Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clint Eastwood goes White Trash

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis, Sondra Locke, Beverly D'Angelo, Ruth Gordon, and John Quade
Director: James Fargo
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Committed white trash bachelor Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) was happy living in a shack behind his best friend's mother's house that he shared with the his pet orangutan Clyde and making a living driving trucks, fighting in no-rules, bare-knuckle fights arranged by his best friend Orville (Lewis), and occassionally refurbishing and selling motorbikes and cars. But then he met and fell in love with Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Locke), a young singer he sees perform in a bar. When she mysteriously vanishes one morning, Philo believes her crazy boyfriend forced her to go away, and he sets out in search ofher, with Clyde and Orville along for the ride and a group of angry bikers he picked a fight with in hot pursuit.

Unlike most other Clint Eastwood comedies, "Every Which Way But Loose" is actually funny. And, if one buys into the strange, slightly off-kilter lower working-class world it exists in--it's got a cute story that will keep you smiling and laughing as it unfolds. The filmmakers even manage to pull off a somewhat happy ending, something I was certain they would not be able to do. (It's obvious almost immediately that the girl Philo falls in love with is ust interested in taking him for whatever money she can get and that his quest to reunite with her will meet in heartbreak, and while it does do exactly that, the film still stays upbeat to the end.)

With fun performances from Clint Eastwood and Geoffrey Lewis, augmented by the hilarious live-action cartoon characters that make up the hapless Black Widow biker gang led by Cholla (a very funny John Quade) and his tatooed beer belly, and the toughest little old lady to ever pick up a shotgun, Ma Boggs (Ruth Gordon) this film is a sprawling, chaotic mess of bad jokes, fist-fights, Tarzan impersonations, and random bits of insanity. The only weak link in the film is Sondra Locke who isn't quite up to the nuanced performance her part calls for toward the film's ending.

If you can stand the many country western songs featured in this film, I think this is a film the entire family can enjoy together. The younger kids especially will get a kick out of Clyde the Orangutan.

You can read more reviews of Clint Eastwood movies at Watching the Detectives by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. Those apes freak me out, man....
    You never know when one of them might rip your friggin' face off. Never trust an ape!