’t think you can improve on perfection and the original was certainly that.

denbo on February 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm

The origional with john wayne was way better. YOU CANT BEAT THE DUKE.

micheal on February 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I don’t know nor care about the politics of the actors in movies. I like what I like. I have always liked most of Jeff Bridges movies and Matt Damons as well, but I really love the old westerns. My dad watched them all the time. The Western Channel was his favorite channel. I would visit with him when he was 90 and watch westerns for hours. He loved the Duke as do I. He is iconic as far as the western is concerned. I will not see the new movie. I just prefer to remember True Grit as a great old Duke movie, as I do all the rest.

D on February 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

WOW wow … what a bunch of over-insulated and mis-informed people here

This Coen Bros True Grit is TRUE TO THE BOOK, people … and not just a “star” vehicle as the original was for John Wayne.

I saw the orig when I was 12 yrs old, I enjoyed it but it was NOT a great movie by ANY measure
I also saw the Coen’s True Grit … it is worth seeing and yes, Jeff Bridges does a great – and different – Cogburn and best of all, Hailee Steinfield runs CIRCLES around Kim Darby. NO COMPARISON, folks !! You’re missing something GOOD if you don’t see THIS True Grit

TexasGal on April 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Wow! watched both movies classic, and remake. Can’t figure out why the movie circuit chooses to do some movies and not others. The remake is more convincing of the old rugged west, and had a much more serious disposition, but when something is done right the first time why redo it? I don’t get this, as I don’t get the hate against Matt Damon. His political perspective is not reflected in the movies, if one ever truly commits to an organization then you can certainly see the loyalty to being a Texas Ranger, you have to know and understand commitment to an organization to empathize (Damon did this well). A “Uber-Marxist” “Howard Zinn” mentality doesn’t exist. Those comments are unneccesary and ignorant, maybe you should get educated to see that an actor plays to his part not to his preferences. I would like to see some originality to movies, not remakes. They were both good movies, but better left alone. John Wayne’s legacy is better left revered, not mimicked.

leaning fwd on June 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I usually like Bridge’s work, but he’s no JW! Sure he was just an actor, but he belived in American exceptionalism. Today’s movies are dark visually and sloppy, slurred speech. As for Matt Damon and Josh Brolin (not because of politics, they’re terrible actors), not that fun to watch.

Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper and Jeff Corey (Tom Chaney) actually knew how to act. Glen’s acting wasn’t the best but he actually added something to the movie.

But I do like Barry Pepper (Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years, Saving Private Ryan). So some modern actors are good.

Pat Murray on August 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I’ve saw the original many times. Yes I liked the original. As far as the remake, I can wait until it premieres on TV, which will be soon!

Pat Murray on August 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm

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