Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sixteen months with Clint: How it happened

Hailed as “an absurd completist task” and “ultimate proof Americans have too much leisure time,” The Clint Eastwood Project began for one reason that explains many towering male achievements.

 It began because no women were around.

Brad Flory and son Andrew lived for 14 years in the delicate balance of a household with two females and two males.

Balance was shattered when Andrew’s sister went off to college, leaving males with a two-to-one majority. The advantage was promptly exploited with gun purchases, frank and open comments about female breasts, and loud belches emitted whenever the mood struck.

The ultimate celebration came on “Boys Night,” one evening each week when Andrew’s mother taught a class. Left to do as they pleased, father and son searched for lessons on manhood by eating fast food and watching Clint Eastwood movies.

Few people on the planet share our accomplishment (probably because they don't want to) in successfully watching, in chronological order, every movie Clint ever made as an actor.

Sixteen months were devoted to this project, and it wasn't always easy and or pleasant.

Scouring of the Internet was needed to obtain Clint’s movies from his time as an unknown studio contract actor in the 1950s. These early films include some of the worst turds in cinema history. In some, Clint is onscreen only briefly and has just one line. Only insane people even count them as Eastwood films.

To follow our progress as it happened, you must go back to the earliest blog posts, in January 2010, and work forward in time. Otherwise, you will start with our “Final Report” and work back. Several video links to film clips are dead now. Sorry.

Long after the mission was accomplished, Clint fooled us by returning to acting in “Trouble with the Curve.”

Our impressions will be posted after "Trouble with the Curve" comes out on DVD, when it can be viewed with fast food. Ticket guys won’t let us take Taco Bell into the theaters, probably because they are jealous of our manhood.

"Trouble with the Curve:" Out of retirement with Clint

Title: Trouble with the Curve
Released: 2012
Genre: Family reconnection pseudo-drama
Notable for: Clint's return to acting
Coolest thing Clint does: Shows love to his daughter by smashing a beer bottle and threatening to cut a guy's face off

Imagine our shock to be forced out of "The Clint Eastwood Project" retirement home due to Clint's apparently never-ending acting career.

Four years after "Gran Torino," we never expected to see Clint on screen again, unless you count Republican conventions and Chrysler commercials. We did not want to see him try to rekindle Clinthood at age 82.

Roughly two seconds into "Trouble with the Curve," Clint acknowledges we all know he is old as shit. Struggling at a toilet to force pathetic little squirts of urine past his presumably gigantic prostate gland, he coaxes and cajoles his plumbing.

"Don't laugh. I outlived you you little bastard," he says, evidently addressing that part of his anatomy Sondra Locke might have called "Little Clint."

We were prepared to hate this movie, even though it involves sports, because we heard it is about "emotional reconnection." Our definition of movies about emotional reconnection is: The ones where nothing happens.

Indeed, the main plot is explained in one sentence: Clint is an aging baseball scout unable to show emotion to his grown-up attorney daughter, but they travel together on a scouting trip and eventually meet each other halfway. Side plots involving romance, professional rivalries and baseball are so predictable every development can be seen from miles away.

Yet, somehow we found it worth watching, for three main reasons.

1. Amy Adams, who plays Clint's daughter, and Justin Timberlake, a washed-up Major Leaguer who wins her heart, are very good and very likable in their roles.

2. The villians of the story are so pompous and obnoxious it was fun to see them get come-uppance at the end. To bad they could not be shot and left floating in a lake, but it was not that sort of come-uppance.

3. Clint's grouchy character allowed him to strut some of his trademark stuff, including grunts, grimmaces and that little twitch of his lip when something pisses him off. He's not entirely retired as a hard-ass, either. In one scene, he breaks a beer bottle and threatens through clenched teeth to mess up a guy who hits on his daughter in a bar.

Not only is this Clint's first acting role in four years, it's also his first appearance since 1993's "In the Line of Fire" in a film he did not direct.

 "Trouble With the Curve" is not one of Clint's best films, but he did not embarrass himself with this comeback. At least not after he stopped talking to his dick.