Monday Morning Critic – Clint Eastwood, Dusty Rhodes and Trouble with the Curve

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

You know what’s kind of amazing? This weekend marks the first in nearly 20 years that someone not named Clint Eastwood has directed a film starring the Oscar winning actor/director/producer/former mayor. In the Line of Fire, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, is the last film he starred in that he didn’t direct up until this weekend’s Trouble with the Curve. Ever since then if you wanted Clint Eastwood in a starring role, not a cameo, then he was the man behind the camera as well. This makes Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood for a significant amount of time, in a really interesting spot as far as I’m concerned. Why?

Because we’ll get to see how good of a performance we get out of Clint from someone that isn’t himself.

The one thing I understand for an actor is that when you’re trying to direct a film your first instinct is to make yourself the star as well. You can’t control everything in a film or its reception but you can control the performance from your lead actor. It’s like being an old time wrestling promoter; you can’t trust anyone to be your big star completely unless it’s you. In a way Clint Eastwood has been like Dusty Rhodes in the ‘80s for the NWA; Dusty booked himself as one of the biggest stars long past his prime even, because he knew he could trust himself on top as opposed to anyone else.

Clint got himself a lot of plum roles over the years because he could and it makes sense; if you’re writing a role for an older actor that needs to do grizzled then naturally you’d want Eastwood. And considering his reputation as a director of bringing films in on time, under budget and generally with good reviews (and good box office receipts) it’s not a bad proposition to hand him the reigns as well.

It’s why Ben Affleck and other directors who also happen to be good actors like that dual role. You may not be able to control everything but you can control the roles and parts you play if you get enough clout to do it. Affleck made a great movie without his acting skills and then promptly made two that were even better with him in lead roles. Argo may not be out yet but I got into an early screening and will say that it’s as exceptional as The Town was.

And while it’s not all that odd that Eastwood would find someone he’s worked with for a long period of time, and has a lot of trust in, to make his first film without being in charge it’ll also show us a lot about Clint’s overall performance. Eastwood knows he can get a certain level performance out of himself and that he’d trust someone else to pull whatever it is that Trouble with the Curve needs from him says something.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

At this point, with The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey taking over the book reading habits of women everywhere, a sequel to David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is looking like the only entry in that particular series. And for good reason because it was kind of awful and didn’t make nearly as much money as they thought. My guess is that the R-rating and the graphic anal rape scene kind of turned off a lot of people but that’s just me. The Swedes, on the other hand, ate up the original Millenium trilogy and thus we have the good trilogy remaining at least. Thus this week we finish The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

When we last saw Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) she’d been nearly killed by her father and her half brother, EMT’s needing a helicopter to try and save her life from many wounds via gunshot and such. When we find her now she’s in the hospital and in the crosshairs of a country that wants her in prison or in a psychiatric hospital. It’s up to her friends to get her out of this and prove her innocence.

After The Girl Who Played With Fire was great but not quite Dragon Tattoo level good this follows suit in that it’s good but not quite great. It’s the difference of going down from a 3.5 star film to a 3 star film when you start at the mythical four star masterpiece level at this point. It’s a solid ending to the trilogy but not quite a brilliant one, as most trilogies tend to be.


What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Dredd – Karl Urban is the new Judge in town.

Skip It – This looks nearly exactly like The Raid … that’s not a good thing.

End of Watch – Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal are cops who mess with the wrong Mexican, apparently. Though that line would be funnier if it was a Machete sequel.

See It– Gyllenhaal and Pena are an interesting combination and the first person perspective could be a unique one for a crime film.

House at the End of the Street – Jennifer Lawrence moves in next door to Max Thieriot. Shenanigans ensue.

Skip It – So far it looks like the usual possession film or something; my guess is that the sister they mention in the trailer turns out to be a killer hiding in the dude’s basement or something equally weak.

Trouble with the Curve – Clint Eastwood is a baseball scout on his last legs when his daughter (Amy Adams) shows up to hang out.

See It – I’m hoping this is the film that Moneyball should’ve been.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Limited Release) – A bunch of dorky kids experience high school or something.

See It – It’s got a fairly solid cast, comes from a book that’s gotten great reviews and looks off-beat enough for my tastes.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

Tags: , , , , ,