It’s nearly Christmas Day, which means that we have arrived at the final true release day of the year for movies in 2010. (Next week does see the limited releases of both “Blue Valentine” and “Another Year,” but this is the last week for anything that might be filling your local multiplex.) The last 12 months are certainly going out with an eclectic bang, and this year’s Christmas films couldn’t be more different than one another. There’s the broad family comedy of “Little Fockers” (the third installment in the series starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro), but there is also the Jack Black fantasy comedy “Gulliver’s Travels,” the Gwyneth Paltrow country music movie “Country Strong” and the smaller releases of both Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” and Sylvain Chomet’s (“The Triplets of Belleville”) new heartbreaking animated masterpiece “The Illusionist.”
But for anybody seeking retribution this Christmas, look no further than “True Grit,” the second adaptation of the Charles Portis novel of the same name (the first version earned John Wayne his only Oscar). The new version is written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. The story follows Steinfeld’s character and her quest (with the assistance of Bridges and Damon) to get revenge on Brolin, who murdered her father. It’s a deft piece of storytelling and another towering performance by Bridges, who inhabits the Rooster Cogburn character with the sort of ferocity and grace that has earned him accolades throughout his career.
In order to properly prepare yourself for “True Grit,” check out the playlist below, which features a handful of tunes that pay tribute to the wild west, the quest for revenge and the power of friendship under pressure. But the whole thing kicks off with a tip of the hat to Bridges’ performance in the form of Alice in Chains’ “Rooster.”