Okay, so the reviews are in, and it turns out I'm not alone in thinking that Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" -- the 84-year-old actor-director-producer's 33rd effort behind the camera -- is a bit of a dud. Worse still, it's not the only recent misfire for the four-time Oscar winner frequently referred by critics as the last true classicist in American cinema. "J. Edgar," "Hereafter," "Invictus" and "Changeling" all met with varying degrees of opposition, though his defenders stand firm. "Has any working director had more wobbly movies defended by auteurist critics than Clint Eastwood?" tweeted Mark Harris recently.
This iffy run of form, however, follows a recent purple patch during which Eastwood could seemingly do no wrong, as he racked up three Best Picture nominees in the space of four years (effectively erasing the less ecstatically received film that served as the precursor to the third of those). Eastwood's directorial career has always moved in fits and starts, which is what makes him interesting to study: his filmography is a blend of polished prestige pictures, more idiosyncratic personal projects and unapologetic multiplex trash, linked only by his dogged commitment to an "on time and under budget" credo.
With that range, no one's selection of favorite Eastwood-directed films is likely to look quite the same as anyone else's, so I thought he'd make an interesting subject for a top 10 list. I count myself neither as an ardent Eastwood advocate, nor a consistent detractor, but he's made a number of films that stick quite obstinately in my mind -- and not always the ones you'd expect on first viewing.
Check out my list below and share your own favorites in the comments -- hey, perhaps there'll even be a few "Jersey Boys" fans among you,
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
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