Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

Call Me the Over Analyzer

6 Mar

My wife just read my last post, and she was not happy with it. She says that I ruin sappy movies by over analyzing them. She is probably right. I tend to over analyze movies.caution

Jeremiah Johnson is one of my favorite Westerns, and I critique it because it is not a true portrayal of  mountain man life. They never show him doing his job, which should be trapping beaver for a fur trading company. That is what I loved about The Revenant. It actually showed the bloody and grueling work of mountain men. Of course, they also filmed a movie in the Canadian Rockies even though the actual story took place in the Dakotas. Those are two places that do not look the same.

There is a long list of movies that I have over analyzed, but there is one that I could not get my head around. In The Bridges of Madison County, Meryl Streep watched her husband and kids leave town to show a cow at the state fair. Then, Clint Eastwood shows up and sweeps her off of her feet. Most people walked out of the movie thinking about this love that could never be fulfilled. I left the movie thinking about her poor husband showing the cow at the state fair. He would never know that his wife was screwing around while audiences cried over her heartbreak.

Anyway, I guess I am bad about over analyzing movies. I look for the inconsistencies. Heck, I have my classes watch movies based on historic events and make them write papers about how wrong the movies are.

Maybe I am taking this movie thing too far. I expect movies to tell me what really happened, and movies are not going to do that. Many of them are going to be entertaining. Many of them are going to be thought-provoking. A bunch of them are going to suck. I just need to understand that they are rarely going to be realistic.

 

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The Third Most Interesting Man in the World

7 Jul

Over the holiday weekend, we did a lot of sitting around. We did other stuff, too. However, lounging was the primary activity. During this time of leisure, I found myself wandering down the Internet rabbit hole to occupy my mind and found an interesting bit of information.

It all started with a Dos Equis commercial that did not include the Most Interesting Man in the World. In fact, it was about the soon-to-be unveiling of the new Most Interesting Man in the World. That is when my mind started wondering. What happened to the old one? Was there a contract dispute? Did he die? Did he stop being interesting?Most Interesting

I did the Google thing and found out that Dos Equis decided that it was time to revamp the advertising campaign. I am not sure that will work, but there are a bunch of highly paid advertising executives who think differently. I also found out something else.

This is another picture of the Most Interesting Man in the World.Tommy

Those of you who watch Westerns may recognize him as Tommy, one of the gang that lynched Clint Eastwood in Hang ‘Em High. Clint did not die, and he spends the rest of the movie chasing down everyone who tried to kill him. This includes Bruce Dern, the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island, Ed Begley and Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who is the Most Interesting Man in the World.

That is not all. I also found out that Jonathan Goldsmith tried to kill John Wayne in The Shootist. As you can see from this clip, that did not go well for him.

What did I learn from my holiday weekend research?

He may be able to speak Russian in French.

He may be able to kill two stones with one bird.

He may have won the lifetime achievement award twice.

However, the Most Interesting Man in the World could not measure up to Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.

If These Movies Are On Television, Then I Will Watch Them

30 Jul

The other day, I wrote a post about the BBC and its list of the 100 best American films, and a commenter said that I should provide my own list of top movies. Unfortunately, I am not a movie critic and cannot delve into the intricacies of acting and directing. I only know what movies I like and do not like.

With that in mind, I decided to take this challenge into a different direction. When I am scrolling through the guide, there are some things that I will automatically click on and watch for a while. This includes a few movies with different levels of quality. If I cannot make a list of the greatest movies of all time, then I can make a list of the 10 movies I will always watch if I see them on the television guide.

They are coming at you in the order that I thought of them.

Manhunter (1986) – This was on last night and led me to write this post. It is the first movie about Hannibal Lecter and is directed by Michael Mann. In other words, it is Silence of the Lambs meets Miami Vice. You may have seen its remake, Red Dragon, but this one is a lot more entertaining.

Flash Gordon (1980) – Let Dino de Laurentiis try to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon, and this is what you get. It has some great actors and some not-so-great actors, but they are all having a good time. It would have been awesome to been in the room when Flash attacked Ming’s guards by playing football. On top of that, Ornella Muti is there in all her glory.Ornella

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) – Two stars of the 1980s, Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke, try to make their transition into the next decade. They ride motorcycles. They go after drug dealers. They act cool. Well, acting might be too strong of a word. I have already written about this one and will move on down the line.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – When I become king, a new law will make its way across the land. As a testament to its greatness, everyone must watch this movie. Clint Eastwood is awesome, and it is filled with awesome quotes. I should know because I have them all memorized. In the early days of this blog, I wrote an extensive post about this one.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – As with the previous movies, I have already written about this one. Burt Reynolds is at his peak. Jackie Gleason is hilarious. I saw it five times when it was in release and can never watch it too many times. The only problem is that television cleans up the language and, in the process, destroys a lot of the laughs.

El Dorado (1966) – I could have listed a ton of John Wayne movies, but I think I click on this one more than any other. It could be because this one is on regularly. Anyway, it is a script that was filmed several times, but it never gets old. Oh yeah, there is one other thing. As I have written before, it is a poetic movie.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – This is a terrible movie. Klinton Spilsbury never made another movie. Heck, he did not really make this one. James Keach was brought in to dub his lines. However, it has some redeeming qualities. Merle Haggard sings the theme song, and part of it was filmed in Monument Valley.

Logan’s Run (1976) – I am a big fan of dystopian movies, and this is one of my favorites. How can post-apocalyptic life be bad with scantily clad women everywhere? On top of that, a push of a button can make one of the scantily clad women appear instantly in your apartment. The only thing that could go wrong is that Carrousel ride at the age of 30. On second thought, it would probably be better to live with a bunch of cats in a destroyed Washington, D.C.Cats

For Love of the Game (1999) – This is a movie that used to hit me on a deep emotional level. As the years pass, it does not have the same effect. Despite that, it is still a good movie. Kevin Costner has made a bunch of sports movies, but this is my favorite one. It could be because Vin Scully is calling the game.

Legends of the Fall (1994) – This is another movie that reaches me on an emotional level, but it is also interesting in a historical sense. Obviously, it is about a family that goes through years of heartache. However, it is also about rum-running during Prohibition. They talk about the Volstead Act and smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border. I could go deeper into a historical analysis, but I may need that for another post.

Now, let us analyze the list by decade.

1960s – 1

1970s – 3

1980s – 3

1990s – 3

Interestingly, nothing made in the past 16 years has knocked a movie off this list. I wonder what that means.

Then, there is this. Over half of the list was filmed between 1976 and 1986. Those must have been formative movie years for me.

Anyway, those are the movies that I will always watch if I find them on television. What are a few of the movies that would make your list?

The Man Who Shot the Shootist

22 Jan

Earlier, I was flipping through the channels and landed on The Shootist, John Wayne’s last movie. It is not my favorite, but, since it is the Duke’s final film, I have seen it several times. I guess that means I do not have this one memorized like a bunch of the other ones.The Shootist

Despite it not being a favorite, The Shootist has some good parts. James Stewart makes a cameo and having him in a movie is always a good thing. Ron Howard also appears during his transition from Opie Taylor to Richie Cunningham to famous director. Lauren Bacall shows up as Bond, a character named in honor of Ward Bond.

The movie has some good scenes and some good lines, but the ending always gets to me. Perhaps, it is because I know that it is the last time John Wayne appeared on film. The movie is about an era coming to an end and, although they did not realize it, the movie also marks the end of a career.

I have always wonder about the actors who took part in that final shootout. In the years that followed, did they think about that scene? Did they feel honored to be part of it? Did they care?

In short, John Wayne sets up one last gunfight with three people who would like to kill him.

Richard Boone was well-known as Paladin on Have Gun, Will Travel and had been in a bunch of movies, including John Wayne’s Big Jake.

Hugh O’Brian played the title character in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and had a bit part in In Harm’s Way with John Wayne.

Bill McKinney, a native Tennessean, accomplished something that could be unique. He was killed in the movies by John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. The final scene in The Shootist did not work out for him, and, earlier that same year, he played Captain Red Legs Terrill in The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Each one of those actors could challenge John Wayne in a gunfight, but, in true Duke fashion, they could not do him in. Instead, he was shot in the back by the bartender.

That is the whole point of this post. Who was given the role of shooting John Wayne in the back? Who killed John Wayne in his final film? After an extensive search, I discovered that the role went to an uncredited actor named Charles G. Martin.

He had sixteen acting credits, and The Shootist was also his last movie. Unfortunately, more information was hard to come by. I found no pictures and little about his life. He was born in Arlington, Texas in 1912 and passed away in Sarasota, Florida in 1998.

If anyone knows more about Charles G. Martin, then I would be interested to read about it.

The Honeymooners – From Pebble Beach to Pasta Moon

17 Jul

Day two of the honeymoon brought a trip down California Highway 1, which follows the coast. This is a road that I have long wanted to drive, and I was about to hit a short stretch of it. We left out in the morning with the fog still covering the coast, and Necole kept talking about how different it was from the beaches that she was accustomed to seeing.

Around here, most people go to the beaches on the gulf coast. To me, they look like any other beach. Flat. Sand. Small waves. Hotels and condos everywhere. This coast was different. Cliffs dove into the water. Beaches formed between cliffs and were guarded by rock outcroppings. It was completely different, and, in my opinion, more beautiful.Honeymoon 005

I was not surprised by the cliffs. However, I was surprised about the other things we passed. Vegetation went to the edge of the cliffs and the beaches. Crops grew and livestock grazed on the left while the ocean was on the right. I really didn’t anticipate seeing that much agriculture. Some people were picking berries. Others were selling their products at roadside stands. It was really interesting to see.

We also passed through a few cities. The road cuts through Santa Cruz, and Monterey in larger than I had imagined. For some reason, I wanted to be transported back several decades and walk up to the music festival to hear Jimi Hendrix.

We got to our destination in time for lunch, and, for us, eating is very important. Our plan was to dine at Pebble Beach, the famous golf course community. My brother and his family had eaten there, and we were hunting for the same place. We happened upon it and dined while overlooking the famous 18th hole.Honeymoon 007

It is a beautiful place, and one that every golfer should get the opportunity to play. It would be a cool experience, but I would rather be at Pebble Beach for its annual car show. Classic automobiles line the fairway in a contest to see which is the greatest of them all. Millions of dollars worth of vehicles are brought to the competition. The Best of Show gets the crystal trophy that is third in the row. The closest one is given to the winner of the U.S. Open or something.Honeymoon 009

After lunch, we bought a few souvenirs and drove the short distance to Carmel, famous for being the home of Clint Eastwood. Once again, what we found is not what I had imagined – a small hamlet by the sea that had a few art galleries and restaurants. It had those things but also had a tourist feel. I thought of it as Gatlinburg with a little more class. Hopefully, some of you will know what I mean by that. We strolled through the shops and had a snack at the bakery. I bought a John Wayne pen set that was way too expensive.

After some time, we decided to head back for our last night in Half Moon Bay. We were determined not to repeat our dinner from the night before and found Pasta Moon, an Italian restaurant on Main Street. I would recommend it to anyone. The atmosphere was low-key, and the food was great.

We also noticed what was around the restaurant. There were shops, galleries and a few other restaurants. For some reason, I kept thinking that this was what Carmel used to be. It turns out that we went to Carmel looking for something but actually found it in Half Moon Bay.

Into the Sunset

1 Apr

It’s a cliché of the western movie genre. The hero has lived through some adventure, and, when it’s over, he gets on his horse and rides into the sunset. I have watched that scene dozens of times, and it fascinates me every time.

What happens when they disappear over the horizon? What happens after the “The End” placard covers the screen? Does the hero take time off before finding another adventure? Does he die of wounds suffered during the movie? Does he live happily ever after in some frontier town?

All of those questions go through my mind because I have to know the rest of the story. It doesn’t matter how bad the movie is. I still want to know what happens after the credits roll. However, something else goes through my mind, as well. The “into the sunset” scene isn’t always the same.

One of the greatest “into the sunset” scenes doesn’t even have a horse. In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards spends years attempting to rescue his niece from her Comanche captors. When he returns with her, everyone goes into the house except for him. He turns and walks into the desert as the door closes behind him.The Searchers

Where did Edwards go? Did he leave because most of his family was dead? Did he wander because there was no purpose in his life? All of the wars were over. Or, did he think back over the past years before turning around and coming back?

John Wayne walked away in The Searchers, but Clint Eastwood could be the king of “into the sunset” rides. In The Outlaw Josey Wales, he is bleeding as he rides away. Does he live? If so, then does he go back to the friends that he has gained throughout the movie? Or, does he disappear from history?

Sometimes, he completely disappears because we really don’t know what he is. In Pale Rider, Eastwood evaporates from the scene. Is he some kind of spirit or is he just a mysterious gunman?

Those were great, but my favorite Eastwood ending comes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blondie leaves Tuco with a noose around his neck and gold at his feet. After an impossible rifle shot to save Tuco, Blondie rides away to one of the greatest movie scores of all time.

A more recent western has an “into the sunset” scene at the end. The difference is the adventure that precedes it. In Cowboys and Aliens, James Bond defeats aliens with the help of Indiana Jones. Oh, Boyd Crowder helps out, too. This time the hero is truly a loner. His wife is dead. His alien love interest is dead. He is considered dead. Heck, the dog doesn’t even go with him. In this one, the hero probably went somewhere and cried.

The cool thing about “into the sunset” scenes is that they are no longer reserved for westerns only. Remember what happened at the end of The Dark Knight? He agrees to be the fall guy and live life as a villain. Then, he hops on his jacked out motorcycle and rides into a tunnel. There is no sunset, but there is a cool speech and some kind of light up ahead. I hope it’s not a train.The Dark Knight

Everybody knows what happened to him after that because we have sequels now. There should not have been a sequel to this one. Wondering what happened to Batman was a lot better than knowing that he faked his death and ended up with Catwoman.

Ok, so John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Bond and Batman all have had great scenes to end movies. However my favorite “into the sunset” scene comes from a movie that isn’t very good. At the end of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Don Johnson, as Marlboro, goes back to his roots and enters a rodeo. At the same time, Mickey Rourke, as Harley, rides his motorcycle into the sunset with an 80s vixen on the back and Black Eyed Susan playing in the background.Harley Ending

Why is that my favorite? Because it’s the only one that seems like a happy ending. He’s not alone. He’s not wounded. And, there is no doubt that something good is going to happen further down the road.

The Great Pumpkin Carving Escapade

30 Oct

Tonight, I carved a pumpkin for the first time in years. It was great fun, and mine turned out quite well considering my lack of expertise. My handiwork was not worthy of being immortalized on the Internet. Therefore, tonight’s festivities will be honored with pictures of some of my favorite things carved into pumpkins. I have no idea who made these, but they are great artists.

AC/DC

Hell’s Pumpkins

University of Tennessee

Touchdown Pumpkins

John Wayne

Pumpkin Cogburn

Elvis Presley

Ladies and Gentlemen! Elvis Has Left the Pumpkin!

Marilyn Monroe

Pumpkins Like It Hot

Darth Vader

Luke, I Am Your Pumpkin.

Clint Eastwood

The Good, the Bad and the Pumpkin

This is an incomplete list, but I couldn’t find one with Barney Fife.