Clint Eastwood the director, appreciation thread

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PM me when Variety notices their error and wants to hire me.
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Wow, ok ... you reeeeeealllly like him ... got it !

I do too !

Gran Torino
Mystic River
Millon Dollar Baby
American Sniper was good, if a bit overrated
Space Cowboys was entertaining, if not spectacular



Happy 90th birthday Clint Eastwood.
How about that? What a fascinating career he's had. He has given us such enjoyable entertainment. AND, he's not done yet!..



i personally like :
The bridges of madison county



One of my favorites. Seen 20 of his films so far and have yet to come across one I dislike



Since many of our members are quite knowledgeable about film and enjoy discussing it, I thought it could be a thought-provoking conversation to discuss Clint Eastwood's flaws as a director. @HoldenPike I think we all know what he does well. He has an impressive ability to choose characters as a star that fit him well, he tells simple, character driven stories that unfold at a deliberate pace that is more traditional of old Hollywood than it is the frenetic and sometimes chaotic pace of more contemporary films. Thematically, he tends to emphasize self-reliance, and depict men who feel compelled to step in when the systems that are supposed to serve the society in which they live fail, while also exposing the human weakness, frailty, and the deleterious consequences that often result when men and women choose to succumb to their more violent, immoral, base, or darker impulses.

For me, his major flaw as a director is that he sometimes seems to value the experience of making the film more than he does the final product. This sometimes leads him to make decisions that he otherwise might not make if he valued the day to day experience of making the film less than he did the quality of the film itself. He chooses scripts that need additional drafts before they are ready to be produced, but he doesn't ask for them. He sometimes casts films inappropriately. He chooses inexperienced or non actors for major roles in his films, but fails to provide them with as many takes as needed to pull the best performance out of them (Gran Torino, 15:17 to Paris, Cry Macho). It seems like in many cases, if he's ready to get back out there and do a film, even if he doesn't have a good script to film, he'll do the film anyway. His criteria for choosing his projects, according to him, is that it seemed like a fun project for him to do, not necessarily that he could make an excellent film out of the material. He uses the same stock crew over and over again, which sometimes works, because it makes filming the movie easier and faster, but it may lead to a group think mentality or a subservience to the way Eastwood likes to do things that doesn't always work to the benefit of the film.



Even with some of his more successful works as a director, this tendency still sometimes prevails. In "Million Dollar Baby," the supporting characters were caricatures with little depth to them because they were poorly conceived within the script. In "American Sniper," he chose to use a fake baby because neither the primary child nor the alternate were available, and he didn't want to wait for another baby to be chosen to fill the role. He'll often leave imperfections in the film because he just wants to move onto the next take or the next project.

Another major flaw as a director is that he just does too many films. His desire to make, in some years, as much as two films in a single year causes him to sometimes choose projects that are not a good fit for him, or where the script just isn't ready to be filmed (Hereafter, J. Edgar, Cry Macho, Jersey Boys) For example, when he made "Hereafter," Peter Morgan, the screenwriter, was very surprised Eastwood didn't ask for rewrites because even he didn't think the script was ready to be produced. When he made "Jersey Boys" he was simply the wrong fit for the material. When he made "Sully," although I think he made the best possible film he could out of the material he had to work with, there was simply no story to build a film around, so he had to invent one. With "Cry Macho" the script was very poorly written, and at 90 years old, he was not a good fit to portray the character. It seems like if he's ready to get back out there and do a film, he'll do it even when the foundation simply isn't there to make a good film instead of waiting for a better project to come along.

Another aspect of Eastwood as a director that is sometimes a strength ("Unforgiven, "Bridges of Madison County, "A Perfect World," "Million Dollar Baby,") but that is often a flaw, is that the musical scores that he uses are often too simple, and too similar to each other. The fact that he composes scores for his films at times is quite impressive, given that he is not a classically trained musician, but his limited abilities as a composer sometimes results in him doing scores that lack complexity, and that lead him to overuse the same piano notes over and over again, from scene to scene, and from film to film. In some cases, this works for the film, and reflects Eastwood's desire to have the music support what is happening on screen rather than to be used as a tool to manipulate the emotions of the viewer. But, in other cases, I think a different type of score would have made for a more impactful viewing experience, or a different musical style might have improved the film. For example, In the Line of Fire, which stars Eastwood, but which was directed by Wolfgang Peterson, has a wonderful score by Ennio Morricone. I think the film needed that kind of rousing score to work, but had Eastwood directed it, it would have lost that impact by having a much simpler, more stripped down score that really wouldn't have fit the scale and scope of the story.



Finally, after "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood has chosen to largely direct true life stories based on historical events. I think in many cases, this has pigeonholed his career in a way which has been too constricting, and which doesn't always result in the best materials being chosen. "Hereafter," "J. Edgar," "Jersey Boys," "American Sniper," "Sully," "The 15:17 to Paris," "The Mule" and "Richard Jewell," were all wholly or partly based on historical events, and very few of those were commercially successful, and some of them are among his least entertaining vehicles as a director. Of those, I probably would have chosen only "American Sniper" to make, which demonstrates two of his flaws as a director, the tendency of him to do too many movies, and the constricting nature of orienting his career so strongly in the direction of filming true life stories of American heroes.

Everyone has flaws as a director, and as a huge Eastwood fan, I think what he does right far outweighs whatever his flaws might be, but I still thought it would be very interesting to discuss this topic to see if there are common themes that we may be able to collectively agree on.

What do you all think? What do you see as Eastwood's major flaws as a director? Do you agree with my comments, or disagree with them, and why?



No one has any comment on this topic? I know we have some Eastwood fans here on this board, and others who may not be fans, but will be familiar with his career who could comment. It's totally okay if you don't agree with what I cited as weaknesses. I'm all for hearing different viewpoints and having thought-provoking conversations, so let's discuss!



No one has any comment on this topic? I know we have some Eastwood fans here on this board, and others who may not be fans, but will be familiar with his career who could comment. It's totally okay if you don't agree with what I cited as weaknesses. I'm all for hearing different viewpoints and having thought-provoking conversations, so let's discuss!
On your last thread you asked for comments on Cry Macho and both me and Gulfportdoc made detailed post giving our opinions on the film...but you never responded. So I guess my question is, what is it specifically that you want to discuss?

BTW just last night I seen Eastwood's Mystic River.