Documentaries, cowboys and super-hero doctors: films and TV (#SFWApro)

True Grit - Hailee SteinfeldTRUE GRIT (2010) is the Coen Brothers’ remake of the John Wayne classic with Jeff Bridges as the grizzled drunk Rooster Cogburn, Hailee Steinfeld as the stubbornly determined girl who recruits Rooster to catch her father’s killer (Josh Brolin) and Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger hunting Brolin for unrelated crimes (all rights to poster with current holder). This is a remarkably straight Western compared to what I’d expect from the Coens, and overall very good. Bridges, of course, has the advantage that not being Wayne, he can disappear into the part in a way Wayne never could, though I never felt the same Bond between him and Mattie that I did with the original. Steinfeld is awesome, though I find the ending rather flat, with the adult Mackie showing none of the presence of her younger self. Overall a winner, though. “If they wanted to be buried, they should have died in the summer.”

GO FOR SISTERS (2013) is John Sayles most recent film (until his next, To Save the Man comes out), wherein Lisa Gay Harden and her estranged Dioscuri (“Back in high school folks said we were so close, we could go for sisters.”) must reunite to save Harden’s adult son after his Mysterious Disappearance south of the border. This is much closer to a crime drama than Sayles’ more usual slice-of-life approach, and while the actors held my attention, the quest to find the vanished son meanders too much to work. Edward James Olmos plays a retired cop and Hector Elizondo is his south-of-the-border buddy. “That officer is using the latest in audio technology.”

GOOD OL’ FRIEDA (2013) is a documentary about Frieda Kelly, who after finding herself an early fan of the Beatles when they were just a local Liverpool band became their secretary and organizer/manager of their fan club, all of which proved much more overwhelming when the band went viral (“The postman told me I had 200 letters—in a few weeks it was two thousand.”). Nothing deep, but fun as an Eyewitness to History story. “The smell was a mixture of disinfectant, rotting fruit and sweat, all rolled into one.”

DIRTY WARS (2013) is a good documentary about our ongoing military activity in the Middle East, our determination to keep waging war even after taking out bin Laden (the auteur here admits he thought that would end the war on terror) and our complete lack of concern about not only due process but whether the people we target are even on the enemy’s side. Effective, serious stuff, though nothing radically new to me. “We have built this amazing hammer—for the rest of my life, for the rest of this generation, we will be searching for the nail.”

I watched the first two episodes of MIGHTY MED, a comedy in which two tweens stumble into the eponymous secret hospital for super-heroes and wind up as volunteers due to their knowledge of comic-book trivia (though why they’d know it better than the heroes isn’t explained). Not a bad idea but the Disney kid-sitcom formula doesn’t work for me (of course I’m hardly the target audience). “We chronicle our adventures and sell them as comic books to finance this hospital, the League of Heroes and the Bowling League of Heroes!”

1 Comment

Filed under Movies, TV

One response to “Documentaries, cowboys and super-hero doctors: films and TV (#SFWApro)

  1. lbruce09

    Reblogged this on Out of Me Head.

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