Tag Archives: Robert Duvall

The Road: A Second Evaluation


A coworker hired me to help her son with English – literature in particular. The kid is 15 and seems more interested in video games and slacking than learning anything from books so I have an upward battle ahead of me. We started with Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (I’ve had him read the first four graphic novels) and after each one I ask him a few simple questions. I know he’s entering the 10th grade and questions about critical theory are out but I’m still trying to make him understand simile, metaphor, allusion, and other terms any good American high school student should grasp. I did and I wasn’t even a good student until college.

I started the boy off on comic books because I figured he’d respond to these (and learn something in the process). Now I’m moving him up to literature and his first novel in this venture is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I figured it would be a good read for a teenager – it’s bleak, interesting, like a zombie story (without the zombies), and a quick read. I read it again, to come up with questions, in about 12 hours. He still hasn’t answered any of those questions yet. However, last night I watched The Road again (it’s the third time now) and I still feel it’s a good adaptation of McCarthy’s Pulizter Prize winning novel.
Continue reading

True Grit: A Comparison of Two Versions

The Coen Brothers’ latest outing is a contemporary rendition of Chares Portis’ 1968 novel True Grit. Originally brought to the silver screen in ’69 by director Henry Hathaway (Niagara, Call Northside 777) and featuring John Wayne, singer Glen Campbell, and Kim Darby (the mother from Better Off Dead), the over 40 years between the two renditions shows a drastic change in filmmaking. Where Hathaway’s version features an almost lighthearted approach to the Western genre, Joel and Ethan Coen’s interpretation is grim, dark, and explores the darker aspects of humanity. There’s also a vast difference between performances. Although Wayne is a competent Rooster Cogburn, his Oscar winning performance lacks the tough demeanor the character demands – a trait Jeff Bridges brings to the role. The 2010 version of True Grit contains exactly what the title exclaims: grit. It’s a meticulously fashioned film, presenting an honest account of vengeance whereas the John Wayne version embodies the mythological interpretation of the Old West common in western films of the era. Continue reading

Authenticity in Post-Apocalyptic Visions: The Road and The Walking Dead

Man: “How would you know you’re the last man alive?”

Eli: “I guess you wouldn’t know it, you’d just be it.”

I’m watching The Road again. I saw it in the theater and was devastated; it’s a very grim movie, bleak in every way. In contrast to last night’s Walking Dead finale, The Road is great. Where Frank Darabont’s post-apocalyptic zombie series falls short, The Road is truly terrifying. Every moment is horrendous, imparting a gamut of emotions instantaneously. After last night’s disappointing Walking Dead episode, watching this film again reminds me of how powerful the post-apocalyptic genre can be.
Continue reading