That's just part of what makes this version of "True Grit" so amusing, though. There's also Bridges' competitive interplay with Matt Damon, a bit of a buffoon as a preening Texas Ranger, which Damon plays with some of the same goofy humor he showed last year in "The Informant!" It's yet another reminder that he can do anything.
Movie City News
Matt Damon gave my favorite performance in the film because LaBoeuf was the only character that really seemed like he was in a Coen Brothers movie. LaBoeuf is odd, but not in an unnecessary way. He’s heroic, but almost in an incidental way. He’s got a strangely strong temper, but it seems to be borne out of caring. Damon’s walk, the way he carries himself, the way he talks, all speak to the arrogance of this character. When he’s not on screen, the film loses its dark sense of humor and becomes far more conventional.
In fact, "True Grit" is loaded with impressive acting. Matt Damon shows he can handle character roles as a Texas Ranger on the trail of the killer. He becomes the comic relief and the central purveyor of the dark humor that permeates Coen brother films.
New York Post
Damon does some of the best acting of his career here: Everything about LaBoeuf feels soft, from his suede coat to his fluffy mustache and the jingle-bell sound of his shiny spurs. Yet this sagebrush oaf — Mattie calls him a “rodeo clown” — becomes fully human as Damon locates the professionalism and wounded pride of a man who might be able to control his self-serving prattle if only everyone would stop making fun of him.
A third wheel gets added to this party soon enough, when a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf, who is after Chaney for another crime, joins their party. A bit of a bragger and more than a bit stuck on himself, LaBoeuf is beautifully realized by Damon as someone whose Sharps carbine is envied but whose presence irritates all and sundry.
If the new “True Grit” has a clear claim of superiority over the 1968 version, it’s the fact that Matt Damon plays LaBeouf and not Glen Campbell. With the clothing of Buffalo Bill Cody and the rectitude of Dudley Do-Right, LaBeouf is a walking cliché but refuses to admit it. He wears jangling spurs even when he’s nowhere near a horse. Damon’s obtuse LaBeouf is a delight – “You give very little sugar with your pronouncements,” he tells the blunt-spoken Mattie – and if anyone scores an Oscar for “True Grit,” it will be Damon. Steinfeld may be a runner up as the stone-faced Mattie.
Just watch her outmaneuver a horse trader or slap around Matt Damon's La Boeuf (pronounced "la beef"), the vain Texas ranger who deems her too unattractive and too young to rouse his interest. You'll go nuts over Damon. He puts everything into the role and rides it to glory.
Q: How do you pick your projects?
A: It's always a director decision for me. It's a director's medium. A mediocre director can ruin a great script, and a great director can elevate a mediocre script. That's your big bet. You're looking at that person and you're all in on that person. And then you've got to ride the horse to the finish line. That's the thing. I don't believe in blowing up a movie if it's not going well. You've just got to do your level best to finish the job as well as you can. Sometimes you're working with the Coen brothers, and it's just a blissful, easy experience, and sometimes you're not, and the director isn't what you thought he was. But you never abandon (the movie). Your chips go in the middle with the decision to say you'll do the movie. That's when you're taking your career in your hands, at the moment you say yes.
The reunion [with Bridges] was “great,” Joel says. “It’s been a long time since we worked together, but, you know, it was a very easy, really congenial relationship the first time and on this one it felt very much the same. Jeff’s a really easy-going guy in terms of personal relationships and all the rest of it. He’s not a contentious fellow. But so is Matt [Damon]. Matt is a real team player, get in there and do the stuff.” He adds with a laugh and a playful smirk to his brother, “Josh [Brolin], on the other hand, is a pain in the ass.”
Movieline: There’s a very… awkward relationship between Mattie and LaBeouf—
Hallie: Yes! [Laughs]
Movieline: I mean, he all but makes a pass at her in their first meeting, and later, he’s almost heartbroken to bid farewell. I’m curious how you and Matt Damon worked together to find just the right balance of sympathy and… whatever you want to call that. Was that weird?
Hallie: As the character, it is kind of weird and awkward and mysterious. But Matt is so incredible. He’s the best — so soft-spoken, so gentle. There was never a point in the entire process where I felt intimidated by him. And my thanks to him: He never made me feel that way. He was always giving me encouragement, and that was helpful. I think a lot of it had to do with our offscreen relationship being great. We had about a week and a half of rehearsal before we started shooting, so we had that time to find the truth of the scene and really share our ideas on things like that. But that [scene] itself really isn’t something we talked about.
Sony Pictures recently began filming its fourth installment of the Spider-Man series locally, and 20th Century Fox’s “We Bought a Zoo,” starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, is preparing to begin production in Thousand Oaks next month.
In Thousand Oaks, crews have been building a zoo on a private ranch as they prepare to begin a 50-day shoot next month for “We Bought a Zoo.”
Directed by Cameron Crowe, the film is based on the bestselling memoir of the same name about an Englishman who build a wildlife preserve to care for some 200 animals.
Most Valuable Player
Matt Damon distinguished himself in just about every way possible in 2010 – charging righteously through Paul Greengrass’s Green Zone, playing a soulful seer in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, narrating Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, turning in one of the savviest performances of his career as a puffed-up Texas Ranger in True Grit… and just crushing it as Liz Lemon’s boyfriend Carol on 30 Rock.