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Author Topic: Films Clint Eastwood has directed but not starred in  (Read 15809 times)
Jed Cooper
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« on: September 12, 2012, 08:13:17 AM »






Yes!  It's me!....And yes!  I did just create this very topic!  ;)

I’ve been a fan of Clint Eastwood’s films for a little over 30 years.  Coming across the Leone westerns and Dirty Harry movies on television over the winter of ‘81/’82 is what did it for me.  I was hooked.  I remember reading in an interview he gave to publicize his next movie at the time, Firefox, that he was considering acting less and directing more.  I wasn’t happy to hear that.  I was looking forward to see more of Eastwood on the big screen even though I’d come away seriously disappointed in Firefox.  Luckily, he’d go on to many starring roles since then and for that, as a fan, I am grateful.  I’ve been let down many a time but the better films have more than made up for the bad ones. 

Many know I’m not a fan of the films Eastwood directs but does not star in.  I still don’t consider them to be a true Clint Eastwood movie.  Not me.  Still, as this site is dedicated to him and his movies I thought I’d start a topic dedicated to them, weigh in with my opinion and see what others have to say on the matter. 

The only movie Eastwood has directed that I truly enjoy so far is Mystic River.  It’s the one film out them all that I would watch again.  What’s sweet about it is that it was filmed in Boston, not far from where I live and it won some Academy Awards.   

From Wikipedia:
Quote
The film opened to widespread critical acclaim. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Sean Penn won Best Actor and Tim Robbins won Best Supporting Actor, making Mystic River the first film to win both awards since Ben-Hur in 1959.

The only others I would consider returning to are J. Edgar and Changeling.  They fell short of my expectations but were still somewhat likeable.  I’ve read a lot of these novels as well.  The most enjoyable was Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil.  For the most part, these films are very well made.  The production, direction, cinematography and acting come across fine.

So, why have I created this topic when I've been so vocal in the past as to my dislike and disappointment of most these films?  I am curious to know more about what other members/moderators have to say on the topic, be it just one or a few of these films or all of them.  I hope you've found this initial post interesting and look forward to read other opinions and whatever interaction may come thereafter.   

  1. Breezy (1973)
  2. Bird (1988)
  3. Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997)
  4. Mystic River (2003)
  5. Flags Of Our Fathers (2006)
  6. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
  7. Changeling (2008)
  8. Invictus (2009)
  9. Hereafter (2010)
10. J. Edgar (2011)
11. Jersey Boys (2014)


I decided to just list them chronologically, without any ratings.  If you're at all curious, this information is available here:  Coop's Eastwood Movie Reviews



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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 09:27:57 AM »

Very interesting topic Jed. O0 Was it really you who started this? :o :D ;D
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 10:53:38 AM »

Very interesting topic Jed. O0 Was it really you who started this? :o :D ;D

Thanks, TWOMULES.  Yup, and not under any duress, either.  ;)
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AKA23
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 11:49:50 AM »

This is a great topic, Jed. Of the films Eastwood has only directed, I think the best would have to be "Mystic River" and "Letters from Iwo Jima." From your review, I know that you didn't like "Letters," but from a filmmaking perspective, it's quite an achievement. "Changeling" is also a pretty good film. It has been years since I've seen "Bird," so I can't really comment on that one, but I think the rest of his director-only films have been fairly forgettable. Of his recent director-only films, I thought "J. Edgar" was the best, but I still would have much preferred Eastwood doing something else. Especially at this stage of his career, when it is likely he has only a few films left to make, I would much prefer Eastwood directing fictional, original stories. Eastwood's direction is always great, but he sometimes picks pretty weak scripts, and because he usually shoots first drafts, he often makes very little changes to them. I think the failure of "Hereafter," "Invictus," and "J. Edgar" were mostly due to the scripts just not being very good. They either tried to do far too much, which was the case for "Invictus" and "J. Edgar," or they were unfocused, disjointed, and didn't really say much that was worthwhile, which was the case with "Hereafter." I also feel as if Eastwood often does much better when he is involved with small, character driven stories, rather than sprawling, ambitious epics. "Gran Torino" was a much better film than "Changeling," and "Letters from Iwo Jima" is a far better film than "Flags of Our Fathers." Eastwood as a director is impressive, but I can't help but not feel as driven to watch a film he only directs, and I wish that he was a bit more judicious in his choice of material for these films.
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 12:10:08 PM »

Thanks, TWOMULES.  Yup, and not under any duress, either.  ;)

You're Welcome, Jed. :)

I don't like Mystic River because of the story. I am a father to two children and the topic of this film is a parent's worst nightmare. :(
I think Letters from Iwo Jima is probably the best one for me because I can watch this over and over which means it must be a great film. I also like Hereafter because it feel like a British movie and I love London.
Breezy is also a good movie and it's great to see Clint in this one for a few seconds. :)
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 02:43:15 PM »

I like Eastwood`s"only directed by"films also but lately those films has not been that good.They`re at best mediocre.
Especially dissappointed I was with J.Edgar, Hereafter and Flags Of Our Fathers .
But for some reason I liked Invictus and Changeling even though they`re also far from being Eastwood`s best.Still they won`t find their way on my DVD-player that often.

Breezy and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil are entertaining if the latter is a bit too long.Bird I know is great film but it`s the subject that I don`t find that appealing and it`s just too slow for me.

So out of his"only directed"films I really like and think they`re great are Mystic River and Letters From Iwo Jima .Both film are just excellent in so many level.

So I also prefer the films that are starred by Clint Eastwood more than (only)directed by him.
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 08:40:42 PM »

Possibly of interest: We've had two polls on this board where people could vote on their favorite "Directed only" film:

Favorite Eastwood directed-only film (2004) (Four films to this point)

Favorite Eastwood Directed-Only Film (2007) (Six films to this point, later updated to include two more)

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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012, 03:41:25 PM »

...I’ve been a fan of Clint Eastwood’s films for a little over 30 years.  Coming across the Leone westerns and Dirty Harry movies on television over the winter of ‘81/’82 ...

What's depressing about this post is that realizing 1981/2 was 30 yrs ago already...
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Christopher
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2012, 03:47:20 PM »

What's depressing about this post is that realizing 1981/2 was 30 yrs ago already...
You can say that again! ;) :D

And once again I was surprised to see that I'd started the 2004 poll!
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 03:25:21 AM »

This is a great topic, Jed. Of the films Eastwood has only directed, I think the best would have to be "Mystic River" and "Letters from Iwo Jima." From your review, I know that you didn't like "Letters," but from a filmmaking perspective, it's quite an achievement. "Changeling" is also a pretty good film. It has been years since I've seen "Bird," so I can't really comment on that one, but I think the rest of his director-only films have been fairly forgettable. Of his recent director-only films, I thought "J. Edgar" was the best, but I still would have much preferred Eastwood doing something else. Especially at this stage of his career, when it is likely he has only a few films left to make, I would much prefer Eastwood directing fictional, original stories. Eastwood's direction is always great, but he sometimes picks pretty weak scripts, and because he usually shoots first drafts, he often makes very little changes to them. I think the failure of "Hereafter," "Invictus," and "J. Edgar" were mostly due to the scripts just not being very good. They either tried to do far too much, which was the case for "Invictus" and "J. Edgar," or they were unfocused, disjointed, and didn't really say much that was worthwhile, which was the case with "Hereafter." I also feel as if Eastwood often does much better when he is involved with small, character driven stories, rather than sprawling, ambitious epics. "Gran Torino" was a much better film than "Changeling," and "Letters from Iwo Jima" is a far better film than "Flags of Our Fathers." Eastwood as a director is impressive, but I can't help but not feel as driven to watch a film he only directs, and I wish that he was a bit more judicious in his choice of material for these films.

Thank you, AKA23.  One of these days I'll watch "Letters" again.  Like "Flags", I wasn't all that impressed with this film but out of all of these, I'm curious to see it again to see if my opinion changes.  I know a lot of members here do enjoy that movie.  Keeping an opened mind, perhaps I'll come away with something more the next time around.  This happened with one of his starring roles I was very disappointed with upon first seeing it, Pale Rider.  Many years later, after reading a lot of positive comments here from other members I decided to watch it again, keeping those comments in mind.  It's still not a favorite but after that viewing I came away enjoying the overall production and especially the cinematography for the first time.  So, who knows what'll happen with "Letters"? 

I'm in agreement with you about J. Edgar being the best of his recent director-only efforts.  I've only seen it once, on the big screen.  I don't know when, but sometime, possibly in the near future, I'll give it another viewing.  Upon reflection, what I came away with was that the direction was good and I thought DiCaprio did well in the title role.  Still, it seems something was missing but overall not a bad movie.

Thanks for weighing in, AKA23, I enjoyed reading your comments.  :)
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 03:32:29 AM »

I like Eastwood`s"only directed by"films also but lately those films has not been that good.They`re at best mediocre.
Especially dissappointed I was with J.Edgar, Hereafter and Flags Of Our Fathers .
But for some reason I liked Invictus and Changeling even though they`re also far from being Eastwood`s best.Still they won`t find their way on my DVD-player that often.

Breezy and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil are entertaining if the latter is a bit too long.Bird I know is great film but it`s the subject that I don`t find that appealing and it`s just too slow for me.

So out of his"only directed"films I really like and think they`re great are Mystic River and Letters From Iwo Jima .Both film are just excellent in so many level.

So I also prefer the films that are starred by Clint Eastwood more than (only)directed by him.

Hey, Hemlock, thanks for posting.  Well, I've been fairly vocal elsewhere on this forum about how disappointed I was in Hereafter so I agree with you there.  Like DiCaprio in J. Edgar, I did enjoy Morgan Freeman's performance in Invictus but still came away disappointed from that film.  I will say this, though, that the direction was good and the movie was well made.  Sounds contradictory, but it's really not.

I agree that "Midnight" is too long.  Otherwise, the performances were very good.  The film, to me, has an overall quirkiness to it that also translated well in the novel.  I can't pinpoint it, but there just seemed to be something lacking for it to be very good.  Then again, perhaps the length is the very problem.

Thanks again for your thoughts, Hemlock.  The more positive comments I read about "Letters", the more I want to see it again.  O0
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 03:33:13 AM »

Possibly of interest: We've had two polls on this board where people could vote on their favorite "Directed only" film:

Favorite Eastwood directed-only film (2004) (Four films to this point)

Favorite Eastwood Directed-Only Film (2007) (Six films to this point, later updated to include two more)


I do believe it's time for an updated poll...  ???
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 03:34:15 AM »

What's depressing about this post is that realizing 1981/2 was 30 yrs ago already...

Time flies!  :D

Yup, I remember that summer going to see Firefox with much anticipation.  ...And Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan with much trepidation after their first movie had been so long...and boring...and dull!  Man!  How many crew reaction shots to the cloud did they really need in that film, anyway?!  

In the summer of '82 I had these movie posters hanging in my room.




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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 03:48:52 AM »

You can say that again! ;) :D

And once again I was surprised to see that I'd started the 2004 poll!

Maybe it's best not to say it again...  :D

Hey, Christopher, any chance on an updated poll?  If so, could you please provide a link here?  That would be great.
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 09:06:49 AM »

I'm really surprised that this topic hadn't been discussed before as it's such a good idea for discussion.

I have to say that for me, every film that Clint has directed but not starred in has been good and worth seeing.  I'm of the same opinion as others that Mystic River and Letters from Iwo Jima were really great films and deserved all the Oscar nominations/wins that they got.  Mystic River might be the best  film that Clint has ever done just in terms of his directing.

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I really liked both Hereafter and Changeling.  The subject matters were tough but I thought both were very well done and emotionally haunting.  I was thinking about these films long after leaving the theater.

If I had to pick my least favorite from among this group, it's probably Flag of our Fathers.  While the invasion scenes were truly magnificent, I felt something was missing from this movie and I couldn't really get into any of the characters that much.
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2012, 09:24:16 AM »

I'm really surprised that this topic hadn't been discussed before as it's such a good idea for discussion.

I have to say that for me, every film that Clint has directed but not starred in has been good and worth seeing.  I'm of the same opinion as others that Mystic River and Letter from Iwo Jima were really great films and deserved all the Oscar nominations/wins that they got.  Mystic River might be the best  film that Clint has ever done just in terms of his directing.

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I really liked both Hereafter and Changeling.  The subject matters were tough but I thought both were very well done and emotionally haunting.  I was thinking about these films long after leaving the theater.

If I had to pick my least favorite from among this group, it's probably Flag of our Fathers.  While the invasion scenes were truly magnificent, I felt something was missing from this movie and I couldn't really get into any of the characters that much.

Hi exit00.  I think you hit the nail on the head with your description of "emotionally haunting" for Changeling.  My wife felt very uncomfortable as we were new parents with our son Nicholas at the time we saw it.  She told me she came close to leaving the theater.  I guess I could say the same for the beginning of Hereafter but my judgement is clouded in that I'm not a fan of that film at all.  I know somewhere down the road I'll give it another chance but first thing's first: Trouble With The Curve!  O0

Thanks for posting your thoughts.  
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Christopher
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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2012, 10:00:11 AM »

I remember making the statement that Gran Torino wasn't even my favorite Eastwood movie from 2008... I like Changeling quite a bit. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I watched it again after having gotten the DVD, and I've always found it to be a really powerful movie.

I haven't watched Bird or Letters from Iwo Jima in ages, but I'm sure both are still great for me.
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2012, 10:21:42 AM »

I remember making the statement that Gran Torino wasn't even my favorite Eastwood movie from 2008... I like Changeling quite a bit. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I watched it again after having gotten the DVD, and I've always found it to be a really powerful movie.

I haven't watched Bird or Letters from Iwo Jima in ages, but I'm sure both are still great for me.

Very interesting, Christopher.  It's always interesting to read others people's opinions on the ones I don't like.  Bird is one of them, probably because I felt it was a little too long.  The storytelling came across as sporadic, much like Flags Of Our Fathers.  If that was the intent then for me it wasn't effective and the reason I came away disliking it.   
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2012, 08:10:17 AM »

I just created 2 other topics today.  I hope others here find them as enjoyable as I do.

Films Clint Eastwood directed & starred in       Films Clint Eastwood starred in but did not direct
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2012, 06:48:33 PM »

SPOILER ALERT FOR SOME OF THE REVIEWS!


1. Breezy (1973)

Breezy reminded me of a little TV romance movie of the week, with the age gap twist. There's nothing really memorable about the film but I'm not saying it's bad. I did find William Holden playing a 40 year old man a stretch as he was a little older than that when the film was made. Kay Lenz was fine as the flakey young hippie type girl.

3/5.

2. Bird (1988)

Bird is brilliant in capturing the tortured life of a musical genius and recreates the 40's and 50's well. At a little over 2 and a half hours it is a little long for me and one of the reasons I don't watch it more often. The real impact that I always get when I've seen this film is at the end when Charlie Parker dies and the doctor said he was 55 but is the corrected and is told Parker was only 34. All that talent gone through drugs and alcohol. What a shame.

3/5.


3. Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997)

I never been a big fan of this film. It never really grabs my attention and again at 2 and a half hours, just too long for me. The performances are fine and there are some quirky characters in this but everything but the murder trial is a bit of a distraction to me.

1/5.

4. Mystic River (2003)

I remember the first time I saw this in the cinema, I came out with knots in my stomach. The film was OK it was just the subject matter about Dave's past that really shocked me. The more I've watched it since that impact is still there but I watch it more as a murder mystery type film. The Dave's past angle hangs heavy over the whole film and the effect it has on not just him but the other characters as well. I never did quite get the Sean and his estranged wife phone calls sub plot though. Overall a great cast and good performances. Certainly one film that scenes come back to you days after seeing the film.

4/5.

5. Flags Of Our Fathers (2006)

The battle scenes are the highlight of this film. Some of the scenes you couldn't tell who was who and this shows the confusion of battle. Shot in a sort of grayscale colouring too was effective for me. Definitely much better seen on a big screen. The scene where Iggy's body is found is the perfect example of how a scene can be just as powerful when you don't see the gruesome scene. Less is sometimes so much better
4/5.


6. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

I rate this on a par with Flags of our Fathers. The camera work especially during the first air raid and bombing of the island was well done,with the steady cam camera it made you feel like you were part of the action and confusion. The acting was great, Ken Watanabe as Tadamichi Kuribayashi who knows the island will eventually fall as they won't be getting any naval support or extra supplies continues to lead his men heroically to certain death. Kazunari Ninomiya as Saigo was brilliant. I was pleased the he survived in the end but did he make it home to see his family? Clint leaves it up to us to decide. I'd like to think he did. Tsuyoshi Ihara as Baron Nishi was another standout from the supporting cast.

In all other WWII films all these characters would be the faceless enemy. You don't know anything about them but their just the same as any soldier on the battle field. Husbands, fathers, who before the war had jobs and families just like any of us. Even an Olympic champion who won a gold medal in Los Angeles in 1932.

Two minor issues: The construction of the tunnels. I would have like to have seen more of that. 18 miles of tunnels would have been a massive task and we don't really get to see much of that undertaking. Also the size of the japanese forces. 20,000 troops in those tunnels but in most shots we only see a dozen or so.

I remember after first seeing this the possibility of editing Flags of our Fathers and Letters together to produce one giant epic like it was done with the first two Godfather films. It probably will never happen but it would prove interesting.

4/5.

7. Changeling (2008)

The filmmakers certainly captured the late 1920's and early 30's to a tee. That's probably the best part of the film for me, from the very first scene of the shot of Los Angelas in 1928 with those great cars and the trams along the streets. In fact and I mentioned this back when I first saw the film that it may have looked even better had they shot it in black and white.

The story keeps me interested for the full 2hours +, It doesn't lag. All the performances were good. I did feel that Jeffrey Donovan's Irish accent seemed to get broader as the film went on but that's only a minor complaint and it didn't detract from his performance any. John Malkovich is solid as ever and seeing a little more of him giving such passionate speeches wouldn't have hurt any, he really gave his all in some scenes.

4/5.


8. Invictus (2009)

Morgan Freeman is very good as Nelson Mandela. Matt Damon is fine even though some people claim he's too short or doesn't look like Francois Pienaar to pull it off. That never bothered me. The world cup rugby games are captured well and even if you know how the film will end it still does get quite exciting. Overall an enjoyable film.

4/5.

9. Hereafter (2010)

This isn't a bad film but it isn't one I'll watch over and over again. I didn't think the three stories worked. I know they all tied in at the end at the book fair but I was never interested in the storyline with the french journalist Marie Lelay. I didn't buy her getting together with George at the end. The storyline with the twins was much better and I thought they could have done more with the George/Melanie plot. Even when George finds out about Melanie's dark secret from her past, I thought that might have brought the two characters closer and I was expecting him to run after her when she left his apartment and when she was crying at the bottom of the stairs, I was waiting for the camera to pan up and we'd see George there but nope, Melanie walks out and we never see her again in the film. I suppose that was George's curse. He had a great gift but as soon as he held Melanie's hands and was communicating with her dead father it was curtains on that relationship going anywhere.

3/5.


10. J. Edgar (2011)

I'm not a big fan of films that switch back and forth between different era's as this film does. One minute it's the late 60's, then it's the 20's/30's and then back again in a matter of minutes. That's probably my only quibble about this film. I liked the look of the film especially the 1920/30's scenes, just as I did for Changeling. The acting was fine by all. Disappointed the Kennedy's weren't shown more. It does show how Hoover built up the Bureau from the very beginning and how much power he held over people with all his files.

I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece or the best thing Clint has directed but it's not the worst either.

 4/5.
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