For your reading pleasure on this rainy afternoon, I highly recommend this article over at USA Today, The Western genre gets back in the saddle. It's an excellent essay with quotes from Jeff Bridges, the Coen brothers, Jennings Brown of Cowboys & Indians magazine, and Elmore Leonard.
To quote from Jennings Brown:
"For some Western fans, just tinkering with Wayne's True Grit is almost sacrilegious. Our core audience definitely was concerned. But with the critical acclaim and box-office success of the movie, I think die-hard Western fans are hoping this means an end to a slump," one that started not long after Clint Eastwood won two Oscars for 1992's Unforgiven.
"I am still a little concerned, though, about this attempt to rejuvenate the Western through movies that appeal to young and old, particularly the efforts made through comic books," says Brown. "Jonah Hex just did not work. Maybe Cowboys & Aliens can do better."
Whether or not True Grit wins best picture at the Academy Awards, I am thrilled that it has generated so much interest and box office. Whether or not it's better than the original is now a moot point in my opinion. Right now, at this moment, it's a great movie that's bringing in both older and younger audiences, thanks to a story line centered around a young girl. For the Western genre, which has been on life support for the past few decades, it's a shot in the arm it desperately needs.