Sunday, September 2, 2012

Clint Eastwood: His Best Performance Yet?

We have had our fun with the improvisation on stage that was strangely out of place. In general, we felt badly for Mr. Eastwood, an icon of strength and movie machismo that was appealing to young boys and made young girls swoon.

His early roles represented the ideal straight man; He rarely smiled, never said more than needed to be said, and was always on the right side of things. He was tough as nails and we liked him that way.

In "Million Dollar Baby" he showcased the strengths of his previous characters with the added dimensions of having been tempered by age and experience. There was an underlying kindness and concern in that character not seen in the characters of his youth.  In this film we see the man struggle with hard-set beliefs adapting to the reality of the situation.

He struggles with the knowledge of the damage that boxers endure, and yes, this is a tough girl but, a girl, nonetheless. He is forced to face reality as he understands there is nothing else for this girl. This is it.

A parent's worst nightmare: He can't save her, he can only teach her how to keep safe and let go.

Films like Million Dollar Baby and Grand Torino are meant to be savored more than once. These films are not made for entertainment purposes in which a mindless two-hours can be killed. These performances, the dialogues, and depth of the characters stay with us long after the film is over.

Grand Torino
The last scene was an impressive directorial achievement. We saw the endless possibilities of an uncharted future as a young man drove away from the confines of his environment --- In a vehicle that represents the hard work and tribulations of previous generations.

The imagery is powerful in this film.

So what was that performance at the RNC? Why did we feel so uncomfortable watching it? and why was everyone so confused?

Everyone who had anything to do with Clint Eastwood being on stage has adamantly denied any involvement with the performance or having any knowledge beforehand of what was about to develop. So what happened?

The short answer may be that just like in the Super-Bowl ad, Clint Eastwood went rogue.

In the Super-Bowl ad Clint Eastwood praised the recovery of the auto industry in Detroit - The republicans called it a political ad in favor of President Obama. He was maligned for being a RINO, and there was much disappointment in those quarters for the perceived political intent. It was akin to Charlton Heston coming out in favor of sensible gun control.

It is just not done.

The fact is that Clint Eastwood did not ask permission or counsel on doing the ad. It was a personal thing for him. It depicted the willingness of all sides to make the country healthy and whole. Yes, it was half-time in America and we had to make a choice between doing the right things for the country, or continuing to deteriorate beyond recovery

On his show, this past Friday, Bill Maher had high praise for what it takes to get on stage and do improv with an empty chair. Mr. Maher is having a good time this week on Twitter making fun of the event even if he is impressed by the 80 year-old's performance. Calling him a string of insults prior to praising him may be, in retrospect, unwarranted.

What did you see on that stage when Clint Eastwood was talking to an empty chair? Did you see an old white man who had lost his mind and forgot to comb his hair?


Did  you see an accurate representation of what makes up the base of the current incarnation of the Republican party?

What did you hear?

Did you hear the ramblings of an actor who forgot his lines?


Did you hear a dye-in-the-wool Republican reproaching the leadership of a party who has destroyed all he, and those like him, helped to build? - Did they wreck his carefully maintained Grand Torino?

Oh! and the hair?  This lady on the video below comes to mind.

Perhaps it is worth to watch the performance again through a fresh pair of eyes and pay close attention to what he is saying, how he is saying it, and most importantly, what is missing. Do you hear praise for either party? or a condemnation of what our political parties have become?

Million Dollar Baby and Grand Torino were unpleasant and uncomfortable films to watch because they did not allow us to escape into a magical out-of-space adventure, but kept us firmly grounded into the messy reality of our lives. Not unlike Clint Eastwood's performance on stage at the Republican National Convention.

All those performances are worth watching more than once.


I gave Clint Eastwood such a wide berth didn't I? - From the liberal side it sure looked like a representation of the GOP "Base"  - Now, he gives an interview and says, "President Obama is the biggest hoax perpetrated on the American people..."

If he had just kept his mouth shut, we would have continued to think that the incoherent ramblings on stage were a stroke of creative genius not many understood. Now? he looks like an old fool that would have done best sitting on the audience and clapping and booing on cue with the rest of the haters.

Author's note: I would like to thank Thurman Williams for a stimulating conversation that made this article a reality.

NY Magazine: Eastwood's Manager: Chrysler Ad 'Not a Political Thing'
Image(s) credit: Clint Eastwood: The New Yorker by Lauren Lancaster


Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

I watched it several times. He is a liberatarian by nature, so that really means to me that he doesnt always agree w/the GOP and I think he took a couple of shots at them as well..whether he intended to or not.

I also saw Maher's show and how he backed, in his own way, what Clint was trying to do.

For me, the fact is..Clint got more space in the news than Mittens did and thats a good thing because they scrapped what was said to be a great movie short on Mittens to put Eastwood on stage.

Olivia Emisar said...

Now we need to ask again "Where are the tax returns?" - Romney got a break with Eastwood's performance. Back to the real issues!

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

I hope the D's and the Corporate Press keep pounding that issue once the D convention is over. You know that will be all they will cover this week.

sandinbrick said...

Olivia, I know you meant well about Clint's performance at the RNC. I found all the celebrities had given him great comments, why? Because they want to work for him. After all is said and done. This President doesn't an actor and director who's a Liberation's comments. I like his films, no doubt, but his politics, I don't agree. I was a Liberal who cares, and that is what bothers me today about people nowaday's who think of only of themselves. Rather, I have been lucky, though I don't have much money, but to take care of me. But my view is if I have a few bucks I give to the most who really need it. Thanks, I always enjoy your blogs. Hopefully, Oct. I can give you a little cash. You know sweets, I love you. This time I am so crushed how the Republican's keep at Obama and it hurts me. Thanks for sharing. Send you love to you and your family. Peace.

Olivia Emisar said...


this liberal heart of mine wants to always give people the benefit of the doubt.

I just don't learn.

On the other hand, no matter what, he came across as the ugly "base" of the GOP and for that openly graphic description of what they are all about, everyone with an interest in making a decision on who to hire to lead this country, had a clear view of what that party is all about.

I love you and thank you for your wonderful thoughts about me and my family.

Keep taking care of yourself and I wish you Peace in your life and in your heart.