The new True Grit doesn’t get as many laughs in the theater as the genial 1969 version, which was powered by John Wayne’s happy-to-be-alive status as America’s most famous lung-cancer survivor. Shortly after the Surgeon General’s 1964 Report on Smoking, Wayne, a six-pack-a-day man, had to have his left lung and four ribs cut out. At a time when the word “cancer” was assumed to be a death sentence, to most everyone’s surprise (except his own), Wayne, although diminished, was ready for fun on True Grit.
Jeff Bridges, who received his own de facto Career Achievement Oscar last year for playing a drunken country singer in Crazy Heart, does his usual competent, creative job. Still, The Dude doesn’t quite have The Duke’s screen presence. For a force of nature large enough to fill the legendary boots of that “one-eyed fat man” Rooster Cogburn, the Coens might have turned instead to Bridges’s co-star in The Big Lebowski, Walter Sobchak himself, John Goodman.
December 28, 2010
From my review in Taki's Magazine:
Read the whole thing here.