Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
The good folks at AMC gave us a heads-up that they'll be showing Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning pugilist fable Million Dollar Baby for the first time on their channel on May 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. EST both nights.
To that end, we here at CC2K are holding an informal – a very, very informal – contest to mark the AMC premiere of Million Dollar Baby, but you kind of have to read the whole article to understand how to compete in the contest. Details will be revealed at the end.
Clint Eastwood, director, and the difficulty of finding relevant clips on YouTube
News about Eastwood's movie making a broadcast premiere got me to thinking about the directing career of the old horse. Eastwood's known for shooting very few takes and bringing in movies way under budget. This occasionally makes for jagged, flat filmmaking – does anyone here remember True Crime? Absolute Power? – but I like how it necessarily makes Eastwood's movies into great experiences for actors. For my money, film is by definition a director's medium, and it only becomes more so when a director starts doing a bunch of takes.
So I want to take us on a brief tour of a few of Eastwood's movies that culminates with Million Dollar Baby, but unfortunately, finding good clips from Eastwood movies online was more difficult than I anticipated. Read on!
When an Eastwood movie is working, I barely feel like I'm watching a movie. To wit, let's take a look at this great scene from Eastwood's other Best Picture winner, Unforgiven.
It's simple stuff. Two gunslingers talk by an old tree at the beginning and end of their careers – although I don't see the kid (Jaimz Woolvett) going on to much of a life as an outlaw. Eastwood, by contrast, is too numb from his years of violence to summon much beyond an admonition to drink. Eastwood wisely stays out of the way of the story in Unforgiven, and it serves his austere western well.
But what about old Eastwood? What was he like when he was cutting his teeth as a feature director?
Play Misty For Me
Let's go back to Play Misty For Me, ladies and gents, one of Eastwood's first directing gigs, and a nice little thriller that somehow warranted an oddly comprehensive Wikipedia entry. Favorite sentence: "Birdie [is Eastwood's] housekeeper, who suffers from the wrath of Evelyn. Birdie is injured after being stabbed many times."
Anyway, Eastwood has a bolder side to his direction, too, and while his more lurid instincts can lead to clunkers like Absolute Power or True Crime, it serves him well in Play Misty, which cleared the way for all the Fatal Attractions and Single White Females to come.
I couldn't find any scenes from Play Misty online, but I was able to find this corker of a trailer – a time capsule from 1971.
I tried to find a clip from Absolute Power online, but all I could find was this scene featuring Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert – dubbed into Spanish. Badly.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Eastwood fared better with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a movie that's about half good and half evil for me. I love the southern gothic first half and don't care for the murder mystery second half. I also tried to find a clip from this movie, but the best I could find at first was a crappy high-school film project to shoot scenes from John Berendt's original nonfiction book. Eventually I stumbled onto a fascinating, haunting clip related to the movie – this trip through a Savannah, Ga., graveyard:
Million Dollar Baby
I'll admit that Million Dollar Baby isn't my favorite Eastwood movie, but it was a good call for Eastwood to give himself an excuse to play the Burgess Meredith role from Rocky, and he found a good role for Hilary Swank. YouTube presented me with plenty of good clips, such as Swank's deathbed request to die:
But the eccentric clips far outnumbered the normal clips, and the huge number of music videos inspired by the movie surprised me. Eastwood's movie – despite its old-fashioned tone, leisurely storytelling and preponderance of old guys in leading roles – elicited a powerful reaction among the Gen-Y crowd, prompting scores of teenagers and twentysomethings to cobble together reverent montages, including this roundup of all the fights from the movie set to a crooning cover of Linkin Park's "Numb."
Eastwood was 74 when he made Million Dollar Baby, and he got that kind of response out of the Facebook crowd. That's not bad for an old-timer.
Million Dollar Baby hits the airwaves on AMC May 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. EST both nights. For more information, visit AMCTV.com.
OK, here's how the contest works
While looking back at Eastwood's career, I found myself constantly heading to YouTube to find examples of the good and bad of his works, and as you probably noticed, I had a hard time finding any decent clips of his work online.
So instead of finding decent clips of Eastwood's work, I was forced to use not-so-decent clips – and that's where the contest kicks in. We here at CC2K challenge you the readers to find the most ridiculous video online that involves footage from an Eastwood movie. You'll get bonus points for showing us a crazy video based on Million Dollar Baby.
There are no criteria for judgment other than the arbitrary tastes and whims of the CC2K central staff. That means if you make us laugh our asses off, you're more likely to win. If we get multiple submissions of the same video, we'll go with the entry that arrived first.
The top three videos will get a free DVD of Million Dollar Baby, courtesy of AMC. Oh, and we'll show the videos on the site, too. E-mail all entries to tony [at] cincity2000 [dot] com with the subject line "AMC MILLION DOLLAR BABY CONTEST."
Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.