Shay it, classshhh…

American painter Richard Estes used photorealism to portray reality in "Telephone Booths". Does this level of detail make the painting more "real"?

[realism in film]

It was common knowledge in my high school that Mrs. Taylor was a bit of an eccentric.  It didn’t help that she looked – and sounded – like a cross between Julia Child and Dame Edna.  She taught 10th grade American Literature which meant every year she had to wade through THE SCARLET LETTER with a bunch of high school sophomores that could hardly get worked up about a clergyman committing adultery in an era where you are just happy the clergyman wasn’t a pedophile.

To make class “exciting,” Mrs. Taylor donned a scarlet “A” on her blouse while she read passages from the book aloud.  As if any of us would believe that a clergyman would want to bed her down even if she were single.

But she did have a way of etching herself into our brains with ridiculously long, literary words that we were told would Continue Reading

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TRUE GRIT: 1969 & 2010

Kim Darby and Hailee Steinfeld (December 9, 2010)

The two Mattie Rosses, Kim Darby and Hailee Steinfeld, at a 2010 industry screening of the Coen Bros’ TRUE GRIT. (Reuters)

[a spoiler-free review of the 2010 Coen Bros Film TRUE GRIT]

TRUE GRIT 2010 Move Poster

The 2010 poster emphasizes the theme of frontier justice.

In 1968, Charles Portis published a little novel about a barely teenaged frontier girl, Mattie Ross, who hires a ruthless Federal Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, to avenge her father’s murder.  The novel was called TRUE GRIT.

In 1969, the novel made it to screen as a bona fide John Wayne western classic directed by Henry Hathaway.  Not only did it garner Wayne the 1969 Oscar for Best Actor (some claim as a “lifetime achievement” award, some claim because Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voigt split the votes for their respective performances in MIDNIGHT COWBOY) but it also made an instant star out of film-newcomer Kim Darby as Mattie Ross.  (Darby got the role after Mia Farrow famously turned it down on advice from Robert Mitchum who told her not to work with Hathaway.)  The cast also included great performances by Strother Martin, Dennis Hopper, and especially Robert Duvall.

And now in 2010 the Coen Bros have decided to tackle the same material.  The reason? Continue Reading