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kimpunkrock

steaming mad over true grit remake.

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> For years now, Robert Redford has toyed with the idea of making a new version of “Random Harvest.” Redford has received a bit of distain over this issue,

 

It couldn't be any worse than the original. There aren't many movies out there more retch-inducing than *Random Harvest*.

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My biggest "Steaming Mad Over A Remake" moment was when the remake of "Ocean's 11" was coming out, and the cast was making the rounds of the various talk shows to promote it.

 

One of the daytime talk shows (I can't remember which one) had several members of the cast on (Clooney, Damon, Roberts, etc.). They were sitting there and actually saying how THEIR new version of "Ocean's 11" was going to be FAR superior to the original because THEY were all ACTORS, while the original's Frank, Dean, Sammy, etc. were just Vegas entertainers who just happened to be making a movie. According to the "remake" cast, those "Rat Pack" guys weren't real ACTORS....

 

BOY, did my blood boil over THAT pompous, obnoxious crack!

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I"m thinking I may have misread or misunderstood your message about the Coen brothers. It looks to me as though you are suggesting that they have a history of cynically exploiting whatever they think may be controversial or get attention for the purpose of generating publicity for their films. I've never perceived this to be the case, and in fact, the Coens often take on projects that they know will probably be unpopular or commercial flops. I admire them for making whatever type of film they want to make. My feeling is, these people have too much integrity to deliberately provoke indignation over their choice of "remake" or star. Jeff Bridges is a fine actor. I don't want to get into one of those ongoing arguments over who's better, Duke vs Dude (it helps that they both have one-syllable nicknames that begin with "D"), but I'm at a loss as to understand why people are so outraged at the idea of Jeff Bridges playing the John Wayne character from *True Grit*.

If we're going to get "all steamed up" about something, aren't there other things to get angrier about than that?

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 22, 2010 11:23 AM

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> MovieProfessor wrote of the Coen brothers proposed remake:

>

> "One can expect lots of graphic scenes of violence and perhaps some sex once the Coen brothers version makes it to the screen "

>

> You may be right about the violence (although there are many current filmmakers who have far more and worse violence in their work than the Coens) but there is rarely much sex in a Coen brothers film, and certainly no graphic sex that I can think of. In fact, sex isn't really their "thing". Existentialist philosophy with a strong mix of humour and wit, often a little suspense, maybe some very strong narrative ability, is their thing.

 

 

Yeah! What she said. :)

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> Well, Jeff can act, and in a wide range. OTOH, to borrow Dorothy Parker's line, John Wayne's acting runs the gamut, from A to B.

 

Oh, well said! Though he did improve with age and the right material. And he's what we all think of as an "All American He Man" (Probably because we've all seen John Wayne movies). There are only a small handful of John Wayne films I can sit through-- The Quiet Man, Seven Sinners, The Spoilers, The Shootist, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence...that's about it.

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",,,,,but the higher ups taken loot like they were goldman sachs."

 

Many would say that is what 'has gone wrong with this country'.

 

But the Duke wouldn't be one of them.

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> {quote:title=MovieProfessor wrote:}{quote}

> What is happening these days transcends itself towards walking on the thin line of what is a remake or different interpretation of a once classic story or beloved motion picture.

 

I am not an actor of any kind (except what you need to do to keep kids' interest as a school teacher ;) ) but I think if I was, and I was serious about my chosen profession, I'd have seen a lot of classic films and there would be certain roles that I'd love to take a stab at (Eleanor in The Lion in Winter immediately comes to mind as does Nora Charles in the Thin Man movies and Leslie Crosbie in The Letter) You watch Hepburn or Davis or Loy up there on the screen and you think "Wow. That's inpressive, but I'd do it this way..." Ditto a director--watching how Hitchcock or Cukor or Wilder or Ford might have done a shot or cut a film or whatever and thinking, "What if they'd done thus and such, what would that have done to the impact of the film?"

 

Of course, maybe I'm giving too much credit...I am not naive enough to forget that money also enters the equation.

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Like me it appears you are of the view that a reason an actor, director, or producer would do a remake can have something to do with artistic reasons. i.e. they wish to give their own interpretation to the work. Too many here appear to believe those making remakes are just ripping off the original movie. Of course this has been the case with some remakes and there is a fine line between learning from those that came before and just stealing their ideas. I do the same thing with jazz guitar; i.e. I'll play certain riffs and phases and yes I'm trying to sound like some of my heros, but the enjoyment comes from adding my interpretation.

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> misswonderly you asked:

>I"m thinking I may have misread or misunderstood your message about the Coen brothers. It looks to me as though you are suggesting that they have a history of cynically exploiting whatever they think may be controversial or get attention for the purpose of generating publicity for their films.

 

It's not that they're trying to make some crazy waves amid the motion picture business. It's just that they know what can be controversial to the extreme of creating the needed hype in order to get their films noticed. This isn't anything new in the movie business. It's just that the Coen brothers have a habit of keeping in tune with this sort of exploitation, in order to selll their movie and perhaps get the needed professional respect. The first and most vital aspect to a Coen brother production is or has always been devising the audacious image to promoting their movie. In the case of "True Grit," it all centers around the imagery of the original and what love their still is for it. Knowing this, the brothers now have it a bit easy or at least don't have to rely on critics and word of mouth.

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MovieProfessor, I must admit that I pay little attention to the "hype" that tends to surround new film projects (that makes it sound as though I'm "above" noticing hype, but fact is I just seem to be "out of it" when it comes to picking up things like that. I'd probably benefit from it if I did notice movie publicity hype more.)

Having said that, I will say that I cannot think of other times the Coens have done this. It certainly sounds from what you say as though they make a practice of it.

 

You say:

"... they know what can be controversial to the extreme of creating the needed hype in order to get their films noticed. This isn't anything new in the movie business. It's just that the Coen brothers have a habit of keeping in tune with this sort of exploitation, in order to selll their movie and perhaps get the needed professional respect. The first and most vital aspect to a Coen brother production is or has always been devising the audacious image to promoting their movie. .."

 

Could you please give me some specific examples of when they have done this before: what films, and how did they do it?

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 22, 2010 9:06 PM

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>misswonderly you asked:

> MovieProfessor, I must admit that I pay little attention to the "hype" that tends to surround new film projects (that makes it sound as though I'm "above" noticing hype, but fact is I just seem to be "out of it" when it comes to picking up things like that. I'd probably benefit from it if I did notice movie publicity hype more.)

> Having said that, I will say that I cannot think of other times the Coens have done this. It certainly sounds from what you say as though they make a practice of it.

>

> Could you please give me some specific examples of when they have done this before: what films, and how did they do it?

 

 

All of this hype of the Coen brothers began in 1984, when they scored a big hit with their first successful major film ?Blood Simple.? What the brothers did in advising Circle Films to handling the publicity was to play up on the whole cult neo-crime film saga and all the delirious sort of scenes in the film. This success led to their capitalizing over the issue of creating what was essentially considered a ?ready-made? cult film, thus establishing a quick following of loyal fans that began to eat up all the maniacal aspects of their scripted material. While most critics sight the whole zany atmosphere of a Coen film as adding to the interest behind their movies, over the years they have never really totally abandoned the issue of violence within most of their films. This isn?t to say that violence plays an all important part to their motion pictures, but at times it is played up in publicity and word of mouth to the point that it has become something of a trademark. The greatest example of this was their handling of perhaps the biggest and most talked about production of their careers, ?No Country for Old Men.? What everybody remembers about this film was the blatant way all the cold-stone heartless, threatening form of violence saturated the film that for the brothers reach an all time high!

 

Aside from tackling various social issues in their films, the brothers are prone to feel that society is simply filled with interesting misfits that leads to this madcap imagery and wit to their style of filmmaking. It?s more or less a tribute on their part towards the films of the past that were probably low-budgeted and lacked the basic form of movie going entertainment. The whole aura of a Coen film isn?t to be entertaining, but be of something thrown in your face, defying our basic conception of the world and how it operates. Good examples of this are such popular Coen films as ?Raising Arizona,? ?The Hudsucker Proxy? and perhaps their best beloved film, ?Fargo.? These films were promoted along the lines of their obscurity and unconventional manner. In hind sight, the brothers succeeded in creating an image that for some filmmakers takes a very long time to establish! They, more than anyone who has produced dramatic films of the last 20 or so years, found a method to utilize the emerging new technologies that began to take hold of our entertainment media, such as cable, video and finally the computer. The Coen?s have become masters at understanding the issues that surround a motion picture?s need to find the proper exposure. Without this knowledge, they wouldn?t have lasted as long as they have! The key to whole Coen genre is their eccentricity that for now has kept them in the spotlight. It?s this issue that they so openly project and promote to extremes that are now a standard for other filmmakers and production companies to follow!

 

As to whether or not the brothers have true cinematic value to be considered iconic figures has already been guaranteed or their fate is sealed! Their raise to the top is truly one of the fastest in film history, all practically unexpected for them to move into the realm of major film production. And, believe me when I say that luck had the least to do with their success, because they decided on manipulating what luck came their way; staying out of the forefront of movies as long as they could, while at the same time managing to formulate a solid image to represent everything that the established film community doesn?t really take so seriously. But, the Coen brothers do take their work in motion pictures very seriously. If they didn?t, they wouldn?t be where they are now.

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MovieProf, I read your post very carefully. I still am not sure, specifically, what sort of publicity campaigns the Coens launched for each new film they produced. It sounds more as though you're talking about the cultivation of their image in general.

First, I do not associate Coen films first and foremost with violence. Maybe this is to my discredit, but I have seen many movies with more violence in them than the Coens. Martin Scorsese comes to mind.

I actually don't care for violence in films, I certainly don't seek it out. On the other hand, I won't avoid going to a movie by a director I like just because there is violence in it. (That's not to say I enjoy violence in films - I go to see the film in spite of the violence in it, not because of it.)

 

The sense I got from your post is that you think the Coens are more interested in creating and maintaining a certain "brand" , with an eye to developing a built-in fan base. "Hey, I'll go to a Coen brothers film, they're quirky and violent." But doesn't every filmmaker do this to a certain extent, and haven't they always? Hitchcock 's "brand" was suspense, often with a sophisticated and witty romance story on the side, Fritz Lang's was a dark world view, characters unknowingly building their own traps, John Ford's "image", American values as played out in the building of a new and better society, etc.

 

I realize I'm summing these great directors up in a pretty simplistic way, but my point is , the creation of an " image" with a particular filmmaker has always existed. The only thing that may have changed is the way it's done.

 

I don't think the Coen brothers sit down to discuss their new projects and go"hey let's make it dark and kind of strange. Let's invite comparisons to film noir, to get the post noir audience, and let's throw in a little violence , come on , our fans expect it. " I think they are sincere and authentic in their conception and development of their film ideas; they may play a part in what happens in the media after the film is made , but I see nothing wrong with that,

 

What I'm saying is, I've never gotten the impression that Joel and Ethan Coen manufacture an idea to get a cult audience, and then build their film around it. If they did that, it would be impossible for them to make such good movies. My sense is, they get an idea, they develop it into a film with genuine artistic integrity, and their "cult" following either likes it or they don't.

 

It would be totally artificial for the Coens or any authentic filmmaker to make their films around what they think their fans expect. I've never gotten that sense from them. They've made some bad, or at least mediocre movies, and more than once they've made what you could call a "pastiche" (*The Man Who Wasn't There*, very self-conscious noir, that quasi screwball comedy with George Clooney...), but I've never felt that they did this for any reason other than their own artistic impulses.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 23, 2010 9:58 AM

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>misswonderly . . .

 

The only aspect I can add to clarify my issues over the Coen brothers is to say that their unconventionality is what has propelled them along the lines of having an easily established cult following. They specifically knew what they were creating to their imagery of filmmaking, in relation to a particular brand of circumstance that wasn?t so much part of the mainstream of motion pictures. In other words, the state or status of their films was rooted beyond the usual simplicity in promoting their movies to the point that they had to exhort towards this sense of peculiarity in order to reach a good amount of noticeable hype. Along the way, the critics took notice of this and simply felt the Coen?s were a breath of (strange) fresh air that the motion picture business needed. This has led to what you termed as ?a cultivation of their image in general.? Once this imagery was established, it was clear-sailing for the brothers to simply exploit it with whatever production company decided on taking them on. As I have previously mentioned, this sort of business isn?t new to the production or promotion of a film. This situation embedded the brothers into a league of their own. Knowing this allows them to be as eccentric as they wish to be in the form of how they go about promoting their films with the established motion picture business. It?s all about the oddity they project to their established brand of filmmaking, in order to stand out and be so different than the mainstream.

 

To be clearer on the matter, most of the time, a major motion picture can easily be discerned as to what it represents. In the case of the Coen?s, when they began their successful raise to notoriety, they depended upon this form of irregular acceptance to their films that for the most part was supported by various critics and the legion of fans they were able to acquire. At times, this relates strongly to the issues that the Coen?s rely on a sense towards what film buffs love about cult films; it?s this audience that the Coen?s usually want to impress as does Robert Rodriquez or even Quentin Tarantino. There has always been this unsteady feeling or atmosphere to a Coen production that reaches out from a fragmentary realm to add to the unpredictability of what they can or will come up with next. The whole idea here for me is that a Coen motion picture relies a lot on a sort of erratic form of publicity or word of mouth and this has been for the most part successful to their becoming one of the most talked about, if not, admired filmmakers of their generation.

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MovieProf wrote (of the Coen Brothers) :

 

"... one of the most talked about, if not, admired filmmakers of their generation. "

 

Well, I admire them. But I think at the core of this discussion we're having is just a personal difference in taste. I do like "off-beat", perhaps even what some would call "cultish" films, although certainly not all, and not just because they are off-beat. Whenever a filmmaker tries to do this (make a quirky off-beat movie on purpose to get the "indie" fans on-side) I can tell; it feels contrived and artificial , and it doesn't work for me. But my feeling about the Coen brothers is that they are sincere, genuine artists (sounds a bit pretentious, that, but you know what I mean), who make what they want to make first and worry about whether it will catch on with their fan base second.

 

I know from reading your messages on other threads that we also have a liking for many other movies and filmmakers in common, and that's good enough for me. I like the Coen brothers, you have reservations about them; I say potato, you say potatto. (Does anyone really say "potatto" ? ) :)

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>>Repeat after me: Ricardo Cortez is the ultimate Sam Spade.

 

It's true!

 

Edited by: HarryLong on Aug 23, 2010 3:21 PM

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>>Ricardo Cortez is the ultimate Sam Spade.

 

Especially in those polka-dot pajamas.

 

Harry Carey was the ultimate lead of THE THREE GODFATHERS. He was so good that he starred in two versions. So take that Charles Bickford, Chester Morris, John Wayne and Jack Palance.

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> {quote:title=MovieProfessor wrote:}{quote}

> > misswonderly you say . . .

>

> Potato, I say potatto . . . But, we won't call the whole thing off . . . :) !

 

Well, you two, I agree with most of what each of you have said about the Coens, and I don't think it's incompatible. The Coens have a certain eccentric, non-conformist style, but that is their true nature, not an affectation designed to attract a following.

 

My own opinion is that they are also detail-oriented perfectionists, in the sense of being true to their own goals and view of things. This striving, which often produces just what I believe they are aiming for, is part of what attracts me to their films. They are among my favorite modern directors. Even what I would call their duds are interesting, and watchable.

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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}

> Like me it appears you are of the view that a reason an actor, director, or producer would do a remake can have something to do with artistic reasons. i.e. they wish to give their own interpretation to the work. Too many here appear to believe those making remakes are just ripping off the original movie. Of course this has been the case with some remakes and there is a fine line between learning from those that came before and just stealing their ideas. I do the same thing with jazz guitar; i.e. I'll play certain riffs and phases and yes I'm trying to sound like some of my heros, but the enjoyment comes from adding my interpretation.

 

 

James--

Exactly. I'm not saying that every remake is a good idea, just that maybe it's not entirely lack of originality that drives the trend. And I'm not saying that every modern remake is be done because some dedicated actor or director is dying to emulate their favorite legend--money HAS to enter in. If they don't think it will sell, the film usually doesn't get made.

 

In contrast, (from what Ive read anyway), I'm pretty sure that back in the days of the great studios, movies were remade because most studio heads saw movies as a product, not an art form and remaking a movie from an already written script was cheaper than starting from scratch. Occaisionally someone like Thalberg would push through a product on artistic merits, but most movies were not given that sort of care and attention. (Actually, the bulk of the studio output falls under this category and probably paid for those few "artistic" films). Like Carrie Fisher once said, "Just because it's old, doesn;t make it classic."

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> {quote:title=MovieProfessor wrote:}{quote}

> >misswonderly . . .

>

> The only aspect I can add to clarify my issues over the Coen brothers is to say that their unconventionality is what has propelled them along the lines of having an easily established cult following. They specifically knew what they were creating to their imagery of filmmaking, in relation to a particular brand of circumstance that wasn?t so much part of the mainstream of motion pictures. In other words, the state or status of their films was rooted beyond the usual simplicity in promoting their movies to the point that they had to exhort towards this sense of peculiarity in order to reach a good amount of noticeable hype. Along the way, the critics took notice of this and simply felt the Coen?s were a breath of (strange) fresh air that the motion picture business needed. This has led to what you termed as ?a cultivation of their image in general.? Once this imagery was established, it was clear-sailing for the brothers to simply exploit it with whatever production company decided on taking them on. As I have previously mentioned, this sort of business isn?t new to the production or promotion of a film. This situation embedded the brothers into a league of their own. Knowing this allows them to be as eccentric as they wish to be in the form of how they go about promoting their films with the established motion picture business. It?s all about the oddity they project to their established brand of filmmaking, in order to stand out and be so different than the mainstream.

>

> To be clearer on the matter, most of the time, a major motion picture can easily be discerned as to what it represents. In the case of the Coen?s, when they began their successful raise to notoriety, they depended upon this form of irregular acceptance to their films that for the most part was supported by various critics and the legion of fans they were able to acquire. At times, this relates strongly to the issues that the Coen?s rely on a sense towards what film buffs love about cult films; it?s this audience that the Coen?s usually want to impress as does Robert Rodriquez or even Quentin Tarantino. There has always been this unsteady feeling or atmosphere to a Coen production that reaches out from a fragmentary realm to add to the unpredictability of what they can or will come up with next. The whole idea here for me is that a Coen motion picture relies a lot on a sort of erratic form of publicity or word of mouth and this has been for the most part successful to their becoming one of the most talked about, if not, admired filmmakers of their generation.

 

 

I just have to jump in here and ask, "This is wrong how?" Isn't that what being a successful movie maker is about? Expressing your "vision" or whatever and being clever enough to get paid for it? I've heard (or read of) professonal writers saying that the greatest compliment a writer can recieve begins with the words, "Pay to the order of..." Cynical, yes. But it's their job. It's what they do. And isn;t getting paid for what you are good at and what you like to do sort of the American dream?

 

And for the record, I enjoy the Coen Brothers' movies. Their off-beat sort of humor and world view makes me laugh.

 

Edited by: traceyk65 on Aug 28, 2010 11:25 AM

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It is my understanding that 'back in the old days' the studios did remakes because they already owned the rights to the source material and if the felt that material was solid but the prior release (or releases), didn't do that well, felt it was almost a duty to try again. i.e. to make a success where others have failed.

 

In the studio system it wasn't that costly to have the screenplay re-written or 'updated' and to use the existing studio actors (those already under contract being paid a monthly rate regardless if they worked or not), and do a remake. Of course the classic example is the The Maltese Falcon. A young screenwritter (Huston), wanted to try directing. The cost to Jack Warner to make this remake was dirt cheap and in many ways money he had already spent anyhow. So this would be a 'B' level picture and thus any associated risk was very low. In fact the minimal cost was worth it just to see if this Huston fellow could be a director someday.

 

Today of course all these factors have changed and there is a lot more risk.

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I just watched True Grit (2010) and... I don't dislike it as much as I thought I would.

 

I have never read the source novel. My only comparisson is to True Grit (1969).

 

Unfortunately, the only performance I had a problem with was that of Jeff Bridges' Rooster Cogburn. This plus overall there seemed to be a major lack of chemistry between the principals. Something was missing - can't say what. I didn't care one way or the other what happened to any character except for Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. He got his butt kicked and just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time way too often - felt sorry for the guy who, as in the first film, actually turned out to be a decent fellow - and he lives this time!... I believe he remains alive at the end, anyway - we're not let in on that.

 

I also had the feeling more than a few scenes were incomplete. They would end and we moved to the next scene, but there just seemed to be a shortage of material or something.

 

Nearly a dozen times I wanted to watch something else - I could develop no interest in what was going on.. this seemed sluggish and tired with not much to bring it to life.

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Kid, despite my previous postings of praise for the works of the Coen brothers, their take on True Grit ranks very near the bottom in my estimation of their work. I also didn't much care for Jeff Bridges in the role, and in fact have thought Bridges has been regularly awful in most of the films he's appearing in lately (RIPDSeventh Son). I thought the young girl, Hailee Steinfeld, was very good, and Matt Damon was also good as LaBoeuf. But there was a disconnect with the material that never quite went away for me. There were moments of cinematic energy, but overall it seemed rather pedestrian.

 

I should also state that I held no overwhelming adoration for the previous adaptation with Wayne. While I enjoyed it to a modest degree, it was never one of my favorites of his films.

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Having read the novel the Coen Brother version is much closer to the original source. I personally enjoyed it much more than the John Wayne version. Mattie is the star of the Coen Brothers film and that's how it should be.

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