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Clint Eastwood continues to direct his way at 87

No matter your opinion on the directing career of Clint Eastwood, it’s impossible not to admire the pace he keeps. At 87 years old, he’s shown no sign of slowing down, essentially putting out a film every other year. It’s not the yearly pace of fellow octogenarian Woody Allen, but it’s not far off. With a new movie opening this week in The 15:17 to Paris, it seems only appropriate to talk about Eastwood a bit, specifically Eastwood the director. He’s an Oscar winner, after all, so even his newest seems like little more than popcorn entertainment, he’s certainly capable of more than one sort of movie.

His new film, obviously, is The 15:17 to Paris. Based on a true story, this is the long-is plot description that IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes has: “In the early evening of August 21, 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris–an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends’ lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.” The three men in question are Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone, who all play themselves here. That meta bit adds another layer on to what otherwise might be another action drama from Eastwood. Dorothy Blyskal wrote the screenplay, based on the book by Sadler, Skarlatos, Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern, while Eastwood directs. Professional actors in the cast include P.J. Byrne, Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, Tony Hale, Thomas Lennon, and Jaleel White, among others, while longtime Eastwood collaborator Tom Stern is behind the camera.

Eastwood is an A-list filmmaker, if sometimes a very inconsistent one. His best work, like the Academy Award winners Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven, have the feel of classic cinema. Other times, he can be guilty of prestige fare that never seems to have a point, like with J. Edgar, for example. Eastwood is thought to be in a bit of a funk these days, though his last film Sully was tremendous, and your mileage may vary with American Sniper. Depending on what the reception to The 15:17 to Paris ends up being, we may be seeing a late career resurgence for the director.

Here is a complete ranking of Eastwood’s films, minus The 15:17 to Paris, which has not screened for me:

1. Million Dollar Baby
2. Unforgiven
3. Sully
4. Mystic River
5. The Outlaw Josey Wales
6. Heartbreak Ridge
7. High Plains Drifter
8. A Perfect World
9. Play Misty for Me
10. American Sniper
11. Letters from Iwo Jima
12. Pale Rider
13. Space Cowboys
14. Flags of our Fathers
15. Bird
16. Honkytonk Man
17. Blood Work
18. Bronco Billy
19. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
20. The Bridges of Madison County
21. The Gauntlet
22. White Hunter Black Hear
23. Jersey Boys
24. Absolute Power
25. True Crime
26. Changeling
27. Firefox
28. J. Edgar
29. Invictus
30. The Eiger Sanction
31. Sudden Impact
32. The Rookie
33. Gran Torino
34. Hereafter
35. Breezy

Overall, Eastwood is like a man on a mission. With The 15:17 to Paris opening on Friday, he now has another entry to add to his impressive resume. He’s mostly moved on from acting these days, but the rumor is that his next directorial outing will be one that he stars in as well. If so, that will mark the first time since Gran Torino that he’s done such a thing. Stay tuned to see how that goes, and if it happens, but it’s something to look forward to for fans of Clint. For now, a new Eastwood movie is about to open, so sit tight for his latest, hitting screens in only a few days time…

Be sure to check out The 15:17 to Paris, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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