Trouble With The CurveReleased on September 21, 2012 1 comment
Once a year or so, the legendary Clint Eastwood trots himself out so we can all revel in the fact that he’s still around. This has a positive effect on all generations, as the steely-eyed one has been doing his thing for some 60 years.
No one, even hard-ass jerks like us, can begrudge the man his status. But we will admit that besides a few notable exceptions, we feel he’s been jogging downhill ever since the original Dirty Harry.
Eastwood the actor almost always shows up as an outsider, repressed to a crippling degree but also professionally competent and effective at whatever he does, and a mile ahead of the nebs he’s forced to take orders from. It’s a comfortable persona and one that years ago transformed him into Hollywood’s Gold Standard. The brilliance lies in his lack of pretention. Much like Michael Landon with his sappy but popular shows of the 70’s and 80’s, Eastwood never asks his audience to take complex journeys, knowing what is expected without the silliness of focus groups.
Clint the Director is somewhat a different cat, definitely a slight variation from his thespian roots, but not so much that anyone would really notice. His movies, behind or in front of the lens, rarely stray from a linear, one-dimensional tell. He’s usually not interested in what’s at play in the minds of his protags, especially if it gets in the way of straightforward narrative. Once again, we can easily fault him for a lack of technique, nuance or originality, but we applaud his desire to tell a story without self-conscious meandering. (PT Anderson take note.) He has, on occassion, strayed into attempts to tamp down in his true nature and “art-up” his presentation. Most of these, like the lamentable “J. Edgar,” have been big misses.
(There’s also his latest snafu, that of the Convention Chair Whisperer. We have no desire to add to this discussion, preferring to leave it to the fat-asses on both sides that make their living screaming behind fake wooden desks.)
We also have no desire to see “Trouble With The Curve.”
The success of last year’s “Moneyball” made this one inevitable, so we get another behind-the-scenes baseball man trying to connect with his daughter. Clint growls his way through the dialogue, as he has now for several years. Gotta hope at some point he’ll tell the entire 25-man Roster of the Atlanta Braves to “Get Off My Lawn.”
Sorry, couldn’t help it. He’s the same guy as the old racist in “Grand Torino.” (Same makeup and wardrobe, too.)
Justin Timberlake is around to offset geezer appeal, though it’s Amy Adams who gets the majority of screen minutes as miffed daughter to Eastwood’s crotchety Scout. Adams is only the latest to ride this money train. Clint’s latest paint-by-numbers sibling is his usual snoozer mash of look-at-me angst and unappealing pushiness. It’s strange that despite his dogged reluctance to dive into the deep end when it comes to investigating familial dynamics, Eastwood’s filmography is brimming with reels about essentially the same guy: A difficult father who’s also a lousy parent. (Likely the result of the strained relationship with his own pops.)
In real life, the former man with no name has several children with several different women, so he should have more insight than most. If so, we wish he’d let it out of the bag a little more often, and get away from playing it so safe.