While I have never admired Eastwood’s politics, his movies range from very good to brilliant. He may be the last of the great old-time movie makers.
In this HBO movie, the story is about aging and the decisions life asks of you in youth and later, in old age. Eastwood is old and shows it, though Garry wonders how much of his fragility (Eastwood just turned 91) is real aging and how much is Eastwood’s acting. My guess is that at his age, it’s both.
His main character — Mike Milo — was a cowhand and sometime rodeo rider who is still trying to figure out life. In one scene (this is as close to what he said as I can remember), “You think you know everything, but then you get older and you realize you don’t know anything. You get even older and by the time you figure it out, it’s too late.” That’s very close to our reality. Also, it’s true.
These days, I only know what I believe most deeply. Most everything else has disappeared as life has taught me other truths. Now I have opinions, sometimes firm, often less than solidly jelled. I know what I want to be true, what I wish were true — but most of the stuff I was sure of has been blown away by reality. I haven’t quite found what should replace those old ideas. Perhaps, they don’t need replacing. They were based on a truth I no longer believe. In the movie, I sensed that is exactly what he was talking about.
Eastwood is still discovering truth as he ages. Maybe that is what is wrong with so much of America. Everyone knows everything until what they believe turns out to be wrong. So many people never discover how much of what they believe is nonsense. An underlying message in the movie and in life is that learning and life are not separate. Learning is what keeps you you alive.
It’s nice someone is still making movies to which I can relate. Not only could I related to what Mike says, but I could remember being that kid. Probably the most unlikely aspect of the story is that the young man actually listens to Mike.
I liked the rooster, loved the horses, and I think the young man — Eduardo Minett — has a future. It was also wonderful to see Clint back on a horse. I especially loved the horseback riding lessons. Talk about memories!
“Get your heels down. Sit up straight. Look where you are going,” — also known as “steering your horse.”
When you are learning to ride, It’s easy to get so involved in the technical riding issues that you forget to steer your four-legged vehicle. It was also great to see that some things never change.
Although the story has shades of potential violence, actual violence never occurs. Somehow the two characters manage to dodge and weave their way around it and the worst result are some pissed off bad guys and a few aggravated Mexican Federales. No blood, gore, death, or brutality. The shadows linger, but they remain shadows.
It’s currently available on HBOMax and in the movies. If you are signed up with HBOMax, you should watch this one. We liked it. It is what Garry calls “a good little movie.” Little in the sense that it is a small cast, lots of beautiful cinematography, and thought-provoking. As a side note, I’ll watch anything with horses — with or without humans.
The reviews are mixed, but mostly good. This one, from (of all places) The Wall Street Journal is a good one to check out. Rolling Stone gave it an even better review. Considering the sources, that is a statement about how this movie speaks to all ages.
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