Film - The Clint Eastwood Top 10 (ish)

Clint Eastwood

Steve Taylor-Bryant takes a look at one of his favourite directors and tries to narrow his films down to 10...

I'm not sure what the percentage of successful actors turned successful director is in Hollywood history but I would imagine it's quite low. I don't doubt film-making is an art, I know some young film-makers and I certainly couldn't do what they do, but then I can't act either. It's like football players and managers. Very few top flight players become really good managers although a lot try. Most good managers have been players at a lower level though so they know what they're dealing with. So when a premiership player becomes a winning manager it's a very rare thing. It's the same with actors and directors. As a top actor you work closely with the director to help bring their vision to the screen and I'm sure you must pick up a thing or two. However, to have the ability to translate what's in your head onto the screen is a whole different skillset. There have been some very successful transitions in the recent past, Clooney I've spoken of before, Ben Affleck makes wonderful films from behind the camera and I often wish he put as much thought and effort into his acting roles as he does his directing, but there is one actor who stepped behind the scenes better than anyone else and that is Bronco Billy himself - Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood is an astonishing talent. His body of work as just an actor is one most people would be quite proud of but then you add in his list of films he's directed and it is outstanding! Honestly he is one of the best directors of all time in my opinion and certainly in my top 5. There is proper storytelling in his projects, there is stunning dialogue produced by cast members who have never been better than in his films. When you can take the incredible Morgan Freeman and make him even better you have undeniable talent. The following top ten list is not on any order of preference like usual. No film is better than the other or holds a place in my heart more than another, these are just the ten films I guarantee I watch at least once a year and have since their release...

The Eiger Sanction

The Eiger Sanction

Okay, you'll be alright now Pope. Of course you may have trouble playing the clarinet for awhile.

Jonathan Hemlock is an art history professor and collector who finances his hobby by performing the odd sanction (assassination) for an obscure government bureau. He is forced to take a case where he must find out which of the members of a mountain climbing team is the Russian killer he has been given as a target by joining an expedition to climb the treacherous Eiger.

Play Misty For Me

Play Misty For Me

You haven't got the faintest idea of what love is, we don't even know each other.

Disc jockey Dave Garver attracts the amorous attentions of a demented fan named Evelyn Draper. Evelyn lets Dave pick her up at a bar; later at her apartment Evelyn admits that she is the cooing caller who repeatedly asks Dave to play the Erroll Garner classic "Misty." From then on, the film is a lesson in how one casual date can turn your whole life around. Evelyn stalks Dave everywhere, ruins his business lunch, assaults his maid, mutilates his house and all of his belongings, and finally threatens to butcher his girlfriend Tobie Williams. You'll never be able to hear that song again without looking over your shoulder.

J. Edgar

J. Edgar

What's important at this time is to re-clarify the difference between hero and villain.

Biopic of J. Edgar Hoover told by Hoover as he recalls his career for a biography. Early in his career, Hoover fixated on Communists, anarchists and any other revolutionary taking action against the U.S. government. He slowly builds the agency's reputation, becoming the sole arbiter of who gets hired and fired. One of his hires is Clyde Tolson who is quickly promoted to Assistant Director and would be Hoover's confidant and companion for the rest of Hoover's life. Hoover's memories have him playing a greater role in the many high profile cases the FBI was involved in - the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the arrest of bank robbers like John Dillinger - and also show him to be quite adept at manipulating the various politicians he's worked with over his career, thanks in large part to his secret files.

Heartbreak Ridge

Heartbreak Ridge

My name's Gunnery Sergeant Highway and I've drunk more beer and banged more quiff and pissed more blood and stomped more ass that all of you numbnuts put together. Now Major Powers has put me in charge of this Reconnaissance platoon.

Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway has been in the Corps since the Korean War and would like to see some action and a victory before he retires. He requests to be transfered to the unit that he was once busted out of. Upon arriving the commanding officer knows of Highway's reputation, especially of his lack of respect for his superiors, warns him that he is going to keep an eye on him. Highway's assigned to train a recon unit which consists mostly of deadbeats. But Highway's determined to turn them into true marines and they are not exactly pleased with him, at first. And he is also trying to reconnect with his ex-wife.

Unforgiven 

Unforgiven

I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you done to Ned.

The town of Big Whisky is full of normal people trying to lead quiet lives. Cowboys try to make a living. Sheriff 'Little Bill' tries to build a house and keep a heavy-handed order. The town whores just try to get by.Then a couple of cowboys cut up a whore. Dissatisfied with Bill's justice, the prostitutes put a bounty on the cowboys. The bounty attracts a young gun billing himself as 'The Schofield Kid', and aging killer William Munny. Munny reformed for his young wife, and has been raising crops and two children in peace. But his wife is gone. Farm life is hard. And Munny is no good at it. So he calls his old partner Ned, saddles his ornery nag, and rides off to kill one more time, blurring the lines between heroism and villainy, man and myth.

A Perfect World

A Perfect World

You know, Phillip, you have a goddamned red, white and blue American right to eat cotton candy and ride roller coasters.

After escaping from a Huntsville prison, convict Butch Haynes and his partner Terry Pugh kidnap a young boy, Philip Perry, and flee across Texas. As they travel together, Butch and Philip discover common bonds and suffer the abuses of the outside "Perfect World." In pursuit is Texas Ranger "Red" Garnett and criminologist Sally Gerber.

Absolute Power

Absolute Power

I should've called the police that night but I was weak. You convinced me to stay silent. I regret that. Know this: every time I see your face, I wanna rip your throat out.

Based on the novel by David Baldacci, Absolute Power is about the ruthlessness of people in power. The President believes that everything he does is beyond reproach, including an affair or two. That leads to murder and everyone around him is involved. There is only one witness, a thief named Luther Whitney. They are sure he'll talk, but when? The Secret Service is determined to keep him quiet, but catching a thief isn't always easy.

Mystic River

Mystic River

The reality is we're still 11 year old boys locked in a cellar imagining what our lives would have been if we'd escaped.

In the summer of 1975 in a neighborhood in Boston, 3 kids, Dave Boyle and two of his friends, Jimmy and Sean, are playing on the sidewalk when Dave gets abducted by two men and endures several days of sexual abuse. Eventually, Dave escapes traumatized throughout adulthood. Jimmy is an ex-con and a father of three, whose daughter Katie, is found dead and Dave becomes the number one suspect. Sean is a homicide detective, investigating Katie's murder, ends up finding himself faced with past and present demons as more is uncovered about Katie's murder. Learning Katie had a boyfriend, ballistics later turn up a gun belonging to the father, which then puts her boyfriend as the suspect. Will Sean find out who killed Katie? Will Jimmy make it through the investigation? And will Dave ever find out what really happened when he was abducted?

Million Dollar Baby 

Million Dollar Baby

If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.

Wanting to learn from the best, aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald wants Frankie Dunn to train her. At the outset he flatly refuses saying he has no interest in training a girl. Frankie leads a lonely existence, alienated from his only daughter and having few friends. She's rough around the edges but shows a lot of grit in the ring and he eventually relents. Maggie not only proves to be the boxer he always dreamed of having under his wing but a friend who fills the great void he's had in his life. Maggie's career skyrockets but an accident in the ring leads her to ask Frankie for one last favor.

Gran Torino 

Gran Torino

Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have fucked with? That's me.

Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy old man who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors. He is a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.

There are even more that could have made the list if I was allowed more than ten...

Blood Work
Letters from Iwa Jima/Flags of our Fathers
American Sniper
Invictus
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The Bridges of Madison County
True Crime
Space Cowboys


Okay, so it seems I get nothing done because I'm always watching a Clint Eastwood film.

Image/Synopsis - IMDb.