Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time Changes A Man

I have changed over the years. My hair has grayed a bit. My stomach has grown softer. My desire for hot sauce - stronger. My eyesight has weakened. I'd like to say I'm smarter, but maybe not. One thing is for sure: I once hated Westerns. Hated them. Couldn't and wouldn't watch them. The closest I ever came was Silverado and shoot, that ain't no Western lessen you city folk. You would think that this wouldn't be true. John Carpenter is among my favorite directors and every inspiration he had was born from a Howard Hawks' Western.

But, like I said, times change. And people change. And slowly I have come to love Westerns. It started with Unforgiven. And then expanded to the Leone Westerns. A week ago, I saw the original True Grit for the first time. And tonight I saw the remake. I have steered clear of a lot of Westerns because they involved John Wayne and I am not a fan. I've never really enjoyed what I have seen of him. He is the same character over and over again. And not a good one at that.

My impression of the original True Grit was that I loved the story. Kim Darby was excellent, Glen Campbell was terrible and John Wayne was John Wayne. The dialogue was good, but the delivery poor. It was like a stage performance. People didn't react to eachother as much as they waited to deliver their lines. But that was then, this is now. The remake is fantastic. This movie is very much a Coen movie - ripe with rich characters and witty dialogue. The story was made for them and you feel that they've been working their entire careers for such an opportunity. There were a few instances where I missed the original. And even missed John Wayne. As good as Jeff Bridges was as Cogburn, I felt he threw away the line "fill your hands you son of a bitch" and that is not a line you want to throw away.

So what gives? Has my steely reserve weakened or can taste in movies mature and change? I've known time to put movies to rest, but not to resurrect entire genres? I feel I have evolved. And now an entire pool of movies rests at my feet, waiting for me to jump in. Please feel free to guide me to your favorite Westerns in the comments.


Ross Ruediger said...

My own serious appreciation of westerns was kickstarted by "Unforgiven" as well. The stuff Eastwood did in the '70s was really good, and I'm particualrly partial to "High Plains Drifter."

PIPER said...

Ross, my old friend.

Thanks for the suggestion. I actually own High Plains Drifter for 2 reasons. 1. My brother claims it's one of his favorite movies. 2. I found it really cheap. I'm excited to see it.

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

I too am a huge fan of High Plains Drifter. One of my favorite westerns. The quality of the DVD is pretty poor unfortunately, I really wish it would get a better release. Kind of ticked me off that it was included in the recently release of Clint Eastwood flicks.

High Noon (1952) is another of my favorite westerns. Of course, it isn't really a "typical" western, but I think that is one of the things I love about it.

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

Oh, also, if you haven't seen The Magnificent Seven... I recommend that one as well.

And if you are looking for a comedic western, check out Cat Ballou. It is on Netflix Instant watch and it quite good.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

Two Mules for Sister Sarah

Fletch said...

I'm not a hater of Westerns by any means, but I'm not an aficionado, either. As with most things in my taste catalog, the favorites will come from more modern times (I too recently watched the original Grit and found it not so gritty).

Long story short: Tombstone. Maverick is hardly a Western, but it's a lot of fun. Oh, and Back to the Future III. ;)

Though I'm a sucker for just about any Eastwood flick, classic or no.

Movielocker said...

Thanks a lot for this review. Actually, it is the first about "True Grit" that made me think of taking a look at it- when I first heard about the remake I didn´t want to- but you´re probably right and it´s worth a shot. After all, it´s the Coens.
All the best to you- feel also free to take a look at the blog I´m writing for if you like: