Let tribute flow for Clint Eastwood, who is 90 years old now. He certainly has the most extraordinary career, from Western TV to West Spaghetti to take over his career and become an independent filmmaking maverick.
The Clint films that began with his great work, “Unforgiven,” in 1992 were extraordinary. From “Mystic River” to “Million Dollar Baby,” 1-2 blows from “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” the self-icon “Gran Torino,” directly through “The Mule” and “Richard Jewell,” each is a vision of the auteur that is played perfectly.
Even people who don’t work or aren’t happy with an audience are exceptional in their own right. I just watched “Sully” on cable, this is a clean and economical continuation of Clint’s study of heroes. You can’t watch it after it starts. Same with “American Sniper”, which surprised everyone when the audience called for it.
I first really got to know Clint in 2000 when I interviewed him for the special Oscar edition that I edited for Talk magazine. We met in the dining room of the Carlyle Hotel. He brought his wife Dina and their little girl back then. I brought my friend Susan Lawlor, who is a big fan who can quote from every Eastwood film. Everyone get along well. We talk a lot about “Unforgiven,” one of the greatest films of all time, in my opinion. It was eight years after it was released, and it still survives amazingly. Clint is “only 70,” I think, has the response and enthusiasm of a 40-year-old boy. I was fascinated by his observations about filmmaking – and he still hasn’t made many of the films I mentioned above. You can say that at the age of 70 he still hasn’t reached its peak. Extraordinary.
Of course, there is also Clint – the beginning of “Play Misty for Me,” from “Dirty Harry” and all that. He is a stud, a hot movie star who is hot and doesn’t care what people think. There was no Oscar in his life before 1993. It was almost 40 years in this business. On Friday, I happened to see the episode “Rawhide” on the cable. He is tied for most of the show, with very loose straps that make you think, watching various ping pong mini melodrams around him. He never said a word when everyone spoke. But the focus is on him. And in the end, when Rowdy Yates finally spoke, he sort of hit a beautiful girl who was in danger. Very calm. He refused, he just said “annoying,” and that’s all. But he is the star, and you do not forget him.
Will we get another Clint Eastwood movie? I hope so. “Richard Jewell” is a little gem, but its release is careless in many ways. Watch again. An 89-year-old boy makes something here that has sharp edges and deep insight. If so, we are very lucky. But I suspect we are not done with Clint Eastwood.
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