I love Clint Eastwood. Loved all those Dirty Harry movies and all those awesome spaghetti westerns he did. And Unforgiven is my favorite western ever! Incredible movie. Love the guy!
Million Dollar Baby? That movie was ridiculously bad. I have NO idea how it won and academy award. There's an old saying referring to movies that I like to roll out on occasion--"It's easier to make people believe the impossible than the improbable." MDB was LOADED with improbability. The whole sliding the stool out as she fell from the sucker punch knockout from the wickedly evil opponent and then she lands right on the aforementioned stool and breaks her neck and becomes paralyzed and then her beyond loser family only cares about what money they're gonna get????!!!!....This movie was BEYOND ridiculous. BEYOND over-the-top. It was a caricature of a caricature and I was embarrassed for Clint.
Then I saw the trailers for Gran Torino last year and all the fantastic reviews and couldn't wait to see it. Looked like Clint was back!
So we rented it last weekend and eagerly dived in...
53 seconds in Sandy and I looked at each other and I said, "MIllion Dollar Baby II." God help me, it was even worse. Trite? Cliched? Improbable? Caricature? Nope...SuperTrite, SuperCliched, SuperImprobable and yes, SuperCaricatured. I can't believe anyone liked this awful movie. It was so predictable that I was actually calling out lines before they were said-- The part where the pre-pubescent Priest who always called Clint's character by his first name Walt instead of Mr. Whatever like he always reminded the boyish Priest to call him until, suddely, halfway through the film when, all of a sudden like, the Priest starts calling Walt Mr. Whatever like he always insisted and then Walt begins to "open up and reveal his soul" (even though he's the meanest, most racist, hateful prick you've ever seen before in ANY movie--he actually growled and scowled like a bad anime character) I knew, saw it coming from a MILE away, that Walt was going to all of a sudden say, "Call me Walt." It was the worst, most predictable writing I've ever witnessed in a film.
The supporting characters were also awful, predictable, and acted terribly. The family scenes were painful to watch--yeah, we get it, the daughter's a shallow little tramp who only cares about Gramp's cool car and we get it that she ain't gettin' it that that punky little gook zipperhead (Walt's words not mine) is gonna get the car instead. Yep, knew that 78 seconds into the movie than you very much.
And the Hmung actors were terrible! T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! Stiff and stilted when they delivered their awful dialogue. I really can't believe there weren't ANY asian/Hmung actors out there in Hollywood who could act. They must've used the same talent pool that George Lucas used to find Anakin Skywalker actors.
So, in case any of you lack the powers to predict like I have and haven't figured out my grade yet for this movie, here it is..."F."
Now, on the other hand FROST/NIXON was very good. Not quite great but very good, very well acted and very well directed. Frank Langella was brilliant as Nixon. His performance alone is worth the price of the rental. Mesmerizing! And the supporting cast was excellent as well. Michael Sheen was equally brilliant as David Frost. He played the "playboy, in over his head, out of his league yet able to summon up something more than himself and get the job done" role to perfection.
Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt--they all delivered fine performances in this well-balanced, well-directed look at a part of our political history that I think too many of us have forgotten or previously knew little about.
And I like that it focused more on the characters emotional states than the factual aspects of what happened. As I'm likely to believe that that was the more fascinating part of the story.
It was an examination of two souls, two fighters facing off, exchanging punches until only one would rise and one would fall. Seeing the battle of wills and wits was riveting. Not all of the bloodiest battles are fought with bullets, bombs and knives. Some of the bloodiest are fought with words.
And these were bloody good words! Grade: "B+."
Have a happy Independence Day!