This movie’s gettin a squeeze of the ol’ limelight again on account of the Minnesota Coens are doing another version of the same book.
In this first version John Wayne plays U.S. Marshall Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn, who everybody talks about as a mean old bastard but let’s be honest, he’s really a lovably eccentric curmudgeon. I mean even if he says no at first it doesn’t take a whole lot to convince him to go on a bounty hunt with a 15 year old rich girl. And then he doesn’t rob her or slap her around or anything. In fact the big turning point in the story is when the Texas Ranger who’s going along tries to spank the girl with a switch, Rooster decides to put his foot down and enforce an anti-spanking policy.
I see plenty of room for Coen humor here with Mattie Ross, the spanking victim in question who hires Rooster to catch her father’s killer. She has a Barton Fink sense of entitlement (“My family owns property and I want to know why I’m being treated this way!”) and her repitition of the word “grit” (“I’m looking for someone with grit,” “I hear he has grit?” “Is this what you in Fort Smith call grit? Back in Yell County we have a different word for it,” etc.) would be right at home in any Coens movie. (read the rest of this shit…)