Hollywood has given us dozens of tough-as-nails, unshaven badasses over the years. They play by their own rules and could even be regarded by fat, cigar-chomping police chiefs as "loose cannons." But few of these cannons, let's be honest, were ever as crazy balls-tough as Clint Eastwood. On-screen, he defined rugged masculinity as Dirty Harry, the cop who ate a sandwich while shooting seven people, then intimidated the eighth until he peed himself; as the Man With No Name, a poncho-wearing, cigarillo-smoking tough guy whose turn-ons include killing, not saying anything, and riding into town killing everyone; and as the Outlaw Josey Wales, a poncho-wearing, cigarillo-smoking tough guy who, unlike the Man With No Name, talked plenty-usually about shooting dudes, and usually just before doing so. Off-screen, Eastwood has served in the army, fathered seven children, voted Republican, and even threatened to kill Michael Moore. Seriously: This guy's a badass, right?
But even the toughest cowboy has a wimpy side. And Cracked.com will unveil that wimpiness—willfully taking on the risk of Eastwood's reading this article and coming to blow our heads off. Go ahead and make our day... by reading on! (Okay, we apologize for that. That was uncalled for.)
We're opening up with a cheap shot here, and we know it. Going after Clint Eastwood's manhood by pointing out that he's from San Francisco-a town known to many as the gayest place on Earth-is lazy and immature. We all know there's nothing wrong with being gay, and that being from San Francisco doesn't make you gay (it just makes you a trendy, Earth-hugging piece of shit). So we're not going to go for a cheap laugh by suggesting that Eastwood himself is gay, because a) he's not, and b) he's probably got a whole team of lawyers who can shoot crippling lawsuits from their eyes.
That being said, the words "tough-as-nails cowboy" and "from San Francisco" don't exactly go together. You can throw awards and praise at Brokeback Mountain until the gay cowboys come home, but that doesn't change the fact that San Francisco is known as the birthplace of the San Francisco treat, not ultra-tough Western heroes. When you think of San Francisco, do you think about big, burly macho men in leather chaps and spurs? OK, bad example.
Actors have to keep challenging themselves in order to stay relevant. Eastwood never would have achieved true greatness if all he ever did was shoot bad guys in cold blood. But there's branching out, and then there's starring in a film so notoriously girly and sensitive that even Oprah probably wondered when he was going to cut the crap and kill some banditos.
Not only did he star in it, but he also directed and produced it. Short of renaming it The Clints of Eastwood County and replacing Meryl Streep with himself in a sundress, he couldn't have been more involved in the making of this film. "So Nolte thinks he can star in The Prince of Tides, huh?" we can picture him thinking. "Hell, I'll show him who's a badass by getting as many fingerprints on this touching love story as possible!"
The fact that it actually worked, making Eastwood an even bigger star in the process, is probably what propelled Nick Nolte down a path of wanton self-destruction. Indeed, maybe we ought to commend Eastwood for coming up with innovative new ways to destroy a man. Still, we don't think that gives him any right to strut around like he's suddenly too good to shoot Mexicans.
Bridges wasn't nearly the first film to compromise Eastwood's tough-guy image. Paint Your Wagon, released in 1969, was a musical featuring Eastwood and Lee Marvin as two gold miners competing for the affections of the same woman. Both actors did their own singing, and Marvin did his own drinking and take-ruining.
Every Which Way But Loose was a buddy picture that paired Eastwood with an orangutan. His advisors begged him not to do the film, assuming it would bomb, but it went on to gross $85 million and inspired a lucrative sequel. Eastwood laughed all the way to the bank, while the monkey got heavily into cocaine and wound up dying penniless in the Nevada desert.
Then there's Pink Cadillac, a film that only made the list because it's got a girly name. We've actually never seen it, to tell you the truth. Is it any good?
Not only can Eastwood sing, but he's also actually had quite a lengthy recording career. Back in the early '60s, Clint was desperate to branch out beyond the role of Rowdy Yates on TV's Rawhide, so he did what many emerging TV stars were doing at the time-he recorded a series of pop singles meant to test his teen appeal.
Not surprisingly, Eastwood wasn't a hit with the kids. A subsequent full-length record called Rawhide's Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites delivered exactly what its snappy title promised, in spite of the fact that nobody seemed to have asked for it. Even the record company seemed reluctant to look too excited about the record, judging by the quotation marks around words like "natural," "great" and "entertainment" in the promotional copy.
Thankfully, Clint's musical career hit its stride in later years, when he began composing music for his films. This latter body of work includes the scores of hits like Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, as well as the timeless classic "Nolte's a Woman (Love Theme from The Bridges of Madison County)".