Sometimes, the easiest way to catch sight of the wonder in life is to immerse yourself in a great story. Given a choice of how to be served one, I’d pick a good novel over anything else. But as much as I enjoy reading, I am also a fan of the cinema, and if a quality novel isn’t within reach, a movie will do just fine. Whether I’m planting myself in the center of the center row of a theater or settling down to a DVD on the laptop, a good film thrills me as much as a good book. I’m not one of those readers who spurns film – in my opinion, they’re family. The film is the scrappy nephew to Uncle Novel.
Thus, each Friday, Wonderstuff will celebrate a film. Unlike today, most of these will be movies you can snag for yourself on Netflix or the Redbox (my theater-going is limited in Germany). Nevertheless, I highly recommend each film. If you have yet to experience it, I’ll give you five good reasons why you should delay no longer.
Visiting the States for Christmas meant that I could catch a couple of Best Picture Academy Award contenders (’tis the season, you know). The first one I caught was the Coen Brothers’ remake of True Grit. The purists and traditionalists alike will cry foul on the Coens for tampering with the classic western that nabbed John Wayne his only Oscar, but Joel and Ethan compose the two-man genius machine behind such new classics as Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and No Country For Old Men, not to mention the brilliant A Serious Man. I’m not a fan of this trend of remakes either, but I was willing to give the Coens the benefit of the doubt. I’m glad I did.
Five good reasons to go see True Grit:
#2 – A phenomenal supporting cast, including compelling turns by Matt Damon and Barry Pepper.
#3 – The music. Old-timey variations on “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and other traditional hymns provides a gorgeous background to a rough-and-tumble story.
#4 – The old-timer in the bear fur. This is what makes westerns so fun.
#5 – A deftly drawn Old West narrative in the capable hands of the Coens – a oddysey that lightly and fearlessly explores issues of vengeance, purpose and belonging. This is what makes westerns so beautiful.