Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

The Honeymooners – From Pebble Beach to Pasta Moon

17 Jul

Day two of the honeymoon brought a trip down California Highway 1, which follows the coast. This is a road that I have long wanted to drive, and I was about to hit a short stretch of it. We left out in the morning with the fog still covering the coast, and Necole kept talking about how different it was from the beaches that she was accustomed to seeing.

Around here, most people go to the beaches on the gulf coast. To me, they look like any other beach. Flat. Sand. Small waves. Hotels and condos everywhere. This coast was different. Cliffs dove into the water. Beaches formed between cliffs and were guarded by rock outcroppings. It was completely different, and, in my opinion, more beautiful.Honeymoon 005

I was not surprised by the cliffs. However, I was surprised about the other things we passed. Vegetation went to the edge of the cliffs and the beaches. Crops grew and livestock grazed on the left while the ocean was on the right. I really didn’t anticipate seeing that much agriculture. Some people were picking berries. Others were selling their products at roadside stands. It was really interesting to see.

We also passed through a few cities. The road cuts through Santa Cruz, and Monterey in larger than I had imagined. For some reason, I wanted to be transported back several decades and walk up to the music festival to hear Jimi Hendrix.

We got to our destination in time for lunch, and, for us, eating is very important. Our plan was to dine at Pebble Beach, the famous golf course community. My brother and his family had eaten there, and we were hunting for the same place. We happened upon it and dined while overlooking the famous 18th hole.Honeymoon 007

It is a beautiful place, and one that every golfer should get the opportunity to play. It would be a cool experience, but I would rather be at Pebble Beach for its annual car show. Classic automobiles line the fairway in a contest to see which is the greatest of them all. Millions of dollars worth of vehicles are brought to the competition. The Best of Show gets the crystal trophy that is third in the row. The closest one is given to the winner of the U.S. Open or something.Honeymoon 009

After lunch, we bought a few souvenirs and drove the short distance to Carmel, famous for being the home of Clint Eastwood. Once again, what we found is not what I had imagined – a small hamlet by the sea that had a few art galleries and restaurants. It had those things but also had a tourist feel. I thought of it as Gatlinburg with a little more class. Hopefully, some of you will know what I mean by that. We strolled through the shops and had a snack at the bakery. I bought a John Wayne pen set that was way too expensive.

After some time, we decided to head back for our last night in Half Moon Bay. We were determined not to repeat our dinner from the night before and found Pasta Moon, an Italian restaurant on Main Street. I would recommend it to anyone. The atmosphere was low-key, and the food was great.

We also noticed what was around the restaurant. There were shops, galleries and a few other restaurants. For some reason, I kept thinking that this was what Carmel used to be. It turns out that we went to Carmel looking for something but actually found it in Half Moon Bay.

Into the Sunset

1 Apr

It’s a cliché of the western movie genre. The hero has lived through some adventure, and, when it’s over, he gets on his horse and rides into the sunset. I have watched that scene dozens of times, and it fascinates me every time.

What happens when they disappear over the horizon? What happens after the “The End” placard covers the screen? Does the hero take time off before finding another adventure? Does he die of wounds suffered during the movie? Does he live happily ever after in some frontier town?

All of those questions go through my mind because I have to know the rest of the story. It doesn’t matter how bad the movie is. I still want to know what happens after the credits roll. However, something else goes through my mind, as well. The “into the sunset” scene isn’t always the same.

One of the greatest “into the sunset” scenes doesn’t even have a horse. In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards spends years attempting to rescue his niece from her Comanche captors. When he returns with her, everyone goes into the house except for him. He turns and walks into the desert as the door closes behind him.The Searchers

Where did Edwards go? Did he leave because most of his family was dead? Did he wander because there was no purpose in his life? All of the wars were over. Or, did he think back over the past years before turning around and coming back?

John Wayne walked away in The Searchers, but Clint Eastwood could be the king of “into the sunset” rides. In The Outlaw Josey Wales, he is bleeding as he rides away. Does he live? If so, then does he go back to the friends that he has gained throughout the movie? Or, does he disappear from history?

Sometimes, he completely disappears because we really don’t know what he is. In Pale Rider, Eastwood evaporates from the scene. Is he some kind of spirit or is he just a mysterious gunman?

Those were great, but my favorite Eastwood ending comes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blondie leaves Tuco with a noose around his neck and gold at his feet. After an impossible rifle shot to save Tuco, Blondie rides away to one of the greatest movie scores of all time.

A more recent western has an “into the sunset” scene at the end. The difference is the adventure that precedes it. In Cowboys and Aliens, James Bond defeats aliens with the help of Indiana Jones. Oh, Boyd Crowder helps out, too. This time the hero is truly a loner. His wife is dead. His alien love interest is dead. He is considered dead. Heck, the dog doesn’t even go with him. In this one, the hero probably went somewhere and cried.

The cool thing about “into the sunset” scenes is that they are no longer reserved for westerns only. Remember what happened at the end of The Dark Knight? He agrees to be the fall guy and live life as a villain. Then, he hops on his jacked out motorcycle and rides into a tunnel. There is no sunset, but there is a cool speech and some kind of light up ahead. I hope it’s not a train.The Dark Knight

Everybody knows what happened to him after that because we have sequels now. There should not have been a sequel to this one. Wondering what happened to Batman was a lot better than knowing that he faked his death and ended up with Catwoman.

Ok, so John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Bond and Batman all have had great scenes to end movies. However my favorite “into the sunset” scene comes from a movie that isn’t very good. At the end of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Don Johnson, as Marlboro, goes back to his roots and enters a rodeo. At the same time, Mickey Rourke, as Harley, rides his motorcycle into the sunset with an 80s vixen on the back and Black Eyed Susan playing in the background.Harley Ending

Why is that my favorite? Because it’s the only one that seems like a happy ending. He’s not alone. He’s not wounded. And, there is no doubt that something good is going to happen further down the road.

The Great Pumpkin Carving Escapade

30 Oct

Tonight, I carved a pumpkin for the first time in years. It was great fun, and mine turned out quite well considering my lack of expertise. My handiwork was not worthy of being immortalized on the Internet. Therefore, tonight’s festivities will be honored with pictures of some of my favorite things carved into pumpkins. I have no idea who made these, but they are great artists.

AC/DC

Hell’s Pumpkins

University of Tennessee

Touchdown Pumpkins

John Wayne

Pumpkin Cogburn

Elvis Presley

Ladies and Gentlemen! Elvis Has Left the Pumpkin!

Marilyn Monroe

Pumpkins Like It Hot

Darth Vader

Luke, I Am Your Pumpkin.

Clint Eastwood

The Good, the Bad and the Pumpkin

This is an incomplete list, but I couldn’t find one with Barney Fife.

Listeria – Western Actors Edition

24 Oct

I know that this edition of Listeria is coming along soon after the last edition of Listeria, but I went overboard on my last trip to the magazine stand. Besides, this one covers one of my favorite subjects – Western movies. I grew up watching them with my dad, and that experience played a role in my interest in the history of the West.

American Cowboy published a special issue called “Legends of Western Cinema” and listed the 20 greatest Western actors. However, there is one problem that needs to be addressed before I begin. When people think about Westerns, or the history of the West, they think about cowboys first. Some of the greatest Westerns don’t involve cowboys at all. They involve mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and all sorts of characters. In the real West, not everyone were cowboys. A good way to see this? If there are no cows around, then there are probably no cowboys around.

The rant is over, so here we go with the list. These are the 20 greatest Western actors according to American Cowboy in the order that they have listed. I will list my favorite movie of each and add the actors that I believe should be included.

John Wayne – The Searchers

Gary Cooper – High Noon

James Stewart – The Far Country

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West

Clint Eastwood – The Outlaw Josey Wales

Steve McQueen – The Magnificent Seven

Kirk Douglas – There Was a Crooked Man

Robert Duvall – Open Range

Ben Johnson – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Lee Marvin – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sam Elliott – Tombstone

Tom Selleck – Quigley Down Under

Charles Bronson – Once Upon a Time in the West

Woody Strode – Sergeant Rutledge

Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter

Paul Newman – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Tom Mix – Riders of the Purple Sage

Glenn Ford – 3:10 to Yuma

Tommy Lee Jones – No Country For Old Men

James Garner – Duel at Diablo

That’s the Top 20. I could name a bunch that belong on the list, but I will limit myself to five.

Randolph Scott – Ride the High Country

Kevin Costner – Silverado

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud

Robert Redford – Jeremiah Johnson

Richard Widmark – Broken Lance

There is the list. Who else should be included? Who should be omitted? What are your favorite movies? Let me know.

A Requiem for Josey Wales

28 Nov

In 1976, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, which could be considered the last great film of the Western heyday. Obviously, “Dances With Wolves” and “Unforgiven” won Academy Awards in later years, but they came after the popularity of the genre had passed. “The Outlaw Josey Wales” marks the end of an era when Hollywood saw the Western as a major aspect of its production. The next year saw the release of “Star Wars” and the advent of modern Science Fiction. There would be new heroes to fill the minds of kids, and the quick draw cowboy would become a thing of the past. Few of the Science Fiction lovers realized that space and post-apocalyptic earth were mere replacements for the plains and deserts of the American West, and they were watching Western stories with special effects. But, that is another story for another day.

“The Outlaw Josey Wales” is a favorite of many Western lovers for its hero/outlaw who operates in solitude and kills anyone who gets in his way. As Lone Watie, who rides with Josey, says, “I notice when you get to dislikin’ somebody they ain’t around for long neither.” However, this is a misconception of the movie and the meaning behind it. Westerns have been the perfect genre to portray the issues of our world. “High Noon” was about the Red Scare and actions of Joseph McCarthy. “The Searchers” is an exploration into racism. “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” is about the destruction of the West by American society. “The Outlaw Josey Wales” is about the evils of war.

In the beginning, Josey Wales is a simple farmer who witnesses his family being killed in an attack on his land. The Civil War is raging, and gangs under the guise of military action are terrorizing the border of Missouri and Kansas. Josey joins marauders from Missouri to gain revenge on his attackers, Redlegs of Kansas. When the war ends, Josey finds himself an outlaw simply because he was on the losing side. The rest of the movie is an epic chase as Josey is chased by his enemies through Indian Territory and Texas.

This is where the misconception of the movie begins. First, Josey does not kill for the sale of killing. He fights to protect himself and to protect others. He shoots men who are attempting to rape a Native American woman and kills Comancheros who have attacked pioneers from Kansas. Josey also finds himself face-to-face with Ten Bears, a Comanche chief. Instead of fighting, Josey states that “men can live together without butchering one another.” Second, Josey Wales is not the lonely rider of the plains. He rides with marauders during the war, and, as the movie continues, he finds allies along the way:

Jamie – the young man who fought with Josey during the war and died along the trail.

Lone Watie – the Cherokee elder who saw his way of life destroyed just as Josey had.

Little Moonlight – the Native American woman whose life was filled with abuse.

Grandma Sarah and Laura Lee- the pioneers from Kansas attacked by Comancheros.

Rose, Travis, Ten Spot, Kelly and Chato – the only residents of a dead mining town who help rebuild the ranch of Grandma Sarah’s son, who was probably one of the men who attacked Josey’s farm.

“The Outlaw Josey Wales” is not about a lone gunslinger. It is about a man whose life was destroyed by war. His family was taken away, but he found a new family whose lives had also been affected negatively. People who faced tragedy created a new community of happiness and hope on a ranch far away from the pain that drove them there. Unfortunately, Josey’s peace did not last long as his trackers finally arrived. But, the man who thought he was alone learned that he never really was. Captain Terrill, Josey’s archenemy states, “You’re all alone now. Wales.” Lone Watie sticks his rifle out of a window and declares, “Well, he’s not exactly alone.”

At the end of the movie, Josey has killed his enemy but been shot in the process. After lamenting the destruction of war, he rides away bleeding and slightly slumped in the saddle. Did Josey return to the ranch and the love of his new family? Did he ride off into the sunset never to be seen again? Did he die from his wounds? That is left to the imagination, but it really doesn’t matter. In the end, Josey realized that he wasn’t the only victim of war and that he was never really alone.