True Grit Directed by: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen Written by: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (screenplay), Charles Portis (novel) Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin
True Grit is not about the large names behind the camera and on the marquee, nor is it haunted by the ghost of John Wayne. Above all, it is a fatalistic Western with more dry wit than dead bodies behind its lessons. It is a tall tale about a small girl and her quest for blood.
Don’t be fooled by Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, or Josh Brolin. The Coen Brothers know that many who aren’t drawn in by their own names will be drawn in by the names of those stars or fans of the original film that won John Wayne his Oscar. All the hype surrounding the mystical one-eyed Marshall and his eye-patch has made many lose sight over the fact that this is indeed a film about that 14-year-old and the loss of her innocence by her own accord.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year, whether it be the Irish invading the pubs in numbers larger than usual or other people dressing in green and dousing themselves in beer. If you’re looking to avoid the St. Patrick’s Day alcohol binge, here are some movies that pay homage to Irish heritage without focusing on beer.
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1. Gangs of New York– Martin Scorsese’s 2002 epic lands us right in New York City in the mid-19th century. Irish-Americans face discrimination from the loyalist party, who are also facilitating a takeover of the city while everyone else is fighting the Civil War. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Amsterdam Vallon, an Irishman who tries to take revenge on Bill the Butcher (the ever-superb Daniel Day-Lewis) for murdering his father. Not only will you get a dose of Irish-American history, you’ll also get one of the great film epics of the 2000’s.
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2. Once– This beautifully made musical follows two people in Dublin as they write and record music. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglovás star as the two, and the chemistry they share is revelatory. The film surprisingly won the Oscar for Best Original Song the year it was released. That song, “Falling Slowly,” is one of the most gorgeous songs ever recorded in a musical, let alone a movie. Don’t miss your chance to experience this film.