December 22, 2010:
December 22, 2010:
My two weeks in the Washington, D.C., area were productive in the ways that I hoped, my time at the Library of Congress especially. Most of my research there will be absorbed into my work-in-progress book on comic books, but I found a few things that I want to post here. Phyllis and I saw Tangled (in 3-D) while we were in Alexandria, and I'm still sorting out my thoughts about it. I hope to post some comments by the end of the year.
Speaking of movies: The release of the Coen brothers' new version of True Grit today reminds me of a long-ago encounter with Charles Portis, the author of the novel. I was a young newspaperman at the time, and I knew Portis slightly—we all called him "Buddy"—because his brother and I worked together on the copy desk at the Arkansas Gazette. In those days, you couldn't buy a mixed drink in Little Rock except at a private club, and Gazette people favored a joint called the Officers Club. One night I happened to be sitting at the bar next to Buddy Portis. I was a novice drinker, and I ordered a salty dog (vodka and grapefruit juice). Portis—a former Marine, among other intimidating things—was drinking something darker and much more menacing, and he looked incredulous when my drink arrived. When I told him what it was, he responded with a devastating critique that Phyllis says I can't quote here without bruising tender ears. Suffice it to say that it was Buddy Portis who set me firmly on the road toward my mature preferences for single malts, martinis, and ice-cold Russian vodka.
And speaking of raising glasses: in case I don't post again this week, which is all too likely, let me wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.
From Ricardo Cantoral: I viewed True Grit '10 last week and I must say, it was just all-around superior to 1969 film. Jeff Bridges dove into the role of Cogburn as a real boorish, drunken, and yet delightful reprobate. The Duke's performance was serviceable but really, it was just Wayne with an eye-patch and he felt too much of a hero instead of the anti-hero Cogburn was suppose to be. The co-stars were also fantastic but really, it's not like their predecessors were much competition. Outside of Robert Duvall, the original film had a very weak supporting cast. Glen Campbell was no actor and Kim Darby had no screen presence.
MB replies: I don't want to stray too far into discussing live-action films—especially since I see so few new ones—but since I mentioned True Grit, I can hardly object when one of my visitors offers an intelligent comment about it, can I?
[Posted January 5, 2011]