Monday, February 28, 2011

A Season for Westerns

For many people February is probably considered more of a month for love stories than for westerns, what with Valentine's Day being smack dab in the middle and all, but here at our house, this year at least, February is the beginning of a season for westerns.

Yeah, yeah, it's going to be westerns, folks, we promise, and not love stories. Even if Mom and Papa have been considering, perhaps, just maybe - but let's not get our hopes too high, now - celebrating for the first time in twenty years and a couple weeks late le Saint Valentin which is the cool French name for Valentine's Day in case anyone didn't get that...

So why is February western month here at our house? Well, to be honest, it's not only at our house that westerns seem to be fashionable this season. Over in the Far West, (Hollywood, California) the Coen brothers - Joel and Ethan, that would be, who are not twins - did a new adaptation of True Grit.

It came out last Wednesday in France. Here in eastern Paris, on Ménilmontant...

...we've had a copy of 100 dollars pour un shérif on our shelf for years now. (By the way, 100 dollars pour un shérif is, of course, the cool French title for True Grit. It means : A Hundred Dollars for a Sheriff.) So anyway, the day before the Coen brothers' version opened, we finally decided to watch it! We all sat down and admired a one-eyed John Wayne slurring his consonants and slinging his colts. It was fun. He almost looks like a pirate, doesn't he? We also saw Jeff Bridges playing Rooster Cogburn...

...and liked him too although he's somehow less gentle than John. Or maybe it's the Mattie character who's slightly less charming but served by a great little actress... Perhaps it's the era that's changed. Still, Mom thinks westerns are good for us pirates. They're filled with manly sentiments: honor, courage and loyalty in a lawless time. Faithfulness to family is also way up there on the list of virtues westerns promote. Lucky for us, huh? We also got to see :

3:10 to Yuma with Russel Crowe - much less manly, much more fatherly. That's one of the quirks of 21st century cinema: all positive male heroes must be good fathers too! Here, the object is to show men how to strike an acceptable father figure for an angry teenager, kind of like in a lot of Will Smith movies. So, how do you do it? Get yourself killed stupidly but heroically. And that is one of the small problems with westerns: a lot of killing. These nice-guy marshalls were basically serial killers or at least serial gunners-down of men and horses... But they didn't usually kill or beat up women and children, thank goodness! Oh, and the other mercifully absent figure in westerns is the humorous sidekick! No Donkey - as much as we love him - in True Grit! Mom's got a few other westerns we'd like to see on her shelf...

...She says "Not yet!" Apparently she's not quite sure she wants to transmit the manly sentiments in these films to us just now...

But speaking of humourous sidekicks, our all time favorite is...

...the 2008 South Korean western directed by Kim Ji-woon. No masculin good feelings, no honor, no loyalty, no courage just funny, funny, funny! Especially Granny in the closet. You should pick it up sometime.

But if you want to know who truly has true grit, take a look below:

Yep! Jerry! Here's what the vet found in his intestin:

No, not the green blanket. Let's get a little closer...

...Can you see that?

That's a button and a half-digested piece of string from a sauccisson. That's been blocking his digestive tract since the 10th of January...

...Poor kitty! He has a lot more stitches than anyone else in this family has ever had!

But now we're giving him love and FOOD! Glorious FOOD!


  1. Jerry, Jerry, Jerry....what calamity or catastrophy will befall you next? Are these strange indigestibles really the only edibles you can find? I think not. No wonder you possess true grit by now, you have to! That stitched-up tummy is quite a price to pay, even for love...

    But thanks for the brief Western film summaries and recommendations. Though I think that "February IS for Lovers", we are now thinking of getting "The Good The Bad The Weird". We need some laughter here... As for the rest of those Westerns we have not already seen, they will have to wait. I am into Documentaries just now and am awaiting the "Inside Job", directed by Charles Ferguson. It won an Oscar Sunday.

  2. Keep in mind, Brigitte, that The Good, the Bad, the Weird is Malcolm and Henry's favorite. THEY find it funny, funny, funny, but will you???? It's fun to see Korean films. They're usually pretty good and different.

  3. Thanks for the tip about Westerns, Michelle.

    BTW, I find the picture at the top of this post quite appropriate for the "February is for Lovers" month. Perhaps even fit for a book cover, a book full of love stories. Lovely! Your grandkids will adore it and both of you.

  4. Yes, that picture opening this post is lovely. Who took it?

    The last pictures are, however, eeeeks... Poor Jerry! He is a mischievious little cat, now, isn't he? I hope the healing is quick.

    And, finally, a word about Westerns... though I'm no expert. You see, I don't really like Westerns and have rarely watched them. Until the last few years, that is, when John was able to suggest a few of the best as worthy of the time...

    Worth adding to your list, based on my very tiny sampling, Sturges' "The Magnificant Seven," a classic based on anohter classic, the Kurosawa film "The Seven Samurai."

    There's also a Fonda Western that I liked a lot, but I'm not sure if it was The Ox-Bow Incident or not... I'll have to ask John and get back to you.