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Author Topic: Changeling & Gran Torino 10 Year Anniversaries  (Read 446 times)
Jed Cooper
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« on: August 05, 2018, 06:28:44 PM »


Wow, ten years since the release of these films have gone by already.  I remember hearing the news of production beginning on Changeling.  I had yet to get used to the fact that Eastwood’s starring roles were coming to an end.  Since then, I’ve been able to “improvise, overcome and adapt.”

Four years had passed since Million Dollar Baby and I wasn’t impressed with what Clint had released in the intervening years. 

I wasn’t very impressed with Changeling, either.  That disappointment wouldn’t last long, thankfully, upon the release of Gran Torino.  Hell, the mere mention of another Eastwood starring role made up for everything! 

Gran Torino is a favorite and one of Eastwood’s all time best, successful films.  What a pleasure and relief to see it when it came out!  A friend opined that it seemed like a lot of characters Clint had portrayed were summed up into Walt Kowalski.  I agree with him and that’s one of the things that makes this movie so enjoyable and entertaining.






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Hocine
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 12:45:35 PM »

Changeling and Gran Torino are two pretty good movies.

Changeling was selected at Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
This year, Sean Penn was the president of jury. Finally, it didn't win the golden palm.
It's by far the best performance of Angelina Jolie. In this one, the main character is a woman and it's not so usual in Clint Eastwood movies.
However, you have some actresses who played women who were important in the story like Jessica Walter in Play Misty for Me, Kay Lenz in Breezy, Sondra Locke in The Gauntlet, Bronco Billy and Sudden Impact, Genevieve Bujold in Tightrope, Diane Venora in Bird, Frances Fisher in Unforgiven, Meryl Streep in The Bridges of Madison County, Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River, Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby and Cécile de France in Hereafter.
But the cinema of Clint Eastwood remains a man's world: Gran Torino is a good example.

Gran Torino was shot in the summer 2008 after Cannes Film Festival. It was supposed to be a small picture, and in many ways, it was a small picture.
But it wasn't supposed to overshadow Changeling, which seemed to be more ambitious. And this is what happened exactly.
Like Letters from Iwo Jima overshadowed Flags of Our Fathers at the Oscars 2007.
Gran Torino is simple and essential at the same time.
Changeling is good too and I really enjoyed it but it's maybe too complicated or sophisticated.
Gran Torino is closer to Million Dollar Baby. Clint said that Walt Kowalski is close to Frankie Dunn and Tom Highway from Heartbreak Ridge.
Walt Kowalski is like the other side of Frankie Dunn. As Red Stovall is the other side of Bronco Billy.
Many people thought Clint would get an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Walt Kowalski.
Finally, he didn't. But instead, he got great reviews and a box office hit. I like Gran Torino.
It reminds Dirty Harry to many people. But Clint said that Harry Callahan wouldn't react like Walt reacted in this situation.
He said that he would react quickly in a different way.
Gran Torino reminds me Honkytonk Man. Mostly, because of the tragic destiny of the main character.
Of course, Gran Torino can be seen like a tribute to Clint acting career. Or his acting swan song.
But The Mule is upcoming.
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Perry
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 01:13:57 PM »



    Changeling would had been a better movie with a better actress. Jolie was miscast. The movie was about 20 minutes too long. Gran Torino after TOJW is Eastwood's best movie he ever directed which starred himself.
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Hocine
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 12:07:09 PM »


    Changeling would had been a better movie with a better actress. Jolie was miscast. The movie was about 20 minutes too long. Gran Torino after TOJW is Eastwood's best movie he ever directed which starred himself.

Actually, many people thought that Angelina Jolie was too beautiful to portray Christine Collins, who was supposed to be sad and miserable.
Against all odds, she was convincing enough and was even nominated at the Oscars 2009.
Finally, Kate Winslet won for The Reader.

I agree with you: Gran Torino is definitely one of the best movies in which Clint Eastwood directed himself.
As I said previously, Gran Torino is thematically close to Million Dollar Baby.
The main difference is that Million Dollar Baby has three great acting performances, which make it more powerful than Gran Torino, in my opinion.
But I can't choose only one or two movies because he made so many great movies I really enjoy.

In chronological order, I think that the best movies in which he directed himself are:
Play Misty for Me, High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bronco Billy, Honkytonk Man, Pale Rider, White Hunter Black Heart, Unforgiven,
A Perfect World (even if Kevin Costner is the lead actor), The Bridges of Madison County,Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.

Even they are not taken too seriously and are sometimes considered as his worst films, I like The Eiger Sanction, The Gauntlet,
Firefox (probably the most boring), Sudden Impact, Heartbreak Ridge, The Rookie, Absolute Power, True Crime, Space Cowboys and Blood Work because they have something to say about Clint Eastwood's screen persona. And of course, most of them are really entertaining.
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AKA23
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 06:35:18 PM »

I think "Changeling" is actually underrated. It was one of the few films that I saw during the Eastwood challenge that my initial opinion of improved after rewatching it. I thought Jolie did a good job with the role, but I see what you mean, Perry. Not only was she gorgeous, but I don't think she was as convincing as she could have been in the role because Christine Collins is a very vulnerable character, and Angelina Jolie typically plays very strong female characters. I had a little bit of a hard time believing that she would have allowed someone that she knew was not her son to be passed off as her son for as long as she did and even when she pushed back, it was not that forceful. Angelina Jolie, both in her personal life as well as in the roles that she portrays onscreen, is usually larger than life, and Christine Collins personality was the polar opposite of that. I think someone like Hillary Swank might have been a better choice for the role. She can also portray strong female characters (Million Dollar Baby), but she has a vulnerability on screen that I think would have made her better embody Christine Collins.   
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AKA23
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 06:37:16 PM »


Gran Torino after TOJW is Eastwood's best movie he ever directed which starred himself.

Perry, I love "Gran Torino" as well, but this is a pretty bold statement. What is it about "Gran Torino" that makes you feel it is the second best movie he has ever directed in which he appears? What is it that "Gran Torino" has that the others lack for you?
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Christopher
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 08:54:56 AM »

I'd have to say I prefer Changeling to Gran Torino. Of course the two movies aren't alike in any way really, but in terms of Eastwood movies, I hold Changeling up higher. It's just such a disturbing and engaging story.
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Perry
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 01:00:02 PM »



I said it once before AKA23 in that G.T. was like a 'B' movie. It was a simple story and the fact it had mostly non actors that did a credible job. To me it was the closest movie Eastwood ever directed in Don Siegel's style. I don't think it's a bold statement.
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AKA23
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2018, 02:45:42 PM »

I'd have to say I prefer Changeling to Gran Torino. Of course the two movies aren't alike in any way really, but in terms of Eastwood movies, I hold Changeling up higher. It's just such a disturbing and engaging story.

This is surprising to me. Does anyone else feel this way as well? Christopher, what did "Changeling" have that you felt "Gran Torino" lacked? I agree that it did have an interesting story.
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AKA23
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2018, 07:15:48 AM »

Actually, many people thought that Angelina Jolie was too beautiful to portray Christine Collins, who was supposed to be sad and miserable.
Against all odds, she was convincing enough and was even nominated at the Oscars 2009.
Finally, Kate Winslet won for The Reader.

I agree with you: Gran Torino is definitely one of the best movies in which Clint Eastwood directed himself.
As I said previously, Gran Torino is thematically close to Million Dollar Baby.
The main difference is that Million Dollar Baby has three great acting performances, which make it more powerful than Gran Torino, in my opinion.
But I can't choose only one or two movies because he made so many great movies I really enjoy.

In chronological order, I think that the best movies in which he directed himself are:
Play Misty for Me, High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bronco Billy, Honkytonk Man, Pale Rider, White Hunter Black Heart, Unforgiven,
A Perfect World (even if Kevin Costner is the lead actor), The Bridges of Madison County,Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.

Even they are not taken too seriously and are sometimes considered as his worst films, I like The Eiger Sanction, The Gauntlet,
Firefox (probably the most boring), Sudden Impact, Heartbreak Ridge, The Rookie, Absolute Power, True Crime, Space Cowboys and Blood Work because they have something to say about Clint Eastwood's screen persona. And of course, most of them are really entertaining.

Another great post, Hocine. I definitely agree with many of your "best movies" list, but I actually differ a little bit with you on your worst list. Somewhat surprisingly, I actually really like "The Gauntlet." It may even be in my top 10 list of Eastwood films. I think it has some great action set pieces, and it's so over the top that it really is very enjoyable to watch. If not in my top 10, it would certainly be in the second tier of films. 

I also have a soft spot for "Absolute Power," but that may be because it was the very first Clint movie that I saw at the movie theater. I think "True Crime" is also underrated. I prefer both of those movies to "The 15:17 to Paris," "Jersey Boys," "J. Edgar," "Hereafter," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and "Invictus," but since Eastwood didn't appear in any of these movies, they wouldn't qualify for your list. I agree with you that "Blood Work," "Sudden Impact" and "Firefox" are among his least enjoyable movies. Although not among his best, I think "The Eiger Sanction" has great visuals and in particular a fabulous musical score, which as you likely know, was one of John Williams' earlier works as a composer.   
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Christopher
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2018, 11:01:02 AM »

This is surprising to me. Does anyone else feel this way as well? Christopher, what did "Changeling" have that you felt "Gran Torino" lacked? I agree that it did have an interesting story.
I think it's just always been a preference for Changeling. I haven't watched either movie recently. I enjoy both.
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Hocine
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2018, 12:49:24 PM »

Another great post, Hocine. I definitely agree with many of your "best movies" list, but I actually differ a little bit with you on your worst list. Somewhat surprisingly, I actually really like "The Gauntlet." It may even be in my top 10 list of Eastwood films. I think it has some great action set pieces, and it's so over the top that it really is very enjoyable to watch. If not in my top 10, it would certainly be in the second tier of films. 

I also have a soft spot for "Absolute Power," but that may be because it was the very first Clint movie that I saw at the movie theater. I think "True Crime" is also underrated. I prefer both of those movies to "The 15:17 to Paris," "Jersey Boys," "J. Edgar," "Hereafter," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and "Invictus," but since Eastwood didn't appear in any of these movies, they wouldn't qualify for your list. I agree with you that "Blood Work," "Sudden Impact" and "Firefox" are among his least enjoyable movies. Although not among his best, I think "The Eiger Sanction" has great visuals and in particular a fabulous musical score, which as you likely know, was one of John Williams' earlier works as a composer.   

Thank you, AKA23 ! Your post is very interesting too.
Actually, I really like The Eiger Sanction, The Gauntlet, Sudden Impact, Heartbreak Ridge, Absolute Power, True Crime, Space Cowboys and Blood Work. I just wanted to say that these movies are sometimes considered as among the weakest Clint Eastwood pictures by some critics and Clint Eastwood cinema’s studies.
Even Don Siegel considered The Gauntlet as a stupid picture.
However, I think that The Gauntlet is interesting because, like all the pictures in which Clint directed himself,
there’s a conversation or a game between director Clint Eastwood, actor Clint Eastwood and the character he’s playing.
Clint is aware of his image, his screen persona and what he represents to the audience, to his fans.
Sometimes he did exactly what the audience expected from him (Sudden Impact for example) and sometimes he did exactly the opposite of what the audience expected from him (Honkytonk Man for example).
The Gauntlet is in half way because Clint played a character who is not as smart as Harry Callahan.
He’s an alcoholic cop. He’s even a little bit dumb. Without Gus Mally’s pieces of advice, what would have happened to him ? Gus Mally opened his eyes just in time.
I think that Clint challenged his screen persona with movies like The Gauntlet.
That’s why it’s interesting. Of course, it’s entertaining too.
True Crime, Absolute Power or Blood Work are also movies which play a lot with Clint Eastwood screen persona.
Absolute Power is the third Clint picture I have seen in a theater.
The first one is In the Line of Fire and the second one is The Bridges of Madison County.
I really like all these pictures even they are not considered like masterpieces.
I just like Clint Eastwood universe. I can’t help it.
I like The Eiger Sanction and John Williams music score too.
Among the movies Clint directed without starring in, his best are Mystic River, Bird, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, American Sniper, Sully, Changeling, Breezy, J.Edgar.

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AKA23
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2018, 02:51:12 PM »

I agree with you on Shockley. He does share similarities with Philo Beddoe, but he is a much more interesting character to me, and when it counts, he does wise up, admittedly with Gus' help! 

Like you, I have also developed a renewed appreciation for some of Eastwood's starring roles that I didn't enjoy all that much when I first saw them. Since Eastwood has not acted much at all, and the opportunities for him doing so continue to dwindle as he ages, I value some of Eastwood's less popular works much more than before. There are very few films in which he stars that I don't enjoy at all and wouldn't have a desire to rewatch ("The Rookie," "Pink Cadillac," "City Heat," both Which Way films, "Paint Your Wagon" and "The Beguiled" (I recognize that this movie does not belong with the others, but it's not one that I have ever enjoyed). I'd rewatch any of his other starring films, and even if I may not love them, I would still enjoy his performance.

Fun fact: I became an Eastwood fan the year that "In the Line of Fire" came out, and I really wanted to see it, but my parents would not allow me to do so. I'm a little envious that you got to see that in the theater, as it's my favorite Eastwood film. I would love to see that in the theater. They should re-release it! It's the 25th anniversary this year.
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KC
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2018, 06:11:12 PM »

Good discussion. :)

I too am quite fond of The Gauntlet ... Clint's anti-North by Northwest. (Remind me to elaborate sometime.)

Hocine, I edited your last post, but just to fix the coding on the quote. :)
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