Thumbs Way Up For the New “True Grit” and Huge Book Giveaway


My baby loves the Western movies, and a good one is hard to find these day.  We saw one this week, and it’s excellent.  Clyde and I remember seeing the original “True Grit” when it came out.  Ah, 1969.  (But that’s another story.)  I think the original version of the movie is considered a classic mostly because John Wayne won his only Oscar for his role as Marshal Rooster Cogburn.  [Insert confession—JW was never more than an okay cowboy in my book.  He didn’t walk the walk, frankly.  There’s a cowboy walk, and the Duke didn’t have it.  But oh well.  He was John Wayne.]  By my standard, the ‘69 version was fair to middlin’.  It was Rooster’s story.  Rooster is an aging, cantankerous drunk who has maybe one more manhunt in him, doesn’t have much to lose, is still pretty good with a gun even if he only has one eye.  He’s between jobs, so he hires out to find 14-year-old Mattie Ross’s father’s murderer.  They are joined by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf, and the story becomes a classic quest.  While the original is a classic Western movie, the new version is so much more.  For starters, it’s a Coen brothers  film.  [Insert another confession:  I never miss a Coen brothers film.]  But it’s not at all what you’ve come to expect from the Coens.  Oh, yes, it’s smart and funny and peopled with wonderful characters, but it’s also a true Western—the brothers’ first.


“True Grit,” by Charles Portis, was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post and later revised as a novel and printed in book form in 1968.  Unlike the original version, the new movie is faithful to the book.  It’s Mattie’s story.  She’s the one with true grit.  It’s still a fairly simple story, still a quest, are the characters are complex—not a stereotype or predictable type in the bunch, not even the secondary characters.  And it’s all about characters whose layers serve as the building blocks of the world they live in.  Not that there isn’t plenty of action—lots of breath-stealing moments—but Jeff Bridges was born to play Cogburn, and it’s hard to believe that 13-year-old Hailee Steinfeld is new to the movie biz.  Put them together with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper, and you have one heck of a cast.  Then there’s the superb script.  The dialogue is true to the book and apparently reflective of the period.  It’s rich, lively, colorful.  It reminded me of HBO’s “Deadwood” but without the cussing.  In many ways typically Coen, the end will surprise you, but that, too, is true to the book.  Don’t wait for the DVD.  “True Grit” is well worth the price of a movie ticket.

We’ve rented some DVD duds lately, but one I highly recommend is “Town,” with Ben Affleck—who does a passable Boston accent—Jeremy Renner, who sounds like he was born in Charlestown, and Jon Hamm, who gets away without trying to do the accent.  His character is an outsider, and he’s, well, Jon Hamm.  This is a cops-and-robbers story, but, again, complex characters, a gritty setting, and realistic action ( a believable car chase scene through the streets of the city—what a concept!)  that make the story.

Talk movies with us.  What have you seen lately?  Don’t be afraid to point thumbs.  Any Oscar predictions?


Just a few more days to get in on our Shower Of Books!  We’re celebrating our road trip to our new WordPress location.  Among the 18 or 19 autographed books showering the winner’s mailbox will be DEADLY INTENT and WAKING NIGHTMARE from Kylie Brant, three wonderful books from the Belle Books catalog, SEDUCING THE VAMPIRE, Lois Greiman’s ONE HOT MESS, DEADLY PROMISES, an anthology that includes stories by NYT bestsellers Cindy Gerard and Sherrilyn Kenyon, and three of my own most recent books.  And more.  A veritable deluge of good reading.  Comment today.  Comment over the weekend.  Comment on Monda until Christie calls for the blindfold and plucks a name from the possibles bag.  And bookmark us at this address.  Who doesn’t long to fold back the top and ride the open highway with this bunch?

Happy reading in 2011!


About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in Ben Affleck, cops and robbers, Cowboys, Jeff Bridges, jon hamm, matt damon, movie review, movies, prize, True Grit, Westerns. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Thumbs Way Up For the New “True Grit” and Huge Book Giveaway

  1. kris says:

    I just don’t get to the movies to see many grown-up ones and I usually only get to see them on a plane. Recently, I saw Tangled and really enjoyed it (kid movies are hit or miss with me).

  2. Maureen says:

    I had seen the advertisements for True Grit and thought it looked like it might be a good movie. My husband, however, liked the original and is skeptical about the remake. I can’t remember the last movie I saw that I really liked, maybe Alice in Wonderland. Happy New Year!

  3. Laney4 says:

    This is embarrassing. I don’t watch movies very often and when I do, they are on TV as I’m flipping channels. I watch the people who star in the movies when they are on talk shows, but alas, I am “just” watching July/10 right now, so I am not current. (It is on my “to-do” list to finally get caught up on my shows, and I’m going big guns on it right now. Wish me luck!) So … I will be watching the movie trailers during the next couple of months and THEN might have an idea of what I’d like to see (when it comes on TV so I can fast-forward through boring parts and commercials, plus pause to take breaks). To tell you how far behind I am, I am currently watching Elizabeth Edwards do an interview on Larry King! (It was really weird watching all the Michael Jackson coverage several months after he passed away last year!)
    BTW, I’m glad Jeff Bridges got another big role, as sometimes winning an Oscar can be the kiss of death for a movie star’s career, amazingly enough. It DOES seem like a role in which he could excel.

    • I’m chuckling about this, Laney. We haven’t gotten into the TV recording technology. I don’t know what I’d record. When I flip through the gobs of cable channels I find so little that looks interesting these days. I’d probably be watching 6 month old news.

  4. cindygerard says:

    Great review, Kathy. I NEED to see this movie. My hubby isn’t one to go to see a movie but I’m thinking I can get him to this one – he DOES have the cowboy walk down – LOL. And I know he’d enjoy it because he enjoyed the first TRUE GRIT. I always thought that movie, however, was a platform to launch Glen Campbell into the movie biz since his singing career was so hot then. Didn’t work :o) But I do love me some Duke Wayne.

    I saw The Town also and thought it was great!. Best thing Ben Afleck has done in ages – he produced that movie too, did you know? And the reason the Boston accent worked for him – he’s from Boston, if I remember correctly. As for John Hamm – OMG. The man is to die for, I don’t care if he did a soap commercial, I’d watch him.

    Just watched Lord of War last night on TV. Nicholas Cage – very good. Very disturbing.

    • You’ll both enjoy TG. I saw Lord Of War when it came out on DVD, and while I’m not a big Nicholas Cage fan, that one really stuck with me. It really is disturbing and from what I’ve read since too true. Sadly, scarily true. Not only that but I just read that the U.S.’s biggest exports in legal sales are planes and weapons.

      If you haven’t seen it, guys, Lord Of War is about an American who deals in weapons in places like Africa. It’s chilling.

    • Kinda think Ben Affleck’s best work has been behind the camera. He and Matt Damon wrote Good Will Hunting. Damon is such a fine actor, but Affleck can be hit and miss. I think he was a transplant to Boston–I know he’s a big BoSox fan. He didn’t re-create the accent quite as naturally as Renner did.

      Renner was terrific in The Hurt Locker, and the standout in Town as well. Man, can he do the tough guy role.

  5. Stephenia says:

    I think we’re going to watch True Grit this weekend, glad to hear you enjoyed it. Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges are both favorite actors of mine and there just aren’t many good westerns out anymore – the last I remember was The Train to Yuma ( or something like that, with Russell Crow). I somehow missed hearing about “Town” – thanks for the tip!

  6. ellie says:

    I will be seeing True Grit and thanks for this post. I rarely see movies but I enjoy many foreign films which are memorable. My fave would be Cinema Paradiso.

  7. michelehauf says:

    I’ve seen Tangled twice in the past week. I love it that much. And I might see it again. Great dialogue. Simple but perfect plot with clear goals. Perfect facial expressions (so much is said without saying it). A to-die-for hero. A feisty determined heroine. Sigh…

    Have seen the most movies this year that I’ve seen ever (I keep a journal of all movies I see) since I’ve signed up for NetFlix and have been streaming a lot lately. Lots of documentaries. A few I liked: The Cove, The September Issue, King Corn, Bottle Shock

  8. Minna says:

    Whatever movies they have made this year I’ll be seeing in a year or two on tv. Or if I get them on DVD, I might see them a bit sooner.

  9. susan wilson says:

    Just watched Inception and haven’t a clue what just happened.
    Surprised to say I actually enjoyed Avatar this year, even disguised in blue, Sam Worthington is still yummy!

    • We just watched Inception, too! I almost included it in this post, but I think I’ll watch it again first. The special effects are amazing, but the story is really hard to follow, and it’s definitely not character-driven. Since I want character and story, this kind of movie isn’t one that would normally bear a second time through for me. But the concept is so intriguing!

  10. Kylie Brant says:

    I just don’t get the hubby over to see movies very often, and our town caters to the Middle School crowd. The last one I saw was Red, which was very enjoyable. I surprised myself by really liking one of the Christmas DVDs we watched, Going the Distance. Not a Drew Barrymore fan (and boy does she look rough) but do love the comedians in the movie. Liked it a lot!

  11. catslady says:

    I don’t get to the movies too often but Neflix is great. We are going do dinner and a movie tonight but with 15 friends and family. The problem is trying to please all those different personalities and finding something that others haven’t seen. The winner was The Little Fockers. I was opting for The Tourist or True Grit. I did get to see Avatar (my favorite) and Inception (2nd favorite) this year.

  12. runner10 says:

    True Grit sounds like a great movie. I’d like to see Country Strong.

  13. LSUReader says:

    A few days ago we saw a very good movie–The King’s Speech, with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. It is about how the future King George VI of Britain faced his fears to overcome a speech impediment. It’s an old fashioned movie, with characters in the forefront. The actors are marvelous. I highly recommend it.

    Kathleen, you said you were not impressed by John Wayne in Westerns. Did you ever see the 1939 Stagecoach, with a very young JW as the Ringo Kid? If not, you should.

  14. Kirsten says:

    I only watched a few Christmas movies. Christmas Mail, Snowglobe, Holiday in Handcuffs. They where ok but I liked the idea of them better than the actual movies. The Christmas images where nice though. And it’s kinda part of the holidays watching a xmas movie.

  15. I can’t wait to see The King’s Speech! I was hoping for another movie this week, but had to host a couple of play dates and last night an endless sleepover. (Notice how late I posted last night.) But The King’s Speech is next.

    I’ve seen Stagecoach, but it’s been quite a while. It’s a real classic. Between Westerns and war movies, I guess I grew up with the Duke. It was always fun seeing him with Maureen O’Hara, and The Cowboys (cattle drive with an older JW herding cattle and teen-age drovers) and The Shootist were two of his best.

    Back in the early 70’s Wayne made public statements about American Indians that disappointed me enormously. He was always pretty outspoken, but his comments made big news at a time Indians were just beginning to emerge from America’s historical rubble. They could have used his support, especially since he profited from cowboy and Indian mythology. And remember I say this as one who loves Westerns.

  16. Jane says:

    I saw “Black Swan” on Christmas and I really liked it. I do think Natalie Portman has a great chance to win a few Best Actress awards. “Easy A” is a great movie, too. Emma Stone gives a nice performance. I’m hoping to see “Blue Valentine” soon. Haven’t seen “The Fighter,” but I heard Christian Bale is amazing in it.

  17. Nicola Marsh says:

    School holidays means loads of family movie nights and we’ve just seen Night at the Museum 1 & 2.

    To watch a 7 yo’s face light up when those exhibits come alive is priceless!

    And I love how kiddie movies have special zinger lines just for adults 🙂

    • I still have to see “Tangled” with the kids. I’ve heard that it’s just as enjoyable for adults. The trailers certainly look delicious.

      We loved the Night movies, too. I’d love to be the night watchman at either of those wonderful museums. They’ve both been favorite destinations for me since really early on.

  18. Quilt Lady says:

    We don’t go to the movies at all. Its has even been quite sometime since we rented a movie, I think hubby wants to rent some this weekend though.

  19. Linda Henderson says:

    I don’t usually go to the movies and I just haven’t made up my mind about True Grit. I just don’t think it can replace the original John Wayne version. I watched Despicable Me with my grandkids the other night and it was better than I thought it would be. Of course they had to watch it twice, one right after the other. Other than that I just watch whatever is on HBO, Showtime or Starz.

    • I’ll have to post the watermelon version my son and grandson made of the Despicable Me critter. It was adorable. And delicious.

      No kidding, Linda, the two Trues are two different movies. One doesn’t replace the other. You’ll see.

  20. cindygerard says:

    Hey Kathy and all – I talked the hubby into a Matinee showing of True Grit. We LOVED it!!! Thanks so much for the rec!

  21. Dina says:

    we loved Tron Legacy. Narina was ok, not as good as pasts.

  22. elaing8 says:

    I rather watch tv then watch a movie. The last movie I saw the Jack Black movie Gulliver’s Travel.It was pretty good.
    And the movie before that I saw Eclipse.

  23. Dawn McClure says:

    I want to see the movie True Grit, but hubby is such a die hard JW fan, he doesn’t think the re-make will be better. So…I’ll go see it with a friend. 🙂

    I usually watch more sitcoms than movies. Mainly reality shows.

  24. Donna S says:

    Sad to say I havent seen much new recently. The last movie I saw was Letters to Juliet at the cheap show. It was a good movie though. Highly recommend. I have watched some older ones on tv. And Im looking forward to finally seeing the new HP and Little Fockers.

    Happy New Year!!

  25. waitingforthecall says:

    The original True Grit was the first film I even saw in a cinema. We were meant to see Bambi, but the queue was too long so Mum took us to the other film showing instead. Good thing, too, Bambi would have made me sob!

    I looooove the Coen Brother’s films, so this version is a must-see for me!

    Happy 2011, and the new blog looks fab!

  26. Terri says:

    I haven’t been to the movie theatre for a long time!

    I would love to see True Grit (my parents saw this and The Tourist)!

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