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'True Grit' Ruined Christmas
I'll admit it. I was one of the shaggy, bearded Austin hipsters who agreed to work minimum wage to be an extra in the Coen Brothers' locally shot, skewed sepia vision, True Grit. You might have missed me in the hanging scene if you weren't looking at the cutting room floor ... very closely. So, what made standing out in the sun for two days in several very vintage layers, watching stuntmen get hung repeatedly worth it? Apart from meeting a handful of funny and interesting people, not really. I had hoped to see the movie with the other extras as a sort of reunion where we would all play the Old West version of Where's Waldo? with people in wool suits and bowler hats. But the movie was released at Christmastime, so we were scattered throughout the country, leaving me to see the movie with high school friends in upstate New York. I was scheduled to fly back to Austin the day after Christmas, but the blizzard of 2010 grounded my flight, so a screening of True Grit was meant to take my mind off the delay. Things would not pan out as planned. After not seeing me or anyone I knew in our scenes (they felt like our scenes when they were filmed, anyway), I got a call from the airline in the middle of the movie letting me know that I wouldn't have a flight for another five days. I spent the rest of the film sitting in the dark between my two enraptured friends coming to terms with the many ramifications of the delay. My bitterness grew as the plot unfolded, and when the credits rolled, my pals gushed about how much they loved the film. For me, the movie was ruined. I had no stardom, no split-second of fame, and on top of that, I was stuck in my childhood home which slowly morphed into The Shining's Overlook Hotel as the snow accumulated. I'll tell you what grit is: shoveling through post-blizzard drifts when the closest thing to a winter jacket you own is a thermal undershirt under a windbreaker.
True Grit screens Saturday, May 28, 7pm, and Sunday, May 29, 6:40pm.