28 January 2019

Coasting Along

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It's not that I don't love Clint Eastwood but I had pretty low expectations when going to see his latest film The Mule. I mean, obviously he's made some stone-cold classics with Unforgiven being one of the greatest films of all time. But Eastwood waited a decade to make that film because he wanted to be the old man that the character he was playing was. And that's exactly what he was in that film. An old broken man. That was also almost thirty fucking years ago and somehow the old prick is still going strong. Well, I say strong... Some of his more recent films have been like when an old person tells a story that seems to last forever and you just wish for a plane crash to improve them. Although in the case of Sully: Miracle On The Hudson even the plane crash didn't help. Grandpa Simpson tells those exact kinds of boring stories and we let him off because we understand that he's doing it because he's old. Grandpa Simpson is 83 years old which, as I write this, is actually five fucking years younger than Eastwood himself.

When Eastwood made his film Gran Torino he announced that it would be his last film on screen and considering how that movie ended and how old he was at the time it seemed like a nice way to go out. Let's not forget that Eastwood was also a politician though, and so ever the man of his word we have him both on screen and behind the camera again in this years The Mule. This film tells the true story of an old man that became a drugs mule for the cartel after his finances had reached rock bottom. Although in real life the character was actually 90 years old and so with Eastwood being 88 I guess this is just another example of Hollywood's obsession with casting younger men. At the same time as the old man drives the drugs from A to B, the police appear to be investigating who he might be but without much luck. You might expect this to be a really hardcore thriller in which you can physically feel the net tighten as they improve and get closer and closer to catching him. Maybe the first half of The Mule would have the tension of Sicario with the conclusion being more like Goodfellas as the paranoia of the main character begins to set in. In which case you'd be wrong. If I'm being honest I think this movie was an advert for a pretty fucking decent retirement plan. 

Right now I'm not paying into any pension, my retirement age is currently about 128, and I reckon I'm going to spend a good few years in court when my Dad dies and his bitch wife attempts to contest his will. In The Mule, we see that one of the many traits that Eastwood's character has that makes him perfect for the job is that he's just too old to give a fuck any more. I mean the fucker is meant to be 90. If the police arrest him then how long is he really going to spend in prison? If the cartel decides to shoot him in the head then how many years of life have they realistically deprived him of? If Breaking Bad is anything to go by then I guess there's a risk of the cartel torturing him and that wouldn't be fun. But again the fucker is really goddamn old. The second that they plug in the bone-saw to start hacking him to pieces then he'd likely have a heart attack from the sound of it alone and end up dying peacefully in his fucking sleep. In the meantime, he's got an easy job of simply driving back and forth and he's making more money per trip than the rest of us will likely make in a fucking year. For the first time in my life I'm suddenly praying that the Government doesn't legalise drugs any time soon. 

I mean I guess it should be a criticism of the movie that there was basically no tension throughout any of it. Well, I say no tension.. there was one scene in which the character is meeting the head of the cartel who is over the moon with how well his new driver is doing. As a reward, he sends Eastwood's character into a room with what looks like two practically naked glamour models who straddle him on the bed as he begins to strip off. There was technically no danger to the character himself at this point and it was played as a comedy moment. But as the two women got on top and began to kiss him I bet the insurance company for this film were checking Eastwood's age and fucking panicking. Seeing a man at that point in his life have those women on top of him was literally as tense as watching Tom Cruise jump out of a fucking plane whilst knowing it was real. You could argue that the lack of judgement on the way that these women are so completely objectified is a problem with the film and I'd completely agree with you. But I can't deny that it did add some much-needed suspense as I wondered if this might technically count as a suicide attempt on the part of Eastwood.

However, despite my initially low expectations, or perhaps because of them, I have to admit that I did really enjoy The Mule and not just because of the much-needed career advice it provided me. It's a gentle wank of a movie in that it's nothing to get excited about but there are worse ways to relax after a hard week. Plus after two solid hours of watching this, there's less of a chance that my dick will be swollen and sore the next day too. Eastwood had said that Gran Torino would be his last acting role however he'd already fucked that up by appearing in the already-forgotten Trouble With The Curve. Had he then died then he wouldn't have ended his on-screen career as slowly as Sean Connery or Gene Hackman have with The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Welcome To Mooseport. But I'm glad he's now made The Mule as watching him do his thing for possibly the last time is really worth the price of the ticket alone. In honesty, it took me a couple of minutes to even realise I was watching Clint Eastwood as he genuinely now looks like somebody has made Marvel's Groot out of their ballsack skin. But if you need an old actor who can do grumpy and harmlessly racist in his sleep then who better to do it than Eastwood himself?

And when I say harmlessly racist I mean that I had no fucking clue what the politics of this film were. He'd use a pretty offensive term to refer to a black person but then they'd give him a 'he's just a silly old timer' look to which he'd smile and give them a 'political correctness is silly' look in return. As a result of this, I literally Googled Eastwood's own political views for help and discovered that in real life he really is the person that he plays on screen. He's a liberal that believes in equality and freedom for all but he's also a miserable old fuck that grew up using the wrong terms and doesn't understand why he can't still use them. In which case The Mule isn't a million miles from everything else he's done in that it's about an old man being forced to take the law into his own hands. It's just that in this case it's about a person trying to make a bit of money before they die and not a cowboy that intends to shoot the living shit out of everybody for once having wronged him. It's not a subtle film but like the main character with his car full of drugs, it really does coast by quite well. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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