I have for the most part never known a world where a Clint Eastwood film did not exist. I suppose I will have to face this world in the future but for now I am glad the man is still round. Clint started doing films in 1955 and if my math is right he has either acted, directed or produced 70 films. Of course the recent buzz was his decision to do American Sniper which has generated both heat and light on one the more controversial figures of recent American history. Clint is also no stranger to military films: Lafayette Escadrille, Where Eagles Dare, Kelly’s Heroes, Firefox, Heartbreak Ridge, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima just to hit the highlights. He has simple become one of those people in Hollywood that you just don’t go after because of his accomplishments list. He has become the new John Wayne in many respects on this for the conservative libertarian ideals.
That is why when Michael Moore had to say something bout Clint’s latest movie American Sniper, I had to be a little sickened. Michael Moore more suddenly becomes once again the moral of military issues for which he has no credibility. I did notice that he did not take on Clint directly because that would be Hollywood suicide so he had to simply call snipers cowards. That’s because Michael Moore is such a brave man to criticize the profession of a dead man who can’t respond to him back. I notice all of his brave accomplishments which have been for the most part to sit behind tall walls guarded by snipers and soldiers and sling criticism at them. I also notice that he is hypocritical as he has not taken on the cowardice of his president who uses drones to fire from long distances where he is perfectly safe to kill people he does not want to face directly and politically.
The real problem is that we have two filmmakers here that are a study in contrasts. One is highly successful and a powerful outspoken actor and filmmaker and the other one who produces political hack films the most successful of which can be debunked with a few things like facts and logic. In large part Michael Moore’s filmmaking is like the snipers he says are cowards. He takes shots from long distances but keeps himself hidden behind liberal walls far from the danger of scrutiny. Perhaps the cowardice he sees in snipers reminds him of himself.
Clint Eastwood has by contrast supported the other side for most of his life. More specifically he has supported with his life’s work the ideas of freedom and America’s finer moments. He has done everything from westerns, war movies to cops as well as other stuff with one central idea – ‘let people be what they want to be and leave them alone’. He has faced his critics with that disarming smile of his and kept going. It is that rugged libertarian ideal that still appeals, where Michael Moore can only offer us a world where he tells us what we all should believe and what we should do.
Sorry, I will take Clint Eastwood. It’s like comparing gold to excrement really.