Go ahead and make my Patrol! One of the biggest icons in movies over the past 50 years is “Dirty Harry” himself, Clint Eastwood. From early roles in TV like Rowdy Yates on “Rawhide” and playing the hero in roles like “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “High Plains Drifter” to acting and directing in movies such as “Space Cowboys” and “Gran Turino,” Eastwood’s amassed such a range of work over the last 50 years. Finding such an actor with a resume like this is unheard of today, but the man is still going. The Patrol Trail Boss, the Toddster, has brought his posse together and they’ve given their favorite Eastwood movies and memories right here. Do you feel lucky? Take a look.
“Million Dollar Baby” 2004
As a young kid, watching Clint Eastwood for the first time, I failed to comprehend the significance of his presence on the silver screen. It was one of those “Dirty Harry” movies that established Eastwood as a tough on-screen hero who was more than willing to shoot down a bad guy. Eastwood was the forerunner to future stars cast in tough-guy hero roles such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I have to thank my dad for piquing my interest in future Eastwood flicks. I cannot think of too many movies over the past 30 years in which Eastwood starred that I missed. His mere presence in any celluloid feature – even his turns in “Bronco Billy” “Any Which Way but Loose” – made the caliber of it much better.
Over the last decade, Eastwood has spent more time behind the camera than in front of it. I was glad he stepped out in 2004 to play aging boxing trainer Frankie Dunn, who takes Hilary Swank’s “Maggie Fitzgerald,” and transforms her from a struggling waitress to a contender.
This movie was more than Clint Eastwood in another starring vehicle (he also won the Oscar for best director), but a brilliantly told story where you find yourself completely invested in each character. Morgan Freeman plays a former boxer who is long on advice and experience, but short on the amenities of life – even socks without holes.
While this story has a sports theme, it’s not a pure sports story. It’s about friendship; it’s about a bond that develops between a young woman with a horrific family and a father figure who finds an outlet to appease a fractured relationship with his own daughter. It’s about love, courage, and perseverance against long odds, and it’s about the reality of a brutal sport that can lead to tragedy.
“Million Dollar Baby” justly won the Oscar for best picture, but the sentimentalist in me wished it had a happier ending.
“Gran Turino” 2008
Nothing is more inspiring to me than someone ending a prolific career while at the top of their game, and the Clint Eastwood directed Gran Torino (he has stated this movie will be his last as an actor) is an excellent example of this.