This week we put on our best "squinty stink-eye whisper-yelling shoot everyone in the face" faces and get ready for Clint Eastwood to make his first appearance on the show in the franchise-killing Dead Pool. Can Harry Calahan keep his gun in his pants for more than six lines of dialogue?
Regarding Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Benjamin Button Bones - Bones get stronger with age - 4/10
The Malpaso Company, which would eventually become Malpaso Productions, was started by Clint Eastwood’s financial adviser Irving Leonard in 1967. It was named after a creek that Eastwood grew up near in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It means bad step or bad crossing. Eastwood’s agent had warned him that it would be a “bad step” for his career to star in the Dollars Trilogy, thus Eastwood thought it would be the perfect name for the company financed by his share of the returns for said trilogy. In the commentary for the original Dirty Harry, Eastwood revealed that Warner let him have one of the small corner lots and that the only stipulation was that the second one of his movies that lost money would mean he was gone. The other end of the agreement was that he would be able to operate in said corner with virtually no oversight. Eventually some of his films would fail to break even at the box office, and though it would be hard to determine if any lost money, his penchant for bringing in a film on time and on budget, if not sooner and under, would keep him in the corner. Eventually that corner would be the staging ground for several masterpieces. The Dead Pool would not be one of them.
The original Dirty Harry was a sensation. I have continually stated that had it not been released the same year as The French Connection it would have probably hauled in Best Picture. The critical acclaim of the series deteriorated as it progressed. Though the fourth film, Sudden Impact was the top earner of the series it was lambasted in most reviews. An odd thing about Eastwood is how much he cares about what people think. Various elements of the series were added by fan mail suggestions and the harsh treatment by film critics tended to really bother him. The culmination of this is The Dead Pool. The film is so reactionary it kills a film critic at one point. The whole thing serves as a soap box for what Eastwood thinks about the mass media.
Though every Malpaso film is an Eastwood film, in many cases he defers heavy duties to long time collaborators. In this case the film is directed by his long time stunt man Buddy Van Horn and the writing duties are shared, but include Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, who don’t really write movies so much as they practice the pseudo-science of life extension. The result is a film that takes $37 million against a $31 million budget. The other films doubled or tripled their respective costs.
Liam Neeson had been around but this film represents the highest billing he had yet received and is most likely where his career begins to take off. Patricia Clarkson would eventually hit the big time winning the Saturn Award for The Green Mile and playing the lady that either does or doesn’t marry Frasier Crane in the series I gave up on well before that did or didn’t happen.
KAEOF: Jim Carrey, Guns & Roses and the introduction of karate to the franchise.