True Wit

23 Dec

Being subjected to a barrage of narratives (mostly by choice)— a Finnish homicide detective and his precariously pregnant American wife (Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson ) , the recent conduct of the US affairs in Afghanistan (Obama’s Wars), a professional thief’s hard life (Andrew Vacchs’s The Weight), a race horse story (Lords of Misrule) a retelling of a biblical story (Joseph Roth’s Job) and the unrelenting news bulletins examining the championship aspirations of the local professional sports teams (Celtics, Patriots and, yea, those Red Sox) left me distracted. Thus, I opted for the guilty pleasure of an early afternoon matinee at my local art house cinema, a short cigar’s walk from my abode.

The Coen Brothers new version of True Grit was playing and to my surprise there were only a handful of people sharing the commodious theater with me. This was, of course, a pleasure though I did become self -conscious when I realized that I was the only person laughing at the foibles and diction of Rooster, Hattie and LaBouef and Ned Pepper in this well told, well presented story. If the blizzard of positive reviews and pitch perfectly executed and edited trailer have not impressed you I fear you are a hard case whom I will not convince. Besides its not my job.

I am curious if anyone has read a negative critique or has a bad word to say about what I think is a close-to-perfection cinematic narrative. Let me know.

One thing, occasionally the subject of the demise of that most American of stories, the Western is revisited, especially with the release of a new one. Wrongheadedly, I think. Granted the Fifties and Sixties saw mostly mediocre formulaic star vehicles, but since the vintage 1969 original True Grit, there has been McCabe and Mrs Miller, Little Big Man, The Wild Bunch, Geronimo, Silverado and, of course, the epic Lonesome Dove.

Demise? What demise?

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