GROWLS AND ‘SWELLS’: AN ANALYSIS OF CLINT EASTWOOD (Part 8)

| April 19, 2016

EPISODE 8: Being Tender In Your Heart (or whatever sounds sentimental)

Welcome back eager readers to the Clint Eastwood analysis. When we last left Mr. Eastwood, he was telling punks to “Get off his lawn.” It occurred to me that this is the way we know Clint rather than the way he is. Truth be told, the man has indeed been a bastion of sentimentality.

Yes folks, Clint is more than just a tough guy, he has a heart like any human being. He has shown his heart through many ventures, but only 4 show us his Tender side.

So join me as we discuss films about boxers with heart, a boy with a Casper costume, lots of lovemaking on a bridge, and the cowboys and clowns.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY
3.5 OUTTA 4 PUNCHING BAGS

Debate has strongly effected the way we see Million Dollar Baby and its Oscar win. But suppose we look at the movie itself.

Telling the story of an aspiring boxer named Maggie (Hillary Swank), this film has much more to it than the sentimental eye perceives. Heres is a story filled with moral conflict and downright hard choices that affect the human condition deeply. Thats what Clint does best here, he relishes in these moments. Boxing is a pure and utter afterthought compared to how one deals with life. Rounded out with excellent performances and superb cinematography that deals with crushed darkness, MILLION DOLLAR BABY is a win for anyone watching. It is that rare film that manages to question your own moral standing in such away that can only be described as graceful.

A PERFECT WORLD

3 OUTTA 4 CASPER COSTUMES

What a strange film, that somehow works. Telling the story of a kidnapping and the adventures that ensue, A PERFECT WORLD is uneven at times, yet manages to tie itself up, albeit rather conveniently.

What this film has going for it is pure heart. The scenes with Kevin Costner and the kid are tense yet uplifting, whereas the Clint scenes are flat and devoid of any meaning up until the end as his crack team of investigators drive carelessly in a mobile home. Ultimately, its is Clints direction and not his acting that save this movie from being anything other than a very strange affair.

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

2.5 OUTTA 4 BRIDGES

Look… Im not exactly cynical, but this film has nothing going for it beyond the people involved. What happens: well… A woman is lonely and she meets a guy and develops a romance that is forbidden.

Meryl Streep and Clint are great in a film that is otherwise nothing more than Nicholas Sparks inspired tripe. And this is coming from a guy who enjoys THE NOTEBOOK. Nothing of true revelation is revealed in this very tame love story that deals with tension in a strange way. If anything, the tension is more interesting than the absolute result.

The film is shot beautifully though…. perfectly capturing the utter boredom of Iowa in a lens that makes it feel interesting for a moment.

BRONCO BILLY

4 OUTTA 4 COWBOYS AND CLOWNS

Bronco Billy is that rare film in anyone’s career where the true joy of show business is put on display.

Telling bthe story of a rag tag group of Rodeo performers, one feels a sense of warmth and family amidst these misfits, who when you find out their true origin will give you a sincere gasp. In the midst of this is a story about a woman who has a massive fortune that gets stuck with our heroes in their rodeo ventures. It is forced, but you forget it quickly when the charm of the Rodeo family hits you like a ton of bricks. Its a purely sentimental piece that is beautifully composed out of of pure passion rather than vanity, and thats what makes it work.

Side note: Scatman Crothers should have been in so many more films.

And that is what happens when Clint goes teary eyed. But there is a sequel to this whole affair. Two other films that warrant a Part 2 of “Tender Clint.” We will get to that later, but coming up next: when Clint goes MUSICAL!

About the Author:

Zach Eastman is the filmmaker responsible for films such as TWOMBLEY (Starz Film Festival 2012 Official Selection) and THE BOY WHO STARES. He is also the producer of Matty O Connor's film GUNS DRUGS AND SYNERGY, Adam Jewels award winning film THE ZONE, and Tony Grosz's TWO YEARS SINCE FRIDAY. He has been a frequent guest on REEL NERDS PODCAST and now is one of their contributors.
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