Clint Eastwood the director, appreciation thread


You know, something is very interesting about Flags.

Rotten Tomatoes has it at 54%

MetaCritic has it at 93%

Rotten Tomatoes is getting ripped by the blog section on Oscar Watch for not putting in all the positive reviews that have been made.

That's fascinating. Metacritic has five whole reviews listed.

How 'bout you keep all this kind of talk in the Flags of Our Fathers thread or make a new thread about Rotten Tomatoes vs. Metacritic, as it has absolutely nothing to do with Eastwood as a filmmaker?

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

I ain't gettin' in no fryer!
Bobby, Holden IS right. This is an appreciation thread, simply because Holden has posted a review for Flags, it is an ADDITION to what can already be chocked up as a small novel about Mr. Eastwood.

As far as what other Movie sites are rating the movie, it really doesn't fit fits HERE.

Now, back to your small novel Holden. Just reading through this thread today, it's very impressive. My hat is off to you!
"I was walking down the street with my friend and he said, "I hear music", as if there is any other way you can take it in. You're not special, that's how I receive it too. I tried to taste it but it did not work." - Mitch Hedberg

What are some of your favorite movies from Eastwood the director, Spuds? And I'll be curious to see your reaction to Flags, coming from the perspective of somebody who has served. Not that you saw action like Iwo Jima, thank goodness.

I ain't gettin' in no fryer!
To be honest, and this is no offense to Mr. Eastwood, but I've never really watched any of his films (directed, or otherwise). The only film of his that I have watched in entirety was Million Dollar Baby. I've seen snippets of Space Cowboys, The Bridges of Madison County,and A Perfect World. What I have seen though, I like.

As far as what he has directed, that I have bought/seen, my favorites are

Tightrope (1984)
A Perfect World (1993)
Sudden Impact (1983)
The Rookie (1990)
True Crime (1999)
Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Absolute Power (1997)
Blood Work (2002)
Firefox (1982)

The only one that I truly can't stand is . . .

The Eiger Sanction (1975)

I still have these sitting here to view . . .

Play Misty for Me (1971)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)

. . . and others that I have yet to purchase.
I love his work, director, and/or actor, and plan to see it all, eventually.

Great thread! Mr. Eastwood is a fantastic director, actor, and IMO, underated. My favorite film he directed is Bird (I'm also a jazz musician so I"m a little partial to this one). Some other greats are: Bridges Over Madison County, Unforgiven, And Million Dollar Baby. I have to admit I"m not up to par on his older stuff (westerns) but enjoyed Escape From Alcatraz, Dirty Harry, and Heartbreak Ridge. I also like Any which Way You Can & Any Which Way But Loose. Don't knock it! Ma is hilarious & there are some good one liners in them!

Movie Forums Stage-Hand
Eastwood is about as brilliant a director as they come, and it's because he knows how to reign it in. Their are simple shots in Million Dollar Baby that are exponentially more affecting than any overwrought shot in all of Scorsese's canon of works.
Nothing more to be said than that I love the guy.

Letters from Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood)

Eastwood's companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers that recreates the WWII battle from the Japanese perspective, it is moving, thoughtful, frightening and poetic - just about everything the other movie wasn't. A Japanese cast blissfully speaking Japanese is led by international star Ken Watanabe as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi who in the summer of 1945 was given the unenviable task of defending the small island of Iwo Jima about 500 miles south of Tokyo. Unenviable because as the General learned after he had arrived, Japan had not only been misleading its people on how well they were doing in the Pacific Theater but had even misled the command. The air and naval support plus thousands more soldiers and tanks General Kuribayashi was expecting were not to be had. The Imperial Naval fleet was in disarray by mid-'45 and the General realized he and his 22,000 men were left on a futile suicide mission where they must hold the island for as long as possible against the overwhelming might of the American forces closing in. Victory was impossible. The best they could hope for was to drag the battle out for weeks rather than days, until virtually every Japanese soldier was dead.

Watanabe is perfect in the role, and Kuribayashi is presented as a thoughtful, energetic and slightly unconventional officer who has a deeper code of honor than many of his other officers initially assess. While there is some discontent among those officers, to the regular soldiers he is the most admirable commander they could hope for. The soldier we spend the most time with is a young man named Saigo, played very well by former Japanese pop star Kazunari Ninomiya. He is a humble baker who has been drafted into service, and while he certainly loves his country he has no blind knee-jerk patriotism and loves his wife and infant son he has never seen much more than the black volcanic sand he is defending on Iwo Jima. Through a handful of flashbacks we see Saigo, General Kuribayashi and a couple of the others in their lives before the War, and through some of their letters we learn a bit more. Once the American invasion begins, the true horror and honor of war is displayed on screen.

Knowing he had no air or naval support, Kuribayashi didn't plan to hold the beaches and airfield as he would have in a conventional attack but readied for the battle by digging into the rocks and volcano on the island, creating an massive network of caves to hide his men and artillery. While unconventional, it was a brilliant plan given what he had to work with. Brilliant up to a point, as he knew he was only prolonging the inevitable American victory. Most of the men too realize that they will not leave the island alive much less victorious, but they fight on anyway. As they run out of ammo and hope, some stationed in Mt. Suribach commit suicide (by grenade, which is a messy way to go and part of the horror Adam Beach's Ira Hayes witnessed in Flags that haunted him). The rest of the soldiers tried to make their way across the island to the command post buried underground. It is a Hellish journey, and the few that make it all the way arrive to no food and water and just as much desperation as they had fled.

The battle scenes are graphic and kinetic, and the final dignified assault that Kuribayashi leads his men on is poetic, but like any great war movie it is great because it shows the humanity of the men fighting and is essentially anti-war in its message. Not that there isn't honor to be found in the sacrifice, but that there is more honor to be found in life. Clint's decision to make this in addition to Flags of Our Fathers is a cinematic gift.

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A system of cells interlinked
Another solid review Holden. Thanks for that.
"Theres absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

billdozer's Avatar
Donkey Punch-Drunk Love
Letters Of Iwo Jima was better than Flags
tell'em steve-dave!

Clint Eastwood is just incredible with everything he touches. I haven't seen Letters of Iwo Jima yet, but from what I hear, I must see it immediately. And I'm sure after I see it, I will 100% think he deserves the Oscar.

I just saw Letters from Iwo Jima last night and is masterpiece. I was in awe as Clint Eastwood delivered his best ever. Holden, your review is absolutely fantastic....thanks.

I still have these sitting here to view . . .

Play Misty for Me (1971)
Now I see where Fatal Attraction snagged some of it's ideas. I have always enjoyed Fatal Attraction, but Play Misty for Me, is by far the best. What a great movie. Jessica Walter ~ Evelyn, played the hell out of her character. This is the first time in years, that I actually spoke back to the movie, and covered my eyes. She made me so nervous at times. She had split second mood swings, and was as crazy as hell. Not to mention, my hands still hurt. heheh You will have to watch it, to get that. Tightrope is still one of my all time favorites of Clint's, but this one is right behind it.

I agree with your review that "Flags of Our Fathers" is a flawed film. The general taking a personal hand in dumping Ira Hayes from the tour is one example that you pointed out. But an even bigger flaw to me was the pointedly incorrect statement by the public relations bond tour promoter who claims that the Iwo Jima flag raisers have to make the bond tour because the US is down to virtually its last bullet and within a month of running out of gasoline for its air force and that the US public was no longer buying bonds or making contributions to finance the war. I practically fell out of my seat when he claimed one of the major problems was that the Arabian shieks were insisting on payment in bullion for their oil.

The fact is there was no major oil production in the Middle East in the 1940s and even if there were, it couldn't have been moved by tanker past the German and Japanese submarines. In fact the big tanker hunting ground for German submarines was off Florida as tankers moved oil and refined products from Texas and Louisiana to New York, until the "Big Inch" and "Little Inch" pipelines were built across land to carry all of that oil.

In 1937, the US accounted for 60.4% of global petroleum production, and Latin America another 15.3%--more than three quarters of the world's petroleum production was in the New World. At that time and through World War II, the US produced all the oil it needed to meet its own needs and was a net exporter to other countries. In fact, the US provided 6 billion of the total 7 billion barrels of oil consumed by the Allies during WWII, which is why Churchill later said that the Allies rode to victory on a sea of Texas oil.

What's more, all of the government-organized bond drives were a success, including the eighth or "Victory Loan" drive that took place October-December 1945, after the war was over. Targeted for $11 billion, it raised $21 billion, the highest success rate of any of the drives. In all, the eight bond drives raised more than $156.4 billion dollars, while another $180 million dollars was donated by the private sector for advertising.

I'm at a loss as to why that bit about America being about to give up over the cost of the war was included in that film when in truth Americans knew at that point that they had already defeated Italy and Germany and were well on their way to defeating Japan.

...some stationed in Mt. Suribach commit suicide (by grenade, which is a messy way to go and part of the horror Adam Beach's Ira Hayes witnessed in Flags that haunted him)....
Actually, it's hard to say what really haunted Ira Hayes. All of the history books (including "Flags of Our Fathers") that quote fellow Marines and tribesmen who actually knew Hayes report that he hardly talked about his experiences at all. A brother said he never once mentioned his combat service with his family and that none of them ever asked him. From all accounts, Hayes would go days without speaking to anyone even before the war. He also had an arrest record for drunkeness before he enlisted in the Marines. Most of the WWII vets of the Pacific theater to whom I've talked over the years never expressed any concern about the Japanese soldiers who blew themselves up, although they did regret the sight of Japanese civilians who leaped to their deaths from cliffs on Okinawa, especially when they thew their children over first. I suspect Hayes was haunted more by the friends he'd lost to the Japanese than by dead ememy soldiers.

As for Japanese soldiers blowing themselves up, I'm reminded of one account of a group of Marines on Okinawa or maybe Iwo who had stopped in a shell hole to grab a bite of rations when a Japanese wearing nothing but a loin cloth and an explosive charge strapped to his waist jumped up on the edge of the hole and pulled the pin. The resulting explosion startled but failed to hurt any of the Marines but it blew the Japanese in half with the result that his buttocks and legs landed "cheeks up" in the lap of one of the Marines. According to the account, the frightened Marine looked down at the bare butt and extended legs "looking up" from his lap and said, "Krist, fellows, am I hurt that bad???" I suspect that's more indicative of how World War II vets viewed dead Japanese soldiers.

I liked Eastwood's low-key Broncho Billy and Honky-Tonk Man, although he thinks too highly of his singing ability. Also thought White Hunter, Black Heart was a bit of a stretch and a risk, so I appreciated that. But Eastwood went through that stretch of insisting that his girlfriend costar in a bunch of his movies--Broncho Billy, Outlaw Josey, Gaunlet, you know the ones I mean--which was a BIG mistake. Whatzhername, Sondra something, was just not up to those roles and it was embarassing to see Eastwood as some latter-day Citizen Kane trying to make a star out of that sow's ear. I liked him as a co-star to Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare and to Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon. Eastwood still couldn't sing, but he got closer to the right key more often than Marvin.