News: In theaters now: THE MULE, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood!


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Author Topic: Who saw The Mule? Members' Comments (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE)  (Read 2533 times)
Christopher
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« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2018, 09:56:13 AM »

AKA, I'm very impressed with your success at scoring a ticket to the premiere and arranging a lightning cross-country trip to get there in time! You must be one of the most dedicated Eastwood fans I've ever met. 8)
Yeah, that is pretty impressive! I was just thinking as I was reading through the last few posts that it seems like AKA has made it these type of events before, perhaps. Am I remembering that right? Or it seems like I remember posts from some years back where he's been somewhere and has spoken to people at Warner Bros. or something like that.
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AKA23
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« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2018, 10:39:56 AM »

Thanks for the compliment KC and Christopher. Christopher, you are correct. I've done this before. The first time was during the Carmel Film Festival when Clint premiered J.Edgar. The second time was when Clint premiered the "Eastwood Directs" documentary in New York City. The third time was to see "The Mule."

I'm pretty savvy, so all 3 times that I've done this, I've also lined up other reasons for the trip. For Carmel, I had a job interview in San Francisco and also went to see some friends in Sacramento. For the New York trip, one of my close friends was going to NYU at the time, and I stayed with him. At some point, I would have visited him there, but chose to do it at the time that coincided with Clint being there. For this time, I have family in San Diego, so after staying with friends in Los Angeles, I took the train to San Diego and am spending a week here before flying back to the DC area.

I think the most exciting one of these times was the New York trip, since Clint did a pretty extended interview and I was right in the front row. The second most exciting was to see "The Mule" since Eastwood was in that, and there is something special about being among the first audiences to see a new Eastwood film in which he stars. I initially wasn't very happy though. Despite standing for 4 hours to ensure that I would get in (they distribute twice the amount of tickets than the capacity of the theater to ensure that it would be a full theater, I was randomly assigned a seat in the second row from the screen. I despise being that close (I didn't even enjoy this as a kid), and they refused to let me move. I missed the first 10 minutes of the film because being so close, I couldn't see or hear the film properly, so after 10 minutes, I got fed up, looked around the theater and found a seat 5 or 6 rows back. It was a night and day difference!

I was pretty disappointed though that there was no interaction at all with Clint, since I definitely could have seen that movie for free (I have moviepass) on Friday. 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 10:41:38 AM by AKA23 » Logged
honkytonkman
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« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2018, 07:11:00 AM »

AKA, what you describe gives me even more desire to see this film and increases my impatience and my enthusiasm, because I always thought that the register of the comedy suited Clint (it is enough to evoke his fantastic sense of humor during interviews). For example "Bronco Billy" is a very successful and emotional comedy, and many of his films contain very funny moments ("The Gauntlet", "Heartbreak Ridge", "Absolute Power", "Gran Torino", "Space Cowboys "...) ... I'm also happy to see that at his age, he still likes to take on new challenges and not stay on the same kinds of films ...
« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 07:15:35 AM by honkytonkman » Logged
KC
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« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2018, 08:28:38 AM »

Good observation, honkytonkman. Even Unforgiven has some very funny moments involving Clint.
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exit00
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« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2018, 03:00:04 PM »

I saw The Mule today with my two brothers (we routinely have gotten together to see Clint movies on opening day for the past 40 years).  All of us really liked it.  I wouldn't classify it as a comedy but more a character study/drama with numerous one-liners and humor that Clint usually has in most of his movies.  Another marvelous editing job by Joel Cox and Clint is perfect in this role.  For some reason this movie reminds me more in the vein of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot rather than Gran Torino.  I'd probably rate it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.  One other note, the theater was packed for this 1:15 start time and I would say there was close to 100 people seeing this show.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 08:18:04 AM by exit00 » Logged
Christopher
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« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2018, 06:35:34 PM »

Sounds good, exit00. O0 I'll probably see it within a few days.
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Matt
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« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2018, 09:57:33 PM »

Yeah, you're not going to like this. Sorry, Matt.

And yet....... I really, really did! 

I'm going to agree with exit00 that I wouldn't classify this as a comedy. It's a drama with standard Eastwood one-liners. The audience, myself included, ate them up. The un-PC-ness of it was actually part of its charm. And yet, I didn't think Earl Stone was like Walt Kowalski at all. He reminded me most of Luther Whitney, and there's a scene where this hit me upside the head -- a scene in the diner with Bradley Cooper that reminded me of the best scene in Absolute Power between Luther and Seth Frank. I think the funny one-liners are just classic Clint. One word said in his Eastwoodesque delivery and the crowd was eating it up. I wish I could remember some of the best lines, but there were plenty of light moments in the film that didn't drag the drama down -- it lightened the film up JUST enough... that it was really enjoyable.

There's a scene with him and Dianne Wiest that was one of the most touching and tender of his entire career -- and it's just little moments. No big maudlin over-the-top pulling-at-the-heartstrings. Just simple honest emotion. It was beautiful. At the end, I felt a pang of sadness just because this film really made me feel about what's important in life as we get older. It's a great message, and it's delivered masterfully.

I loved The Mule. I kinda expected less after AKA's review. I usually agree with him very much. But this time, sorry man -- this movie was top notch. One of the things I appreciated was that there was no weak link in the film, and I can point to a weak link in nearly every Eastwood film. Actors that are caricatures, like Maggie's family in Million Dollar Baby. But here, I didn't think the cartel members were so emptily drawn. They had senses of humor. They were just people doing their jobs. We didn't need to know how or why they got into what they are doing -- that's another movie. This one was Earl Stone's story. I thought showing the cartel members the way he did humanized them and made them somewhat likable. I don't really get the criticisms of their casting or that they aren't fleshed out more. We don't have time for or need to know their backstory.
 
As for theater attendance, I got the last pair of tickets available for the 7:30 showing, and I bought them online at 5:00 PM.  I had no idea it would be hard to get into this showing, or I would have bought them sooner.  But it turns out our theater has become a dine-in theater (full menu and bar, everh seat is a full recliner, super comfortable and basically just awesome).  So there were less seats, but it was a full theater. Maybe this movie played better here in a "red" state than in others. But, the Nashville area is the one liberal pocket in the state, so it's a mixed bag.  We were the last ones to leave the theater as we watched the ending credits, and one of the theater employees wanted me to know that Clint's partner of so many years had just died yesterday. Then I looked like a Clint geek (which I guess I am) by knowing her name and the exact date of her death, and that it had only just been acknowledged in the media. Outside of the web board, I suppose having that kind of info available off the tip of your tongue is a bit odd.

I'm going to rate this an 8.5/10.  It's not a masterpiece, but if this is Clint's acting swan song, he picked a great vehicle for it.


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antonis
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« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2018, 01:49:39 AM »

Guys I have to ask although it's a spoiler.
Did he spell the mule quote?
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a MAN has got to know his public's expectations...
Rawhide7
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« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2018, 03:24:32 AM »

Going to see this Monday. Looking forward to it.
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AKA23
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« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2018, 09:03:56 AM »

Matt and Exit, I'm happy that you both really enjoyed this movie. I agree that it's not really a comedy, but, to me, it did have a much lighter tone than I expected given the subject matter and trailer, and I did feel Clint had a showier performance than he usually does. Did you not feel his performance was a little over the top and that "The Mule" had a lighter tone than you expected?

As I predicted, it does look like it's a bit of a divisive film. Some appear to really like it, while others, don't. It currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 64% (60% is the bare minimum for a Fresh rating), and Metacritic has it at 58, which indicates "mixed to average" reviews.

I am looking forward to seeing it again. I will probably wait a few weeks. It could be that my own preconceived notions of what the film was/should be, and how different it was from that, affected my enjoyment of the film.
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exit00
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« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2018, 10:12:54 AM »

AKA...Yeah, the movie isn't as absorbing or gripping as Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River... and certainly the trailer tried to make it look more like this.  Although, I would disagree with calling Clint's performance "over the top".. I think it's just that he is in almost every scene in the movie.  I can certainly understand your disappointment with expecting the movie to be more riveting due to the trailer.  For me, I seem to like almost all of his movies better the 2nd time around because I have so high expectations going in... 
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Matt
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« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2018, 10:49:12 AM »

AKA...Yeah, the movie isn't as absorbing or gripping as Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River... and certainly the trailer tried to make it look more like this.  Although, I would disagree with calling Clint's performance "over the top".. I think it's just that he is in almost every scene in the movie.  I can certainly understand your disappointment with expecting the movie to be more riveting due to the trailer.  For me, I seem to like almost all of his movies better the 2nd time around because I have so high expectations going in...

I liked The Mule better than both Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. I guess "absorbing and gripping" doesn't necessary translate to a film being more enjoyable to me. And I liked the tone of The Mule so much more. It's a great story without being a tear-jerker or extremely depressing. As for Clint's performance, no way would I call it "over the top".  It's very minimalistic, I think. I'm trying to even think of a time when I would consider a Clint performance over the top, and maybe City Heat?  Maybe Pink Cadillac?  I'm not even sure I'd consider either of those performances over-the-top. He's not that kind of actor. I'd say this was a subtle performance. I thought we saw a few sparks of the real Clint poke through in this performance, or at least how I envision he is in real life. Like when he was at the party at Laton's (Andy Garcia's) mansion and the girl in the yellow bikini walked by -- just a glance is all it took and the audience noticed. He doesn't ever over-act.
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AKA23
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« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2018, 11:46:36 AM »

I liked The Mule better than both Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. I guess "absorbing and gripping" doesn't necessary translate to a film being more enjoyable to me.

WOW. Seriously, Matt? I think objectively both of the above are 10 times better movies than "The Mule," especially "Million Dollar Baby." That is so interesting that you liked this one more. Can you say a little bit more about that? Why? What did "The Mule" offer that those two films didn't? This is a surprising and intriguing comment!
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Matt
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« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2018, 01:46:42 PM »

I just liked it better. I'm one of the few around here who didn't really enjoy either Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River all that much. Yeah, they were great films, but not really enjoyable.  I don't see what there isn't to like about The Mule. I don't have any negative criticisms of the film at all. It was just a really good story and the part was perfect for Clint. If you want to talk about overacting, maybe we should look at Mystic River. I can't say that Sean Penn's performance was a BIT better than Clint's here, and I don't see that being criticized. The Mule is a well-told story that's not rushed, and it doesn't move slowly either -- the pace is perfect. I just really enjoyed it, and came out of the theater feeling really good about what I just saw. I didn't feel that way after either Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River. They felt like maybe they were trying to win Oscars, but that impression of mine could be off. I don't feel The Mule tries so hard to manipulate our feelings or anything like that -- it was just great entertainment.
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AKA23
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« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2018, 02:13:55 PM »

Matt, I think the secret to you enjoying Eastwood's films is me seeing it first, then writing a million page essay telling you all the reasons that you'll hate the film. Then, you go to see it, and realize that I had no idea what I was talking about!  ;D
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exit00
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« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2018, 03:46:45 PM »

I liked The Mule better than both Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. I guess "absorbing and gripping" doesn't necessary translate to a film being more enjoyable to me. And I liked the tone of The Mule so much more. It's a great story without being a tear-jerker or extremely depressing.

For sure a movie that I would consider more dark and compelling like MDB and Mystic River doesn't necessarily mean that they are "better" or more enjoyable.... so subjective to each individual viewer.  But I do think that the trailer for The Mule led one to believe that it would more in tone like those two movies than what it was.  Having said that, I also certainly came away thinking that the Mule was such a good story and perfect for Clint and that the film was so well made in the direction, the cinematography, and the editing.  And I really liked Clint's performance in this movie.  I will be seeing it for a second time next week....
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 03:48:50 PM by exit00 » Logged
exit00
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« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2018, 05:11:29 PM »

It currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 64% (60% is the bare minimum for a Fresh rating), and Metacritic has it at 58, which indicates "mixed to average" reviews.

I see that The Mule graded an A- on Cinemascore.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 05:24:59 PM by exit00 » Logged
AKA23
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« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2018, 07:59:20 PM »

I don't 100% understand why people are saying that Earl Stone is racist. Why is that? A lot of the bad reviews are expressing that opinion, and I kind of wonder how these people would have received "The Mule" if they did not deem it to be a "racist" film. Earl Stone definitely makes some off color comments and some of them are racially tinged, but unlike Walt Kowalksi, there is absolutely no animosity there. They are used for effect and humor. I personally don't use racially tinged humor myself, but I'm not sure that doing so proves that someone is racist.
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exit00
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« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2018, 08:41:39 PM »

Yeah... today in this pc world it seems like people look for any little thing to stretch into something derogatory.  There is just no racist aspect to Earl Stone.  I always thought that Walt Kowalkski was like Archie Bunker... so ignorant when it came to stuff like race and religion resulting from how they were raised.  Gosh, even Harry Callahan said worst things than Stone.
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Matt
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« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2018, 09:42:41 PM »

It's a running joke how insulted everyone is about everything these days. You can't watch a video anywhere on the internet and not see a ridiculous argument take place about someone being insulted over either something in the video, or someone else's comment on the video. I mentioned in an earlier post that the un-PC moments are part of the film's charm -- because it isn't trying so hard not to offend, and it felt honest.

Earl is a lot like my father.  One of the funniest moments in the film is just his expression when he was asked if he could text "Text?" My father, and many from Clint's generation, distrust technology and resent our reliance on it.  So I think the comic moments that worked so well were because his character rang true to family members we love who are also from that generation. But it's also done with a wink and a nod. Clint knows it's un-PC and has fun with it -- as Exit recalled so well, Callahan did it exactly the same way "Especially 'spics."
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