‘True Grit’ a gritty reunion for ‘Big Lebowski’ filmmakers, actor | AspenTimes.com

‘True Grit’ a gritty reunion for ‘Big Lebowski’ filmmakers, actor

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lorey SebastianHailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges star in the remake of "True Grit," showing Thursday at Aspen's Wheeler Opera House as part of the Academy Screenings series.
Lorey Sebastian |

ASPEN – There are some good reasons to get excited about “True Grit.”

Fans of the Western genre look forward to a new version of the 1969 original, which starred John Wayne, in an Oscar-winning performance, as the rough-and-tumble U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn.

Certainly admirers of movie scores are looking forward to the showdown between Carter Burwell, whose resume includes the soundtracks to “Being John Malkovich” and “Where the Wild Things Are” in addition to the remade “True Grit,” and Elmer Bernstein, whose title song for the original earned him a Golden Globe award.

But no doubt, the crowd most intent on seeing the film – which opened in Aspen on Wednesday and shows at 8:15 Thursday in Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings series – is a group that favors bowling, bathrobes and white Russians, and is known to refer to themselves as “Achievers.” The updated “True Grit” represents a reunion of filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, and actor Jeff Bridges, who are working together for the first time since making the classic of cult classics, 1998’s “The Big Lebowski.” That film, featuring Bridges as the iconic slacker Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, made nihilism fashionable, put the Eagles in their place, set new heights for use of the f-word, and spawned numerous Lebowski Fests, in which fans dressed as Walter Sobchak and Jesus Quintana gather at bowling lanes to enjoy some burgers, some beers, a few laughs, what-have-you.

“True Grit” is set far from the “Big Lebowski’s” Malibu beaches and the In ‘n’ Out Burger on Camrose. Set in the Indian country of Arkansas, in the 1870s, the story involves the 14-year-old girl Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld), who enlists the help of the reluctant lawman Cogburn (Bridges) to achieve justice for the murder of her father. The film co-stars Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger also in search of the killer, and Josh Brolin – who also reunites with the Coens, after starring in their 2007 Oscar-winning crime thriller “No Country For Old Men” – as the cowardly murderer.

Both Bridges and Steinfeld are nominated for acting awards from the Screen Actors Guild. The film has made the best-of-the-year lists of the National Board of Review and AFI.

Also showing Thursday at Academy Screenings is “Get Low,” starring Robert Duvall as Bush, an eccentric hermit in the rural Tennessee of the 1930s, who emerges to throw himself a funeral party. The film, the debut from director Aaron Schneider, co-stars Bill Murray as a slick funeral home director, and Sissy Spacek as an old friend who brings out the lighter side of Bush. Duvall is nominated for an award from the Screen Actors Guild.


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