The Sun Has Set in the Eastwood

After seeing Trouble with the Curve, at best a two star movie, with the Amy Adams performance the finest in the film, I think it is safe to say that there will be no Best Actor Oscar nomination for eighty two year old Clint Eastwood this year. It is simply not a very good film, and Eastwood’s performance, though entertaining is of the “been there, done that” school, the same sort of cranky old bird we saw in Gran Torino (2008). Now the first time we saw Eastwood in this mode it was interesting, and I quite liked his work in Gran Torino (2008) but to see him do almost exactly the same thing in this film was tiresome and more than a little disappointing. Any chance, any talk of an Oscar nod for Eastwood will stop within the week, if it has not already ceased.

I think if there had been any sort of acting nomination for Eastwood forthcoming it would have been because of the Academy’s good graces and the fact Eastwood is beloved within the industry, though I suspect a little less since his appearance in the political arena. His best work on screen as an actor remains Will Munney in Unforgiven (1992) in which he was simply superb, winning the LA Film Critics Award for Best Actor and an Oscar nomination. He was nominated again twelve years later for Million Dollar Baby (2004) another powerful piece of acting, but The Trouble with the Curve performance is simply not in the same league. In fact it is safe to say it is not even among his best work throughout his career.

Eastwood snarls with the best of them, and has been doing it better than most since Heartbreak Ridge (1986) but I think we need more than that for a nomination these days (I hope so!).  In Trouble with the Curve, he is a fading baseball scout angered that his sight is going, his body is failing him and the team wants him gone, pissed off at life in general. Sadly he chooses to play Gus in almost the same vein as Walt Kowalski, the racist tough guy in Gran Torino (2008), insulting and terrorizing everyone in his wake.  It’s fun to watch for a while, yet finally redundant. The reviews are the sort that describes the film as “a home run” or “warmly lovely” and I suppose some people may think that. I expected a lot more given the fine cast. No Oscar this time, and frankly the field is pretty crowded. If a nomination for Eastwood, clearly a sentimental gesture, were to bump the work of Joaquin Phoenix or Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, John Hawkes in The Sessions, Jean-Louis Trintignant in Amour, or the upcoming work of perhaps Hugh Jackman, Daniel Day-Lewis, or Jamie Foxx there would be howls of protest…beginning with me.