Monday Morning Critic – 6.21.2010 – True Grit, a moment of zen, Scott Pilgrim is rocking my world and slightly much more!

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

Without any power this weekend due to a tree falling in the suburbs, making a sound and taking out my home’s power grid for two days, I’m forgoing any sort of long form column this week for two Youtube clips, i.e. I’m totaling mailing the column in at 11:59pm CST in order to make my deadline.

This might be the film I’m looking forward to most this year. Edgar Wright was a director I’ve been high on for a while and the fact that he’s going in such a completely different direction than before is intriguing to me. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World just has such a tremendous vibe that I’m excited for it.

And now …. your moment of zen:

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – True Grit

Coming to theatres this winter in a remake by the Coens, True Grit remains a bit of an anomaly in John Wayne’s career. It certainly wasn’t his best acting performance; Red River and The Searchers are his best acting roles, I’ve thought. Those two are also his more famous westerns, too. But it was the only film he ever won an Oscar for, as well as a Golden Globe, and is one of the many films pointed to as a case of an actor winning a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in a real category as opposed to one for an actual performance.

It’s a relatively simple film, story wise. Mattie (Kim Darby) hires U.S Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Wayne) and a Texas Ranger (Glenn Campbell) to track down the man who killed her father. He’s involved with some real world class scumbags, led by Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall).

Their task, which initially they are reluctant to let her accompany them, is to find him and bring him back for justice at the end of the hangman’s rope. The film follows the three as they bond over the length of the journey, exposing Mattie to the seamy side of the Wild West and Cogburn to someone with whom he can have a somewhat normal friendship with.

And it hasn’t aged well, either, as it’s hard to justify anything higher than a “passable entertainment” grade but it is interesting to see Wayne in the role that won him an Oscar. There are better westerns from this era and this one would be rather forgettable without the Oscar win by Wayne. It would be closer in stature to West of the Divide without it in terms of his westerns.

It’s much like watching Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, I think, in that you keep watching and waiting for the brilliance to come out and it never does. While Tomei’s best roles and performances came after her win, and Wayne’s before it, the feeling is the same. You keep thinking “really, is this it” and then it ends.

Mild recommendation, as it is the Duke after all.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Grown Ups – Adam Sandler needed something to do and all his buddies were free.

See It – There are two ways this can go. The first is a retrospective about five guys reconnecting with one another after being childhood best friends. The other is to turn that concept into a stupid, childish comedy. My gut says the latter, but Sandler has been surprising as of late with his choices. It’s being marketed as a stupid comedy but part of me thinks that this might be really surprising.

Knight & Day – Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in a wacky spy action comedy.

See It – While Killers had the same plot but lesser actors and a lesser director to work with. James Mangold is a first rate director and he’s working with one of the biggest movie stars ever, plus Cameron Diaz is usually solid in genre films. It looks like a great spoof of the types of action films Cruise does while hopefully being a great action film like Cruise usually does.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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