The new True Grit doesn’t get as many laughs in the theater as the genial 1969 version, which was powered by Wayne’s happy-to-be-alive status as America’s most famous lung-cancer survivor. Shortly after the Surgeon General’s 1964 Report on Smoking, Wayne, a six-pack-a-day man, had to have his left lung and four ribs cut out. To everyone’s surprise (except his own) at a time when the word “cancer” was assumed to be a death sentence, Wayne, although diminished, was ready for fun on True Grit.Read the whole thing here.
Bridges, who received his own de facto Career Achievement Oscar last year for playing a drunken country singer in Crazy Heart, does his usual competent, creative job. Still, The Dude doesn’t quite have The Duke’s screen presence. For a force of nature large enough to fill the legendary boots of the “one-eyed fat man,” the Coens might have turned instead to Bridges’s co-star in The Big Lebowski, Walter Sobchak himself, John Goodman.