“Hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have.”
- Clint Eastwood in “Unforgiven”
There’s a scene in “Unforgiven” with Sheriff Little Bill Daggett entertaining his henchmen; showing off for his new writer friend. They’re gathered in the murky, soulless confines of Greeley’s Saloon. Little Bill, giddy and boisterous, buys the crowd a round of whiskey. Outside, lightning flickers as a storm rolls in and illuminates the dead body of Ned Logan. Little Bill and his men have killed him.
As Little Bill and his boys laugh it up, a dark figure with a shotgun looms in front of the camera. The henchmen notice first, their chuckles catching in their throats. They fall deadly, fearfully quiet. Little Bill continues to rant and rave before, he, too, finally notices and sputters to a stop. There’s an instant in his expression – just a flash, mind you – that fear seizes him as he realizes he’s looking at his tombstone.
William Munny, fueled by whiskey, has been transformed from a slightly bumbling and affable cowboy into the man he used to be: a merciless murderer. He moves differently now and even his eyes have gone black.
“Who’s the fellow who owns this shithole?” Munny asks.
He blasts the saloon owner with his shotgun, the sound like thunder, smoke filling the hard lines of the wooden building.
“You cowardly son of a bitch!” Little Bill shouts. “You just shot an unarmed man!” (The irony of this statement lost on him).
“He should have armed himself if he was going to decorate his saloon with my friend.”
Little Bill, a control freak if there ever was one, realizes he’s lost control of the situation – things are spinning way out of hand – and the panic is being to bubble off him like a bad odor.
“You’d be Will Munny from Missouri, killer of women and children,” Little Bill says.
“That’s right,” Munny says. “I’ve killed women and children. I’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I’m here to kill you Little Bill for what you did to Ned.”
And he does.
“Unforgiven” is arguably Clint Eastwood’s best movie – and certainly it’s one of the preeminent Westerns ever put to celluloid. Movies like this make DaRK PaRTY a huge Eastwood fan. He’s become one of the best actors and directors in Hollywood and even when he misses – he manages to put together an interesting film. So without further ado, DaRK PaRTY presents the five best and the five worst Clint Eastwood movies.
A western that encapsulates the American psyche and rips apart the films of Eastwood’s youth where he played no-name gunslingers that never had to face up to the consequences of their violent actions. He does this with career performances from Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris.
Pale Rider (1985)
Second only to “Unforgiven” in the western genre. This one meshes the tale of stranger riding into town with an unnerving ghost story. Like “Unforgiven,” “Pale Rider” is heavy on atmosphere and gives us wide-open spaces combined with claustrophobic interior shots.
A Perfect World (1993)
An underrated gem. Kevin Costner stars as an escaped convict who kidnaps a boy from a repressed religious family as Federal Agent Clint Eastwood pursues. The story is really about the bonding of a troubled man and a lost boy. It’s the small moments in this film that make it great.
This is the movie where Eastwood sandbags his Dirty Harry personae. He plays a cop pursuing a serial killer who murders prostitutes. The cop shares some of the same violent sexual urges as the killer – an even some of the same women. Eastwood should have done more with this – but bails out at the end. Good stuff, nonetheless.
In the Line of Fire (1993)
Eastwood plays a Secret Service agent nearing retirement. He failed to protect President Kennedy and now he’s tested again when the new president is threatened. The movie is stolen by the high-octane performance of John Malkovich as the assassin.
Pink Cadillac (1989)
Eastwood should of known better to star in a movie with “Pink” in the title. This was supposed to be an action comedy – but it isn’t either.
The Rookie (1990)
It co-stars Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen = Crap.
True Crime (1999)
Eastwood looks like he should be in a nursing home. Totally miscast as a rogue journalist with women and booze problems. The bare-chested scene has you wincing and reaching for “The Outlaw Josie Wales.”
Bronco Billy (1980)
The title sounds like it should be in the adult section. Eastwood stars as the owner of a traveling Wild West show on the skids. It’s worse than it sounds and co-stars Sondra Locke, who simply can’t act.
City Heat (1984)
Co-starring Burt Reynolds and directed by Blake Edwards. That stench you smell is, in fact, the movie.