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Clint Eastwood: A Reappraisal

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 by Blogpur


Since 2003 Clint Eastwood has been on the upswing. With his masterful Mystic River Eastwood delivered when it most mattered. A sober, contemplative and ultimately compelling saga of revenge, death and childhood Mystic River proved to be a watershed in Eastwood's illustrious career. I don't say this lightly, mainly because Eastwood is responsible for such classics as Unforgiven and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Mystic River
also came at a time when Eastwood's relevance in Hollywood was being questioned. At the ripe old age of 73, here was a director who just thought new and adapted the novel into something more than just an adaptation, an appropriation. Fuelled by sterling performances from all concerned, I consider Mystic River to be one of the greatest films this side of the century.


Of course, Eastwood followed this up with the Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby. While not quite as visceral, intense, somber or free flowing as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby meant that Eastwood was now on par with Scorsese amongst others. Scorsese who has never won an Oscar (and rightfully so, his films are far better than what is necessary for Oscar consideration) had quite a good chance with the hap hazard film The Aviator. As time proved, Eastwood triumphed with both Best Director and Best Picture. Unfortunately Eastwood never got recognised for his great work and this is no different.


Eastwood's latest two films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima look set to take him further up the ladder of masterful directors. If story and trailers are to be believed these two could be some sort of poetic masterpieces. Both forming a meditation on love, loss and war; they are shot two show both the American and Japanese perspectives of that fateful encounter 60 or so years ago. Eastwood's decision to opt for two films shows his daringness to extend himself and his American compatriots beyond the childish scope of narrow patriotism.


The splendidly bleached out cinematography along with the most beautiful (dare I say minimalist?) soundtrack I have heard in quite a while could, if Eastwood has done his job, elevate these two films into exospheric (hey come on, it is higher than the stratosphere) territory. The amount of effort Eastwood has put in while being 76 in appluadable and with Spielberg as his Producer, things could go right completely.

Eastwood specifically used unknown actors in this film and the lack of star appeal is one of the films biggest boons. We are not going to watch someone play the soldiers, we are going to watch the soldiers. Could this film have philosophical questions abound? Could it connect with Nietzsche or perhaps Freud? Time will tell. Of course, I could be completely wrong and find these two films to be a good waste of however million dollars it is. Somehow I doubt that.

Time for A Change

Sunday, September 24, 2006 by Blogpur

As much as I loved K2 and the way it served me over about a year or so, it was beginning to look tired and old. It had lost its sheen and started to wilt. Perhaps this new look again from the same people that brought you K2 will liven up things a bit and make me more inclined to write consistently. As Dr. Johnson would say:
"Sir I have found you a definition, I am not obliged to find you an understanding."
What relevance that quote has to the rest of the text remains one of life's great mysteries.

An Ode to the 20th Century

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 by Blogpur

I've been listening to a bit of Billy Joel recently. Damn he is good! For pure energetic pop songs you just can't beat him. I would place him alongside The Beatles and Michael Jackson for sheer raw energy in his songs. In any case, one of his songs "We Didn't Start the Fire" seems a little off. It is a lightly politically tinged homage to the 20th Century. As usual there are references to pretty much everyone but any Indians. How typically American, and yet we suck up to them! Still, this song surges and soars. It never stops. It's lyrics are never poetic or brilliant yet for simple pop fun, I haven't seen much better. I felt they need to be showed to whoever sees this site! So here goes...

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

CHORUS
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser aand Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy hn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez

CHORUS

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo

CHORUS

Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

CHORUS

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodsto/ck/, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

CHORUS

We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...