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)".
"I am concerned about violence in film," said the star of some of the most violent films ever made. "In '92, when I did Unforgiven, which is a film that [was] very anti-violence and anti-gun play, I remember that Gene Hackman was concerned about it, and we both discussed the issue of too much violence in films. It's escalated 90 times since Dirty Harry and those films were made."
"I've always supported a certain amount of gun control," said the man who made the .44 Magnum famous. "I think it's very important that guns don't get in the wrong hands; It's very important to keep them out of the hands of felons or anyone who might be crazy with it."
In other news, "I am sick and tired of hearing about Jesus," said the Pope. "Everywhere I go these days, it's Jesus this and Jesus that. I would be a happy man if I could go for five damned minutes without having to listen to somebody yakking on about Jesus."
A vegan, for crying out loud! Being an anti-gun nut is one thing, but come on! How can a registered Republican who loves Ronald Reagan-and who's played more cowboys than Reagan ever did-possibly be a vegan? Cows are made of meat, for God's sake!
Look, veganism is supposed to be for hippies like Moby, Woody Harrelson and the guy he killed in Dirty Harry. It's supposed to be for airheads like Avril Lavigne, who once told a Calgary newspaper that she eats vegan and does yoga daily because she's "totally spiritual." Would the Outlaw Josey Wales ever tell a Calgary newspaper that he was totally spiritual?
And what kind of name is "Josey" for an outlaw, while we're at it? It's a great name for the lead singer of the Pussycats, sure, but not for an outlaw. Play dudes with manlier names and eat a steak, Clint!
This one doesn't sound so bad at first. Carmel-by-the-Sea may be a town with a silly name and a population of only 4,000 people, but few of us will ever get to be the mayor of that town, let alone any other. Eastwood was elected to the position in 1986 with an impressive 72.5% of the vote. That's only 2,900 people, of course, but it's not like that many people ever voted for you, unless you once ran for student council or something.
The problem is that once you've been a cowboy, being the mayor of a small town is bound to look wimpy and dull by comparison. In the movies, helping out a town like San Miguel is as easy as killing everybody in sight. In real life, on the other hand, Eastwood got so tired of having to do so much paperwork that he decided not to seek a second term. Nobody wants to see a movie about a job like that, unless the deputy mayor is played by some kind of monkey.
Adding insult to injury, Eastwood's paycheck for running the whole damned town was a measly $200 a month. Any government job is bound to seem boring compared to A Fistful of Dollars, but they didn't have to rub it in by making that figure his salary.
We all know that Clint Eastwood is old, but the fact that he's fully 77 years old is pretty alarming. After all, the current life expectancy of an American male is only seventy-five years. Clint's living on borrowed time, statistically speaking, and it's hard to play the tough guy when people know you could drop dead at any moment.
Obviously, we don't wish Eastwood any harm, and we hope he keeps on living for years to come. If a guy like Bob Hope can cheat death for an entire century, then frankly, we don't see why Clint Eastwood should have to die at all. But he will die, just like the rest of us, only much sooner.
He's beaten the odds as it is, and he should be proud of that. If Clint were to die tomorrow - and again, he very well might - then he would die knowing that he had accomplished more in his long and happy life than most of us ever will. (And lucky for us, he won't be able to pay Hilary Swank to punch us for writing this article.) But that doesn't change the fact that a man known for asking punks if they feel lucky is now more likely to ask himself the same question every time he gets out of bed or goes to the bathroom.