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Clint Eastwood


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Keeping with tonigh's theme of "actors who rock your face", let's talk about Clint, the coolest man still alive. Very unlike The Duke, who embraced his stereotype as a cowboy, Clint did all he could to avoid it. Unfortunately, the time he grew up in, this was unavoidable, and he too saw his early years swallowed by medicore western endeavors - though Clint's were largely in a show "Rawhide" (though he was also on "Maverick").

 

Specifically instructing his agent to toss any scripts that came his way in the western setting, Clint somehow ended up with one that had gotten laughed out of most circles - a little-known Italian director who not only wanted to take the genre out of america, into the deserts of Spain, but wanted to retell masterful director Akira Kurosawa's classic samurai anti-hero, Yojimbo, in the setting. Fortunately, Eastwood had seen the film, and was eager enough to work for cheap, sweating in a faraway desert, working with more than a few who didnt speak English.

The gamble paid off.

 

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Fistfull of Dollars makred the biggest break from the western genre since, well, since John Ford all but created it. Here's a guy that rides into a town torn about rivaling gangs, and doesnt teamup with the Sheriff to make the streets safe for women & kids....he pits the two against each other, incites a war & tries to ride out of town with the loot.

There's not much talk. Not much morality, either, but what there is, is a ton of style, a newfound emphasis on voilence and shootouts so artful, theyre obviously the ancestors of John Woo's later developments on gun-fu. Eastwood's Man With No Name trilogy (curios, cause in 2 of the 3 he gets called a name repeatedly) starts here, and while the plot doesnt connect across the three, the themes do.

This is one of those classics where i dont think its possible to overstress the importance it had to its own genre.

 

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What happens when you take that formula, and introduce a badass villian? Much less said villian, Angel Eyes, being played by eagle-looking Lee Van Cleef, a villian so bad, he damn near killed Gary Cooper in High Noon, then The Duke and Jimmy Steart in The Man Who Shot Liverty Valence.

 

The 2 are basically bounty hunters after the same man, resolving to work together after some cool in-fighting. Amazon says:

 

A ringing instance of a sequel far outstripping its predecessor, Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More takes the lethal antihero from A Fistful of Dollars, gives him both a rival and an adversary worthy of sharing a gun-blazing corrida, and ratchets up the stylization to something approaching grandeur. This time the Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood) is a bounty hunter whose desert Southwest killing ground is suddenly crowded by the presence of an older, black-clad shootist (Lee Van Cleef). Individually and together, they terminate sundry grotesques while closing in on their biggest quarry, a memorably insane bandit called El Indio (Gian Maria Volonté is brilliant). There's just enough plot to imbue Van Cleef with genuine mystery, a dark avenging angel from a lost past whose pull would supply the emotional core of Leone's later masterworks Once upon a Time in the West and Once upon a Time in America. Leone's bravura widescreen compositions are breathtaking, and Ennio Morricone's music score--tinged with lunatic religiosity--is his first great one.

 

Which is true, because you somehow empathize with the man in black by the end. Some feel Leone did the films in order of greatness, which would leave the title of his finest one on...

 

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Oh my god, this move is so fucking cool.

ok: so Clint is Blondie, the same stoic badass anti-hero youve come to love in the last two films. The Bad is Angel Eyes, Lee Van Cleef, the man in black, a sadistic gunman who doesnt miss. And the Ugly is Eli Wallach, the classic mexican bad guy. Follow this:

Clint and Eli go town to town, with Eli comitting crimes for money, getting caught by Clint once there's a good enough reward, then right before he's to be hanged, Clint busts him out and they split the loot...mind you, this is no Buch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, because neither trusts the other. Now, they stumble upon a dying Union soldier, who konws the greatest secret: there's a coffin somewhere with a million in gold hidden out, but he tells Eli where the graveyeard is, and Clint which grave, then dies. Now, the two need to trust each other just long enough to get the gold.

 

Only, the fucking civil war is still going on, so theyve gotta enlist and get through battle sites posing as soldiers just to get by. The movie's For Three Men The Civil War Wasn't Hell. It Was Practice!" isnt just a cool line, its where theyre at. Now, Angel Eyes is a sadistic general who learns their secret and decideds to beat the information out of the men, before the escape.

 

As if all that wasnt so cool youve caught a cold by now, this all leads to the greatest finale youve seen: a tense 3-way shootout in a graveyard. Leone outdid himself with this epic war/western masterpiece, and Ennio Morricone gives his finest musical perofrmance of a long career, fitting each scene with simple haunting strings where lesser composers would have booming orchestras. Oh, and despite the 3 or so hours this amazing film goes on for, there's like a dozen lines or so, cause everone talks with their godamn guns.

 

"Two kinds've people in this world, Tuco: those with loaded guns, and those who dig.

*cocks gun & throws shovel*

"...you dig."

 

So yeah, this is as fine as Spaghetti Westerns got right here, and for me, much of other film genres as well.

 

Id love to talk about Sergio's later films like "Once upon a time in the west", but this is Clint's thread, so next up, i think we'll do possibly Hang 'Em High, Two Mules for Sister Sara, Kelly's Heroes, etc but honestly, i'll prolly skip ahead to The Outlaw Josey Whales, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider. I'm just biding my time till the dissertation on Unforgiven.

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NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal is Kazaam, a larger-than-life genie with a magic touch for nostop fun laughter!  After 5,00 long years of captivity, Kazaam is set free to grant three wishes to a new master.  From then on, he's catapulted to one wild adventure after another... from becoming the latest rap sensation or untangling an outrageous mob scheme! As the giant genie with an attitude, Shaq scores big laughs in this hilarious comedy hit that's sure to be a slam-dunk winner with everyone!

Edited by Iambaytor
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I'm curious whether this is just going to be a western discussion or whether Nick's gonna go into army movies, dirty harries and escapes from Alcatraz. And just how far is Nick willing to go in his discussion of Clint? Is he willing to step foot into Madison County? We'll soon find out.

 

By the way, did you know that Clint hasn't acted in a movie he hasn't directed since Wolfgang Peterson's In the Line of Fire in 1993? Just thought that was interesting.

Edited by Silent Bob
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NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal is Kazaam, a larger-than-life genie with a magic touch for nostop fun laughter!  After 5,00 long years of captivity, Kazaam is set free to grant three wishes to a new master.  From then on, he's catapulted to one wild adventure after another... from becoming the latest rap sensation or untangling an outrageous mob scheme! As the giant genie with an attitude, Shaq scores big laughs in this hilarious comedy hit that's sure to be a slam-dunk winner with everyone!

Edited by Iambaytor
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Startin off with the westerns, but all things Clint are welcome, sans Madison. Blood Work, prolly, too.

I didnt know that about In the line of fire though, that was cool. And Baytor, Paint your Wagon will get its day in the sun....i hate musicals, generally, but Clint singing with a drunken Lee Marvin while the town sinks into the earth? Hot dog, that's cinema!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Of the 'Man with no name' trilogy, I've only seen 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly', but it's definitely one of my favorite films (Quentin Tarantine proclaimed it to be his all-time favorite, I believe). Epic, stylish, funny, with sparse dialogue (the first ten minutes contain not a single spoken word), and a legendary climax. While I haven't seen 'A Fistful of Dollars', I checked out Yojimbo a while back, and enjoyed it immensely (probably even more so than 'Ugly').

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Rasta, youre the man.

You definitely owe it to yourself to see Fistfull, as well as For A Few Dollars More. After that, if youre down, check out Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis and Chrstopher Walken to see the latest take on Yojimbo.

ill see if i can figure out how to make decent copies of my trilogy sometime, its too badass not to share.

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  • 6 years later...

Seek and ye shall sometimes find - a Hondo's Search Box Story w/ a happy ending...

 

I was talking w/ a friend the other night and he was saying how he picked up Clint Eastwood's best moviein the bargain bin at Wal-Mart for only $5.

 

 

The Outlaw Josey Wales

 

 

And I realized, I'd never actually seen that movie the whole way through, just pieces of it on TV over the years. I'm curious as to how others in here would rank it both on Eastwood filmography (as an actor of course) and amongst other Westerns in general.

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I'm not even going to try and rank his entire filmography, but as far as Westerns go, from worst to best:

 

Hang 'Em High

Paint Your Wagon

Rawhide

High Planes Drifter

Joe Kidd

Two Mules For Sister Sarah

The Outlaw Josie Wales

Unforgiven/Pale Rider (It's a tie for me, they're both great for entirely different reasons)

A Fistful of Dollars

For a Few Dollars More

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Edited by Iambaytor
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That's mostly because it's a musical. It is a batshit insane movie even without the musical numbers but it is certainly entertaining and the ending with the bull in the tunnel certainly is a fine piece to end on. But do you feel I ranked it unfairly with the rest of those?

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No, not at all. I just think that it gets a whole load of shit and it's not that bad a flick. I never properly watched it until last year and myself and the two-year old I was watching it with had a grand ol' time. We also watched An Affair to Remember and the little fucker made me rewind the part where the kids sing to Deborah Kerr in bed around thirty times.

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i wouldn't say you ranked em unfairly, but you really didn't dig Hang Em High. admittedly, i can scarcely remember a scene to argue with you over.

 

Joe Kidd was likewise forgettable for me, looking back. Two Mules was enjoyable though - like Rooster Cogburn, a serviceable western with a non-annoying broad too. Pale Rider + Unforgiven was the only entry i'd take umbrage with, but i still should revisit Once Upon a Time before commenting, i guess.

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The reasons why Pale Rider and Unforgiven got the same spot are entirely different criteria but they're nice foils of the same story in my mind and they kind of show Clint's entrance into being a director of westerns and his exit.

 

Joe Kidd is massively better than Hang 'Em High but it is rather forgettable. Hang 'Em High is, at best, a TV-quality movie and Clint must have either needed the money or not realized how middle of the road bland the script was. It's nothing special at all, it's not bad but it's certainly no better than adequate.

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I'm not even going to try and rank his entire filmography, but as far as Westerns go, from worst to best:

 

Hang 'Em High

Paint Your Wagon

Rawhide

High Planes Drifter

Joe Kidd

Two Mules For Sister Sarah

The Outlaw Josie Wales

Unforgiven/Pale Rider (It's a tie for me, they're both great for entirely different reasons)

A Fistful of Dollars

For a Few Dollars More

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

 

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I find no real flaws with this, other than I would personally put Josie Wales slightly ahead of Unforgiven.

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I'm not even going to try and rank his entire filmography, but as far as Westerns go, from worst to best:

 

Hang 'Em High

Paint Your Wagon

Rawhide

High Planes Drifter

Joe Kidd

Two Mules For Sister Sarah

The Outlaw Josie Wales

Unforgiven/Pale Rider (It's a tie for me, they're both great for entirely different reasons)

A Fistful of Dollars

For a Few Dollars More

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

 

Watched Josie Wales the entire way through in one sitting for the first time ever last night. I'm having a hard time seeing as how one would rank it above Unforgiven. However, I'd need to have a CE Western marathon and brush up before I did a proper list. Hang 'Em High seems to be in the right spot and TGTB&TU seems to be in the wrong one for me on this list of Baytor's though.

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Watched Josie Wales the entire way through in one sitting for the first time ever last night. I'm having a hard time seeing as how one would rank it above Unforgiven.

 

that makes two of us - though a) josie wales is a great flick, and b) underranking unforgiven isnt uncommon as a sort've natural backlash to the critical reception it got.

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Pale Rider is for all intents and purposes the same general concept as Unforgiven. There's some badass gunfighter (except in Pale Rider he might be ghost or something) who quit his killing ways and turned "good" (in Pale Rider this is done by literally becoming a priest in Unforgiven its settling down with a good woman and living a quiet life as a dirt farmer) when something happens where first he's only detachedly involved, at best throwing some weight around and intimidating the bad guys (both of which are represented by civilization, in the case of Pale Rider it's a morally gray mining company and in Unforgiven it's a morally gray sheriff) who by the end are unquestionably evil people and he goes full-on man-with-no-name and rides off. Pale Rider is a more "safe" version in that it's a typical Hollywood western with Spaghetti Western sensibilities whereas Unforgiven was Once Upon a Time in the West Part 2.

 

It's honestly pretty hard for me to rank Pale Rider, Unforgiven, and The Outlaw Josie Wales as I have a pretty equal love of all three even though they're all good for very different reasons.

 

 

Haku - Where should Good, Bad, and Ugly rank? A Fistfull of Dollars is a more than serviceable remake of Yojimbo/adaptation of Red Harvest and For a Few Dollars More is even better but in my opinion Leone's movies just kept getting better (and, admittedly longer and slower, the preferred cut of Once Upon a Time in America is something like 4 hours) as they went along.

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Haku - Where should Good, Bad, and Ugly rank? A Fistfull of Dollars is a more than serviceable remake of Yojimbo/adaptation of Red Harvest and For a Few Dollars More is even better but in my opinion Leone's movies just kept getting better (and, admittedly longer and slower, the preferred cut of Once Upon a Time in America is something like 4 hours) as they went along.

It seems to me that TGTB&TU would rank high on a list of ALL TIME GREAT WESTERNS, so to put it at the very bottom of the CE catalog doesn't cotton w/ me on an immediate level. Again, I've yet to see all of the CE Westerns, and some that I have seen I need to re-watch before ranking them. So, you could very well be justified in putting it at the bottom, but my gut is saying not likely...

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