The title might come across as slightly misleading, because this post has absolutely nothing to do with the hotel chain. I thought it was catchy and appropriate though, since I’m recommending a film from the western genre this go-round. Why, you ask? Well, the short version is this: I feel like westerns deserve a little love. Usually when I bring up the genre in polite conversation, I get a few eye rolls or blank, lifeless stares. It’s not encouraging, but it is motivating. I think there are some good westerns out there. They’re just buried beneath all the really crappy ones. Deeply, deeply buried.
So the movie I’m recommending is a somewhat recent offering, and one that will probably sound familiar to many. True Grit was one of my favorite movies to come out in 2010, and subsequent re-watches haven’t altered my high opinion of it. The movie boasts Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Barry Pepper in the lead roles. It was written, directed, and edited by the Coen brothers (who you’ll recognize as the men behind Fargo and No Country for Old Men). To add further gravitas to this rec, I should also mention that True Grit was nominated for quite a few Academy Awards. It didn’t win any though, which, in my humble opinion, is a real shame.
The film has a pretty simple premise. True Grit tells the story of a no-nonsense girl who hires a rough around the edges sheriff to hunt down her father’s murderer. A Texas Ranger joins in, because the guy who murdered her father also killed a Texas state senator. No-nonsense girl tags along to see the whole thing through, and the trio venture off in the pursuit of justice. The end result is a highly entertaining movie. I like this film because it clips along at a fast pace, has some well-placed humor, and the acting is truly top-notch.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how beautifully shot this film is. Cinematographer Roger Deakins (who also did the cinematography on Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, and like literally fifty other movies) is in top form. Which, while we’re on the subject of him, I feel compelled to offer this side note on Roger Deakins: he’s basically the Leonardo DiCaprio of Cinematography. The man has been nominated for THIRTEEN Academy Awards and they haven’t given him ONE. I don’t think I need to say it, but I will— he 100% deserves an Academy Award. But I digress… True Grit excels across the board, offering entertainment in a genre we don’t see as much of anymore.
The 2010 version is actually a kind-of remake of a 1969 film by the same name starring John Wayne. Both are based on a novel by Charles Portis. I will freely admit that I haven’t ever watched the first one, so I can’t give an opinion on which version is better. I’d like to sit down and watch it someday, but many of these older movies can be tough to track down on streaming services (RIP Blockbuster, you are truly missed). What I can say is that the more recent version is freaking fun.