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.