J. Edgar in theaters and the Best of Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar opens this Friday, and I can’t wait to see it. Leonardo DiCaprio’s remarkable talent shines through, and that’s just from watching the trailers. I’m up for anything directed by Clint Eastwood,– I plan on being there opening weekend and re-watching it as soon as it comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Not only is Eastwood one of film’s most memorable actors, he’s now one of the top film directors in Hollywood. What are your favorite Clint Eastwood-directed movies? Here are mine:

Gran Torino (2008) – This was directed by Clint Eastwood and marked his farewell to acting. I thought this was one of the Oscars’ most underrated films as far as Oscars go. It was my favorite film of 2008 — I thought Eastwood gave the performance of the year. If you saw the trailer at the theatre and backed off, I understand why, but you should give this film a chance as it does carry a very powerful story and some great performances. It is a must-see!

Unforgiven (1992) – This film earned Eastwood a Best Director Oscar and Best Picture Oscar, as well as a Best Actor nomination. Retired gunman William Munny decides to take on another job to earn money to support his family. After being retired so long and being sober, killing a man isn’t as easy as it use to be. Unlike glorified westerns with big showdown gunfights, this is a down and dirty western where even shooting someone in the back is OK. Its rough edges may not be for everyone, but it is a very good film indeed.

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) – Mr. Eastwood shot this one while filming Flags Of Our Fathers, also about Iwo Jima. Letters From Iwo Jima, told from a Japanese point of view, provides a very poignant story. You genuinely feel for General Kuribayashi, played by Ken Watanabee, as he realizes his efforts in defending the island are futile and then prepares to fight to the death. History buffs and movie fans alike will love this one.

Mystic River (2003) – This film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Director and Picture, and it won two: Sean Penn for Best Actor and Tim Robbins for Best Supporting Actor. Its great cast includes Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney. Mystic River is a riveting crime drama about three close friends dealing with the demons of the past as they investigate the murder of one of their daughters. The suspense factor is right up there with The Departed and Goodfellas, so you have to check this one out.

The Bridges of Madison County (1995) – Ok, many of you might say the movie was terrible, and the book was better, but you can’t tell me that this wasn’t a very moving film. Whether you kept picturing Robert Kinkaid as Dirty Harry or didn’t buy the chemistry between Streep and Eastwood, I still haven’t met anyone who wasn’t at least emotionally moved by the film. A good friend described it to me as the “the best movie about cheating there is.” This is worth a watch, especially with a bottle of wine and your better half!

I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface, since we’ve only talked about directing! Clint Eastwood has to be one of the biggest talents going, don’t you think? I truly love his work and can’t wait to see J. Edgar this weekend. What are some of your favorite Clint Eastwood films, either as a director or an actor?

Remember, no talking or texting during the feature presentation!

— Jim

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