New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 9/9/14

A pretty random assortment this week – I missed Robert Redford’s solo in All is Lost so I hope to catch that shortly.

All is Lost

Action/Adventure: All is Lost

Anime: Digimon Fusion

Roman Holiday

Classic: Roman Holiday, True Grit (1969)

Comedy: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Le Week-End

Documentary: Honor Diaries, I Am Divine, Citizen Koch, I Am, Yangsi

Drama: Kid Cannabis, Refuge, Your Sister’s Sister, The Auction, Getting Go: The Go Doc Project

Family: Big Top Pee-Wee, Hey Arnold! The Movie

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Parts Per Billion

Foreign: Horses of God

Rigor Mortis

Horror: Rigor Mortis

Television: Agnes Varda: From Here to There, The Blacklist, Power Rangers Super Megaforce and new episodes of Ben 10, Last Tango in Halifax, The League, and Trailer Park Boys

Thriller: Twisted (2004), Whitewash

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 3/4/14

Yay! Another new month, another slew of catalog titles on Netflix

Action/Adventure: Blood and Bone, Bobby Z, Desperado, Flyboys, Game of Death, Heaven’s Burning, The Hit List, Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, Last Action Hero, Men in Black II, Over the Top, S.W.A.T. Firefight, Silverado, Spider-Man, Vertical Limit

Dr. Strangelove

Classic: Das Boot: The Director’s Cut, Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider, The Long Goodbye, The Long Hot Summer, Midnight Express, Roman Holiday, Serpico, The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, Thieves Like Us, True Grit (1969)

Comedy: All Wifed Out, As Good as It Gets, The Bad News Bears, Can’t Hardly Wait, The Chaperone, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, It Could Happen to You, Just One of the Guys, Kicking and Screaming, Look Who’s Talking, Look Who’s Talking Too, Mistress, My Boss’s Daughter, Not Another Teen Movie, O.C. and Stiggs, On the Line, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Seems Like Old Times, Shriek if You Know What I Did Friday the 13th, Something’s Gotta Give, The Station Agent, The Sweetest Thing, Two Can Play That Game, While You Were Sleeping, The Wood

Documentary: Inequality for All, 1:1 Thierry Henry, Dogtown and Z-Boys, Into the Mind, Linsanity, Pandora’s Promise

Drama: 28 Days, About Last Night (1985), All the Pretty Horses, Big Sur, Brokedown Palace, Bugsy, Capote, Center Stage, Deal, The Delinquents, Dirty Dancing, Donnie Brasco, Fireproof, The Fisher King, Girl Interrupted, Harsh Times, The Ice Storm, Legendary, Les Miserables (1998), Rachel Getting Married, Return to the Blue Lagoon, Riding in Cars with Boys, The Shunning, A Slipping Down Life, Steel Magnolias, Streamers, The United States of Leland, Valkyrie, Vincent & Theo, You Got Served: Beat the World

Family: Adventures in Zambezia, Arthur and the Invisibles, The Baby Sitters Club, Beethoven’s 2nd, The Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, King Pingu, Open Season 2, Open Season 3, Pingu Slipping and Sliding, Star Kid, Stuart Little, The Swan Princess, The Swan Princess Christmas, The Swan Princess 2: Secret of the Castle

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Final Cut, Ghostbusters 2, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, Starship Troopers Invasion

Foreign: Blood: The Last Vampire, El Mariachi, Schlussmacher, With a Friend Like Harry

Below

Horror: Below, The Blair Witch Project, The Caller, Fright Night (1985), House of the Dead II: All Guts No Glory, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Night of the Living Dead (1990), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Quarantine 2: Terminal, Summer’s Moon, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Zombies of Mass Destruction

Special: Fireplace for Your Home:Cascade Mountain Spring

Television: Pokemon Black & White, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White, Pokemon Indigo League, Rake (2010-12) and a new season of Sabrina the Animated Series

Devil in a Blue Dress

Thriller: Devil in a Blue Dress, Dirty Pretty Things, Edison Force, The Experiment, The Glass House, The Hard Word, The Mothman Prophecies, Panic Room, Vanilla Sky, Wild Things

 

A Tale of Two Grits – Wait Three Grits! And a Rooster!

I admire filmmakers who can revisit material and put their own stamp on it, making a film that has its own identity and is not simply a remake for modern audiences. Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World is a wonderful 50s science fiction monster movie. John Carpenter’s The Thing goes back to the original material and makes a movie where the monster is almost incidental to the paranoia at play. Sadly the modern remake/prequel The Thing (2011) was not very good but I digress.

Wonderfully Netflix streaming has both the iconic 1969 True Grit and the sardonic 2010 True Grit. How do they measure up against each other?

True Grit (1969) – Rated G

“John Wayne landed one of his last great screen roles as crusty lawman Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, who reluctantly helps teenager Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) pursue her father’s killer. True Grit is more a character study than many of Wayne’s formulaic Westerns. The rousing final showdown between Wayne and the villains adds to the Duke’s long list of outstanding movie moments.”

 

True Grit (2010) – Rated PG-13

“After drifter Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires alcoholic U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her exact revenge. The disreputable lawman still has grit, though, and mounts an epic search. Joining the duo on their quest is a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) who’s also hunting for Chaney in this updated Western that received multiple Oscar nods, including Best Picture.”

Academy Awards:

1969: John Wayne won his only Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn. The 1969 version was also nominated for Best Music, Original Song but lost to Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head from Butch Cassidy.

2010: Nominated for a whopping 10 Oscars, it lost every single one: Best Actor (Jeff Bridges), Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld), Best Picture, Writing, Directing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Costume Design and Art Direction.

10 is a lot of Oscars to be nominated for but history only remembers the winners so point goes to True Grit 1969.

Rooster Cogburn – The Duke and The Dude: In spite of this being Wayne’s Oscar-winning performance, it is not his best work. He is having too much fun and there is little nuance to his portrayal. His performances in The Shootist, The Searchers, and The Man who Shot Liberty Valance are better. This is also not Jeff Bridges’ best performance but it is one of his better performances and is quite a bit more nuanced.

Mattie Ross: The part of the precocious yet pugnacious 14-year-old is played in 1969 by a 22-year-old Kim Darby and in 2010 by 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld. Not just for the appropriate age but also for the intensity of the performance, this point easily goes to True Grit 2010. John Wayne himself said Kim Darby was the lousiest actress he ever worked with. Of course that may have been sour grapes as he wanted his daughter Aissa to play Mattie and after she was rejected, he wanted Karen Carpenter for the role. Kim Darby really isn’t that bad – for bad we have to go to our next category.

La Boeuf: The dandy Texas Ranger is played by singer Glen Campbell in True Grit 1969 and by Oscar-winner Matt Damon in 2010. Need you ask? Point: True Grit 2010. Glen Campbell is just awful.

Villains: Jeff Corey vs. Josh Brolin, Robert Duvall vs. Barry Pepper, a very young Dennis Hopper vs. Domhnall Gleeson. I have to give the edge to True Grit 1969.

Sequels: Yes I used the plural! You probably know that John Wayne got to reprise his role of Rooster Cogburn in Rooster Cogburn, starring opposite a wonderful Katherine Hepburn. While a very entertaining film, it was obvious that it owed a lot to The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. In fact Hepburn’s character in Rooster Cogburn is not terribly different from her character in African Queen.

The part I bet you didn’t know was that there was a TV movie True Grit in 1978. It was a failed pilot starring Warren Oates as Rooster Cogburn. Neither Rooster Cogburn nor the TV True Grit are available on instant Netflix. Since Rooster Cogburn is an entertaining sequel, this point goes to True Grit 1969.

Bottom Line: You can’t really go wrong with either version of True Grit. The 1969 version is a pretty straightforward western adventure with an iconic performance by the Duke and a rousing finale. Strangely even though the 1969 version is listed as having a “G” rating, it contains plenty of gun violence, a triple hanging, a man getting his fingers cut off, a man getting stabbed, a man getting bludgeoned, alcohol use and abuse, and a fair amount of profanity. Supposedly it was an edited version that received the ‘G’ rating but I wonder how much was cut. It isn’t overly graphic but I sure can’t imagine it getting a ‘G’ rating today.

The 2010 version is better in most regards. It is however quite a bit darker even though it covers much of the same territory. While much of the dialogue is the same, Joel and Ethan Coen have given the script a verbal polishing. Much of the best dialogue is still from the original and I will say that the climactic line of “fill your hands, you son of a bitch!” packs more punch from the Duke. Cinematography is good in the 1969 version but better in the 2010 version.


People Watch:
In the 1969 version, Jay “Tonto” Silverheels plays one of the condemned men at the hanging. Wilford Brimley makes his film debut there too (though that’s just from imdb – I couldn’t spot him). In the 2010 version listen for J.K. Simmons as the voice of J. Noble Daggett