Thursday, April 28, 2011

Final report of the Clint Eastwood Project, with lessons learned and a highly debatable Top 10 list

Proudly joining the ranks of the few human beings who have watched every Clint Eastwood movie brings an obligation to the species to share what we learned.

Taking literally minutes of deep study, we both compiled a list of our 15 favorite Clint movies. Using a point system, we boiled it down to this consensus Top 10 list.

10. “Sudden Impact”
9. “For a Few Dollars More”
8. “A Fistful of Dollars”
7. “Pale Rider”
6. “Unforgiven”
5. “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot”
4. “Dirty Harry”
3. “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
2. “High Plains Drifter”
1. “The Outlaw Josey Wales”

We did not necessarily believe we like Clint's westerns best, but it’s impossible to deny with a list like that.

Even we were surprised “Sudden Impact” beat out so many great movies, including an Academy-award-winning best picture. Our best explanation is we find Sondra Locke convincing and compelling when she shoots men in the balls.

“Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” is ranked awfully high, but deserves it. It is an often-overlooked gem of Clint's career.

Many people would say we vastly over-rate “High Plains Drifter.” Well, that's our opinion.

No apology is needed for picking “The Outlaw Josey Wales” as number one. We have no doubt it would have been nominated for best picture, and perhaps won, if Clint made the same movie 20 years later when he was fashionable.

Watching every Clint Eastwood movie in chronological order is a stupid task only on the surface. We followed the path of Clint’s career once a week for more than a year and never tired of it.

We learned many things.

We learned Clint's habit of shooting dimly lit scenes gets annoying with repeated exposure. Several times, the screen was so dark we had difficulty determining exactly what was going on.

We learned the heart of Clint's skill as a movie maker — both before and after he was taken seriously — is story-telling. All his movies tell a story, and usually it’s an interesting story.

We learned Clint is a master at presenting heroes who are are not all good and antagonists who are not all bad. Sometimes the villains, like Scorpio in "Dirty Harry," are pure evil. But more often, they have good sides or are almost likable.

Most importantly, we learned the one consistent truth about Clint as a male icon is a deep sense of justice. This was completely missed by early critics who stupidly called his violent characters amoral. Clint was never amoral.

Thanks, Clint. This father and son will never forget the time we spent together with you, and that is a great gift.


  1. As a 21 year old film student, from India, who now proudly owns ALL the films that qualify for your project, and is on the way of having seen all of them (especially including the really shitty ones), I could not have been happier to discover your blog! Leaving all the sentimental garbage of being Clint's biggest fan since 13 and cinematic masterpieces blah blah, your posts are by FAAAAAAR the most genuine film... what do I call it... critiques(???) i have come across. I won't comment much on how they are a really good read (they're FANTASTIC, and mainly humor wise).

    Jobless as we are, we remain his most loyal fans, I suppose. I hereby tag your blog as one of my favorite pages, that i'm sure i'll be coming back to for years to come!

  2. So now it's all over. Oh well. I enjoyed it.
    Great to see Sudden Impact make the ten. It sorts out the Clint fans (that's hopeless slobs like me who've even seen Firefox more than once) from the Eastwood fans (who only started liking him after Unforgiven).
    So what's next for you two?
    Charles Bronson?

  3. Buddy, you have a nice Clint Eastwood fan site.

    When you have the time, check out my latest review of this Clint Documentary - - as well as some of my movie reviews on this mans great work.

    Keep on blogging.

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  5. Of course all those scenes are underlit-how do ya think ol' Skinflint Clint brings all his films in under budget? Those lighting rigs cost money!

    (The list is about right except I'd put TGBU at number one and replace Sudden Impact with Coogan's Bluff.)

  6. I have embarked on the same journey as you have, I must say that this is a great site.

    The top ten is a good one, and although mine would not match yours, I have to agree with your #1.

    Josey Wales is one of the greatest westerns ever made, period, and it's good to see that it has not been over looked as it so often is by people putting lists together (who clearly have only seen the Leone and Dirty Harry films).

  7. Your list is quite good and ranked fairly but I still prefer Dirty Harry to be my number one and will always be. :)

  8. Hi just saw this blog the other day, gotta' say how awesome it is to even see something like this exists somewhere.

    I've been a huge fan of Clint forever now and have just started to get my girlfriend in on some of his better movies. She had never seen The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Dirty Harry, or Pale Rider before so those were the first in the DVD player.

    I actually enjoyed FireFox a little bit more than you guys but for the most part your lists were dead-on. My top 10 Clint list might go something like this:

    1) High Plains Drifter
    2) The Unforgiven
    3) Good the Bad the Ugly
    4) Pale Rider
    5) Dirty Harry
    6) Outlaw Josey Wales
    7) Gran Torino
    8) Sudden Impact
    9) A Few Dollars More
    10) Escape from Alcatraz

    But really, it's impossible to rate them accurately. High Plains Drifter is my #1 favorite Clint movie of all time, without doubt.

  9. Just wanted to chip in and thank you for writing this blog. I discovered it in the middle of my own Eastwood marathon (I'm focusing on his moments in the director's chair, myself). Since it's been a few years, have you revisited any of the films? Would youreally top 10 be any different today?

  10. Just wanted to chip in and thank you for writing this blog. I discovered it in the middle of my own Eastwood marathon (I'm focusing on his moments in the director's chair, myself). Since it's been a few years, have you revisited any of the films? Would youreally top 10 be any different today?