Monthly Inspiration: Clint Eastwood

31Aug12

Monthly Inspiration is a  blog series that’s about what inspires me; filmmakers, styles, actors, scripts… each month, I’ll cover one new piece of inspiration. Hopefully I can turn you on to something that will inspire you as well.

For the last three weeks I’ve been in a “boot camp” at Columbia College Chicago (colum.edu) to prep for the coming semester. One of the activities we did was a “speed date” with the directing program; so that we could get to know the other class better.

During the speed dates we talked about who our biggest film influences are, and there were a lot of great names thrown out. One of them was Clint Eastwood (imdb.com). I’m appalled at myself for not thinking about this great man earlier. So I dedicate this Monthly Inspiration to the actor, the director, the producer, the god upon men that is, Clint.

The Actor

Clint Eastwood’s acting credentials span everywhere from 1955’s Revenge of the Creature (imdb.com) all the way to his most recent role as “Gus” in this year’s Trouble with the Curve (imdb.com). In between those, he’s become some of the most memorable characters and said some of the most famous lines in all of film. I grew up on Harry Callahan, Joe Kidd, and Josey Wales. I whistled the tune from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (imdb.com) before I knew the “Star Spangled Banner.” Clint Eastwood is easily in the top three of my influences. In his more recent roles Eastwood still plays the badass that you don’t mess with, but he’s taken more “mentor” based roles. In Million Dollar Baby (2004) (imdb.com), he literally plays a trainer/coach. And in Gran Torino (2008) (imdb.com) he mentors a Hmong teenager. And at 82 years old, he’s still going at it.

The Director

My love for Clint lays mainly in his acting; any decent war movie, cop drama, or western could do with a little Clint. But, he’s also one of the most talented directors I can name. The fact that he also acts in most the movies he directs just adds to my awe. His earliest actor/director credit is on High Plains Drifter (1973) (imdb.com), and I’ve seen it a couple dozen times. It’s just brilliant; a true western in every sense of the word. His more recent directorial films include Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010), and J. Edgar (2011). But his latest acting/directing role in Gran Torino; which won AFI’s Movie of the Year award, and was, for lack of a better word, stunning: a great story, phenomenal acting, and gorgeous cinematography.

 

I could go into detail of Clint’s career, I’m not going to, but here are the things you need to know: 1) Born in San Francisco, 2) best western actor ever (take that John Wayne), 3) amazing all around actor, 4) one of the best directors of all time with some of the best films of all time on his credit list, 5) he still make movies in his 80’s (how much more of a bad ass could he be?), and 6) his films have had a huge impact on my life, both artistically and on the way I think.

I leave you with the trailer for Trouble with the Curve, which is set to release on September 21st.

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