Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ★★★
Apparently this movie is based on a book relating a true story of a murder in Savannah, Georgia. Clint directs but does not show in the film – his daughter does some acting in the film. An upcoming extremely wealthy young man is convicted of murdering his employee. Much of the film takes place in the trial, where truths about the wealthy person are exploited, but eventually exonerating the man of murder save for self-defense. Many other themes are woven through the book including a voodoo practitioner, a transvestite, wealthy society woman and Haute society life in Savannah. It gave one a good feel for the superficiality of life in the South, where appearances were more important than reality. I presume that unless one has read the book, the movie tends to drag a bit. The directing is superb, but many scenes did not contribute to the flow of the movie, though probably made sense in the book itself, such as the graveyard scenes. Many of Clint’s later movies are better than this one.
Million Dollar Baby ★★★
Clint runs a boxing center and trains the pro boxers. He has a girl pestering him to have him become her trainer, which he initially refuses to do. She goes on to great success, only to have an attack from the rear by her opponent long after the bell rings, rendering her quadriplegic. She eventually gets Clint to pull the plug on her since she doesn’t wish to live. The movie has lots of slow action, and unnecessary scenes, making it drag, and a terrible moral ending that suggests that killing (euthanasia) is occasionally ok. Otherwise, it wasn’t a bad movie. The acting is superb, including that of Clint, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. The movie does an excellent job of portraying the agony of one who makes decisions against his better judgment and then has to live with the consequences of those decisions.
Mystic River ★★
Three childhood friends eventually grow up and go their separate ways. One of them has a child that was murdered, another was the suspected murderer, and the last is the detective trying to solve the case. The movie begins in a very slow and confusing fashion, and we almost turned it off out of boredom. The movie does a good job of psychoanalyzing the effects of child abuse and broken relationships, yet never offers ultimate redemption for any of the characters.
Outlaw Josey Wales ★★★★★
This was a western starring Clint that is truly a decent film. Clint is a farmer in Missouri whose farm is overrun and his family was slain by renegade union men just after the civil war. Clint seeks justice but finds that the Union remains deceptive and corrupt. Plus, the union now has a price on his head. Running from bounty hunters and ex-outlaw partner, he is continually placed into tight situations where he narrowly escapes but is befriended by Indians and settlers who also are fighting for existence in a land without justice.
Paint Your Wagon ★★★
This is a fairly lame musical, even having to bear with Clint singing. He doesn’t do too bad. The cinematography and scene setups are awesome, but then, beaucoup bucks were spent to make this film. The scene is the Sacramento area during the gold rush, when Clint and Lee Marvin stake out a profitable region yielding much gold. They also end up with the same wife, purchased off of some Mormons. The story leaves much to be desired. Worth watching once.
Pale Rider ★★★★
The scene is in the gold rush basin of central California, and a downstream mining company is harassing the upstream settlers to leave. Clint comes into town as a preacher man, and eventually settles matters, when the mining company decides to hire a gang of renegade sheriffs to remove Clint from the scene. All are exterminated, and Clint goes riding into the sunset. Actually, this is a rather well-done film, with good acting, and a good flow of action.
Perfect World ★★★
A couple of jailbreakers kidnap a young boy, Philip. Kevin Costner, one of the jailbreakers, kills his partner and then runs off with the kid. A massive police search is done, with Costner adequately evading capture while creating havoc and murders along their path. Costner is the main star, engaging in conversation with the kid, learning that he had a “deprived” childhood, since his mom was a JW and would not let the kid celebrate Halloween or Christmas, etc. So, Costner endears himself to the child, painting a fantasy world to him. Eventually, Costner is wounded by Philip, and then is cornered by the police, with Clint in charge. Costner is again shot against Clint’s instructions, and the child goes home with mommy. The worst part of this film is that it painted fantasies that children should experience or else they would be “deprived”. The kid was a good actor.
Pink Cadillac ★★★
Clint fills the bounty hunter role in the 1960s of seeking out a lady who skipped out on paying her bail bonds. This leads him into getting entangled with a gang of outlaw soldiers of fortune dudes hiding out in the Sierras with the kidnapped child of the lady. They eventually get the baby back. The movie had much humor giving it 3 stars, but the typical worn-out Clint dodging bullets, driving recklessly, and managing an uncontrollable female all at the same time.
Play Misty for Me ★★★★★
This movie is “Fatal Attraction” before that movie ever came out. It is a suspenseful psycho-thriller of a lady who falls in love with a disc jockey and then pursues him relentlessly to her ultimate demise. Clint is quite young at the time, and I’m told this is his first movie that he directed. He definitely ran a low-budget but brilliant directing and acting created a masterpiece.
While not within the Dirty Harry series, this film fits the Dirty Harry tradition, with Clint playing an aging cop, and Charlie Sheen as the rookie. In a break with Dirty Harry tradition, the rookie doesn’t get knocked off, but becomes a Clint Eastwood clone. The action is great, and Charlie does a superb job of acting his role. Clint and Charlie are cops in LA snaking out auto thieves and stumble across a ring of thieves. At first, Charlie makes a series of rookie mistakes but learns quickly in order to get the bad guy.
Space Cowboys ★★★
Clint becomes a space shuttle pilot in this episode. He happens to be the sole designer of a guidance system for satellites, that is now long outdated. It just happens that the Soviets stole his guidance system plans and used them in a supposed communications satellite of their own. This guidance system has gone haywire and the satellite in orbiting on a crash course with earth. For some unknown reason, the Soviets call on the US to repair their satellite. And, it happens that Clint and his three pilot buddies have a grudge with NASA being “dissed” 40 years previously. So, they train, struggle through bureaucratic baloney and finally make the flight. In space, they discover that the satellite is not a communications satellite but loaded with six nuclear rockets aimed at the US, which explains why the Soviets wished to have it fixed. They finally send it to the moon, but, people die and Clint flies the space shuttle home to Florida without a scratch. The graphics were nice in this film, the story was just too hokey to be reasonable.
Sudden Impact ★★★★★
This is the fourth Dirty Harry film. It seems like the later Dirty Harry films are better than the first. Clint is trying to solve the mystery of a series of killings, which are occurring from a lady (Sondra Locke) who was gang-raped. She is out to do justice. Eventually, the killers are knocked off, and Sondra is not identified as the killer except by Dirty Harry, who lets it all slide.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot ★
Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges play Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, two criminals seeking for their next heist when old ex-partners of Clint’s enter the scene and complicate matters. They eventually stage a heist of a bank vault, find previous heist money, and only Clint ends of getting away and surviving. Not exactly a thrilling film, with even a worse message.
Tightrope has Clint as a detective on the murder squad in New Orleans. He is tracking down serial rape murders, where the murderer has a past history with Clint and thus is trying to pursue the females that come into Clint’s life. The film starts with a lot of inappropriate nudity from the rape-murder scenes but evolves into a very intense psycho-thriller. Good acting from both Clint and Clint’s daughter Alison.
True Crime ★★★★
Clint is an aging reporter working for the newspaper in Oakland. He’s troubled by a past of heavy alcohol use, and present life of cheating on his wife through liaisons with a coworker’s wife. Then he smells out that a black man is wrongly convicted of a murder that he didn’t do, but the execution is scheduled for 12 hours from now. In the course of 12 hours, he proceeds to solve the mystery of the killer and save the man from execution. It is a good storyline, which isn’t helped by painting the main hero (Clint) as a drunken, philandering godless man.
Two Mules for Sara ★★★
Clint is wandering through Mexico when he runs across a nun named Sara (Shirley McClaine) who is being raped by three gringos. He frees her, then they begin a collaboration to help throw out the Mexican resistance throw the French out of Mexico. This they accomplish though with the inclusion of a number of side events, such as Clint being shot in the chest with an arrow or when Clint discovers that the nun is actually a prostitute. The movie makes for light entertainment but is not your best western.
Outside of his No Name Trilogy, this is Clint’s best western. He is a “retired” gunman and reformed by his now-dead wife. A young kid comes to his place seeking bounty money paid by a group of whores in town to seek revenge on two cowboys who cut up one of the girls. Clint, the boy, and his “partner” head off to find the two cowboys. A secondary theme is a renegade sheriff in town who tends to do more harm to innocent people than to criminals and make law only to protect himself. Clint and the kid eventually get the two cowboys but return to town to find that the sheriff killed the “partner” for no good reason. Clint eventually gets revenge on the sheriff and then moves himself and the kids out to San Francisco.
Where Eagles Dare ★★★★★
Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton are the two main stars in this film. They are a part of a covert operation to bring back a General held captive in Schloss Adler (supposedly Kehlsteinhaus – Hilter’s hideout in the Bavarian Alps). Between incredible cinematography, stunts, superb acting, a fast-paced storyline, and a highly unpredictable outcome, the film deserves five stars. Its most serious problem is that it has an unbelievable storyline, with Richard and Clint singlehandedly resisting and knocking off squadrons of German soldiers without getting hardly a scratch. If that can be forgiven, the film becomes quite awesome to watch – one of Eastwood’s better films.
White Hunter, Black Heart ★★★
Clint Eastwood plays a rough, eccentric Hollywood director working on a film in Africa. He arrives before the producer and decides to go on an elephant hunt. He can’t get the elephant hunt out of his head until the black guide is killed by the elephant Clint was trying to hunt. The movie portrays Clint as a worst possible movie director, irresponsible, inattentive to the producer, and irresponsible for other people’s lives. The movie left you hating the Clint character. Not a bad film.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ★★★