Monday, December 27, 2010

"I've never been so scared in my life. But at least I have a husband!"

Yes, I'm watching Airplane! again. And it's still as funny as ever. I realize this may not be the most productive way to spend a day off, but I don't care.

I'll get there fast and then I'll take it slow

One of the first non-holiday songs to come through my shower radio, and it put me in the mood for my Key West getaway later this week.

I'd like to thank whoever is in charge of weather for making it clear and in the 70s down there all this week. Just what the doctor ordered!

But what was the point?

While I recognize that John Wayne is an iconic movie star, I've never been a big fan. Like Bogart, Wayne is more star than actor, and like Bogie, Wayne's screen persona generally leaves me cold. And as with Bogart and Casablanca and The African Queen, there is the rare John Wayne performance that captivated me: his Oscar-winning turn in True Grit.

"Fill yer hands, you sonovabitch!"

Jeff Bridges is more actor than movie star. There's no "typical" Jeff Bridges performance, no screen persona he inhabits. Small town bad boy in The Last Picture Show, injured but still ethical football player in Against All Odds, remorseless killer in Jagged Edge, and, of course, Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges has disappeared into his characters and captured my imagination in role after role for the last 40 years.

But this time, he suffers in comparison to John Wayne. Matt Damon is so good as LeBeuf, miles better than Glen Campbell in the original. And Hailee Steinfeld as Maddie is a delight because she is a real girl, not a twenty-something playing a girl, the way Kim Darby did in the original. I kept wishing Damon and Steinfeld could have been in the original True Grit with the real Rooster Cogburn.

So if you enjoyed the original True Grit as much as I did, skip the remake.