The Clint Eastwood Taxonomy: What Are His Best Films as a Director?

by Peter D. Marshall

by David Sims.


This weekend, Clint Eastwood‘s 33rd film Jersey Boys, will be released in theaters. He’s one of American cinema’s most prolific directors—those 33 films span just 43 years—he’s won a slew of awards, and he’s a constant fixture at film festivals like Cannes and Venice. Nonetheless, the buzz for Jersey Boys is pretty tepid, he hasn’t released a hit since 2008’s Gran Torino, and it feels like Eastwood’s stock has begun to fall after his status as a sure-fire Oscar contender as recently as the mid-’00s.

Eastwood’s directing career is a bizarre mish-mash of genre films, B-list popcorn material aimed at middle-aged audiences, serious and straightforward dramas, and sometimes genuinely adventurous material. He’s renowned for working quickly and not shooting many takes, which sometimes lends an unpolished feel to the performances in his films. Gran Torino used a lot of amateur actors and it showed; Peter Morgan, who wrote 2010’s Hereafter, said Eastwood picked up a script he wrote on spec and basically ran with it, without demanding many changes.

What follows is a rough breakdown of how to tackle his filmography—how to sort the genre fun from the genre schlock, and which of his less commercial projects should be tackled first.

Read the rest of this article from The Wire.

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