Anyway, Randy's post bounces off my post about the new Clint Eastwood movie "Gran Torino." He writes that the character Walt Kowalski is basically the same as Harry Callahan ("Dirty Harry"):
[I]n Gran Torino he treats the character with complete respect--without a hint of self-parody--thereby respecting and satisfying those who always liked the character. Anyone who enjoyed this character then, like Ann ("a guilty pleasure for us peace-and-love hippies"), will enjoy him now all the more. The big difference is the critical hype that Eastwood gets today, that he never got back then, thus permitting those who despised Harry to buy Walt. OK, I admit that Eastwood has grown over the years as an actor though, like John Wayne, he was always far better than the critics would admit.Do you remember back when Pauline Kael was reviewing movies and she deplored Dirty Harry for his "fascism"? I can't find her old review on line, but I did find this 2005 article by Christopher Orr which reads "Million Dollar Baby" as Eastwood's attempt "to make amends for his early career, when he became famous as the vengeful loner, the angel of violent retribution, the Man with a Gun":
Eastwood is the rare artist who has gone from being condemned as a fascist propagandist by the left to being condemned as a fascist propagandist by the right. The former charge was leveled in 1971, when the New Yorker's Pauline Kael described "Dirty Harry" as "fascist medievalism"; the latter, earlier this month, when Ted Baehr, the head of the Christian Film and Television Commission, declared "Million Dollar Baby" to be a "neo-Nazi movie." The particulars of the accusations have little in common: Kael was objecting to "Dirty Harry's" enthusiasm for vigilante justice, Baehr to "Million Dollar Baby's" perceived support of euthanasia....Or maybe he's a libertarian!
[W]hile it's true that Eastwood's work, as an actor and especially as a director, has espoused a vague political philosophy -- and one that has evolved over time -- it has never been nearly as programmatic as either his admirers or his detractors imagine. The films he made early in his career were never as "conservative" as their reputation, and even his most prominent revisionist works -- "Unforgiven," "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby" -- are not as "liberal" as theirs. Both the fascist medievalist of the 1970s and the neo-Nazi eugenicist of today have been largely the projections of his accusers' own political nightmares.
IN THE COMMENTS: Chuck b. writes:
Clint Eastwood should play Tim Gunn in the movie version of Project Runway. He can sing too, so make it a musical.
"That's a lot of look. Make my day!"
"I'm not sure about this marabou trim. Don't bore Nina." [pulls back his jacket to reveal holstered Colt .45]
"In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who pick carefully and wisely from the Blue-fly accessories wall."
"I know what you're thinking. Do you need six zippers on that pleather skirt, or only five?"