I saw the Coen Brothers’ latest film, True Grit, over the holiday. And I toyed with actually writing a review of it (and how much I loved the film). But then, friend of mine (and the blog) Jamie S. Rich wrote a review (for DVD Talk) that effectively captures the greatness of the 2010 film.
“True Grit is a masterful execution of tried-and-true genre material, putting proof to the axiom that even if there are no new stories, there are new ways to tell them. True Grit functions as an old-fashioned western, but it plays like a reinvention of the same. It is at once everything we know about the cowboy picture and everything we’ve always wished modern westerns could be. It’s not revisionist, it doesn’t shoehorn a ponderous conscience into the narrative or dismantle the black-hat/white-hat morality. It’s a hell of a thing. The horse opera hasn’t been this vital in a long time.”
Many folks that I have met in the comic industry are multi-tasking, multi-talented people. Case in point: writer/critic Jamie S. Rich. When Jamie S. Rich is not writing graphic novels (his and Joëlle Jones’ You Have Killed Me made my top books for 2009 at Robot 6), his critical analysis can frequently be read at DVD Talk or at his own blog, Confessions of A Pop Fan. I recently email interviewed him to get some of the thinking behind his critical analysis.
Tim O’Shea: In a recent post, on the topic of best of 2009 movie lists you wrote: “in case you’re not sick of best-of lists yet (I’ve avoided most, and it’s still like a lot of white noise to me)”. What annoyed you about from a most of the best of movie lists from 2009?
Jamie S. Rich: It’s nothing about any specific choices, it’s just that there is so many lists out there now, the chorus has gotten too large. There is no definitive voice, no standards. I mean, there are now lists just to keep up with the lists, a conglomeration of top 10s and top 15s and the like. What with the end of the decade countdowns also going on, I am just at a loss to see what purpose it serves anymore. I’m not a big fan of crowdsourcing, because I think that it eventually kills the formation of legitimate opinions. Even before that was a term, you could see how certain lines of thinking took root and critics and fans alike would start parroting one another. It’s something I wrote about when I reviewed the most recent DVD release of The Godfather trilogy. People don’t bother to watch the third one and react to it in their own way, they already have the common thinking to draw on. It’s like, right now, I can log on to Facebook, and I’ll see ten updates in my friends list about Avatar, and all say the same thing. “Looked great, but the story was boring,” like this is some new opinion of great value. Okay, sure, and…?
Continue reading Jamie S. Rich on Film Criticism