« "Inception" | Main | A nice thing »

July 14, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Chris O.

Good stuff, Glenn. Eastwood's referencing or taking-the-piss-out-of his own filmography in GRAN TORINO (on a lesser scale, same argument could be made for Cruise in KNIGHT & DAY, by the way -- detractors, I guess, would call it "self-parody"), tells us that he is self-aware and there's usually more going on than the conventional methods would suggest. Sometimes his efficiency -- as in, say, the frequent Mametesque non-acting approach -- might keep me at a distance for the first quarter of his films, but he's no-less fascinating that a lot of today's working directors and he has achieved in his career what many artists don't: a third act.

Chris O.

Also, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article for the New Yorker, last year or so, talking about Picasso vs. Cezanne (the prodigy vs. the late bloomer) and how the latter took practice and years of hard work and matured as an artist. I remember thinking about Eastwood at the time. The question, then, is has Eastwood really grown as a filmmaker since MISTY, or has the "free pass" distorted that preceived growth?

I think it's also intriguing he composes a lot of the music for his films as well, which should be talked about more often. (Though I wonder why he didn't for INVICTUS, instead passing those duties on to his son.)


If not for The Eastwood Pass, what one note would Richard Schickel, with his seething hatred of cinema, have played for the past fortysomething years?

Owain Wilson

Even his artistic disappointments have something going for them to draw you back for a second look. I support The Eastwood Pass.

I'm still waiting for his Neil Armstrong movie, First Man. His understated style is perfect for that incredible story.

Mr. Peel

I think I'd like to meet the person who goes to this festival to see THE ROOKIE and absolutely nothing else.

Glenn Kenny

@ Mr. Peel: Very funny. Yeah, I really ought to set myself a critical challenge and go check that out and see what grounds I could conceivably defend it on...it's been a while.


I believe "the pass" exists, and I have handed it out myself. See my review for Grand Torino ( http://stubhubby.blogspot.com/2009/01/gran-torino.html ) "...when Clint Eastwood directs a movie, I think critics give him a full letter-grade bump above what the movie really deserves. Why? First of all, he directs with restraint and class. Simplicity is the key, and there's no gloss or distractions. Secondly, he plays to his strengths, in directing and acting. He doesn't stretch himself, so he's always in his comfort zone. Third, he has such a consistent and quality track record, he gets the benefit of the doubt every time. Lastly, everyone in Hollywood loves him."
Two other thoughts: Am I the only person who sees Gran Torino as a Western? Did critics see the parallels too?
And: Which Eastwood movie was it when he impaled a bad guy with a gas-fired whale harpoon?

Oliver C

The Dead Pool?


All very well said, Glenn. But frankly I wish this whole mindset would go away, by which I mean that it is assumed by certain people that liking more than one film by a given filmmaker constitutes shady dealings. Among other things, it's intensely arrogant on the part of the skeptic. It's also fairly illogical. I don't know if I can work out the mathematical equation for this, but isn't it more likely to like the majority of the films by a filmmaker, because they hit a certain sweet-spot for you, than to only like, say, one out of ten?

The Jake Leg Kid

Been so long since I last saw EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE that I won't even bother trying to mount a defense of it (though I do remember liking it). However, I will say that the unpredictability of a filmography that manages to include movies as disparate as the oranguatan flicks, the Charlie Parker biopic, and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is one of the things that has always most endeared Eastwood to me. For me, the "out of left field" quality of some of Eastwood's project choices suggests an artist who is always experimenting with identity, who has never arrived at a set-in-stone definition of who he is or what he does. This I consider a good thing. It grants Eastwood the freedom to grow and reassess rather than being locked into making "Clint Eastwood" movies.

 lacoste shoes 2010

Experience never misleads; what you are missed by is only your judgement, and this misleads you by anticipating results from experience of a kind that is not produced by your experements. Do you think so?


I know I do!


I've actually become a fan of Eastwood over the last couple of decades, which I would have found surprising back in the days, as I'm afraid I'm one of those people - you know, the ones who find DIRTY HARRY problematic for ideological reasons (the fact it's a well made film and not a hack job makes it even more troubling for me). And yes, I'd even defend his attempt at sounding like John Huston in WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART (a sorely underrated film), as it got better for me as I got used to it. And I even think the orangutan films are kind of fun - well, the first one anyway. The only film he did last decade that I didn't like at all was CHANGELING.

But while I don't think Eastwood "gets a pass", I have to say. while one may like, as bill says, the majority of films by a director simply because they "hit your sweet spot," doesn't it stand to reason they're going to make a bad film every once in a while, and to acknowledge that doesn't mean they aren't still good? (unless this is the start of a permanent slide for them). I mean, for example, while I haven't seen INCEPTION yet, if it turns out to be a disappointing experience, to say that, to me, doesn't negate the fact I really liked his previous movies. It just means this one time, for whatever reason, he missed.


How dare anyone badmouth THE ROOKIE? It is COMIC GOLD, from Clint in a bad Members Only jacket lecturing Charlie Sheen on fashion, his passionate put-down of gay pink-sprinkled doughnuts, and his on-air profane televised tirade (capped by stuffing a stogie in his face all pleased with himself-- "...And I'm fuckin' likin' it!") are all moments that serve as a retroactive warmup for Walt Kowalski. Yeah, it's considered pretty far down in the Eastwood filmography, allegedly even Clint isn't huge on it... But fuck, it came out when I was 17 and thus is AWESOME, especially since it was the annual December WB action release, wedged in between TANGO AND CASH and LAST BOY SCOUT on the surrounding years.

And on that note, you should also assume the position and BOW to the unsung visual beauty of EIGER SANCTION (as well as Jack Cassidy's flamboyant performance) and the tense Cold War slickness of FIREFOX.

I'm sure everyone's aware of this and just considers them essentially Eastwood-directed anyway, since his entire crew was behind the scenes, but neither the monkey movies nor DEAD POOL were technically directed by Clint.


The comments to this entry are closed.