The Good, The Bad & The Ugly is one of my 10 favorite films and although Clint Eastwood is the star, it’s totally Eli Wallach in the role of “Tuco” that makes the movie.
Eastwood, on the other hand, aside from being long, blonde and bearded, is pretty much a cipher we’re left to imagine is “good” because the roles of “ugly” (Wallach) and “bad” (Lee Van Cleef), are already taken.
But for a while and till this day I’ve been more or less of an Eastwood fan despite being Black and noticing early on that his movies are generally not too sympathetic towards my people.
Never mind the Every Which Way But Loose franchise where two-fisted Philo Beddoe bare-knuckle out boxed everybody else in the world, the top challenger always happening to be white, my first inkling of the problem began during the first installment of Dirty Harry franchise right after Eastwood’s Harry challenges a Black criminal he’s standing over and daring to go for his gun.
Turns out that Eastwood’s Harry may have fired 5 of his possible 6 shots from his 6-shooter or he may have fired all 6. He’s lost count himself. That’s when Eastwood’s Harry issues the challenge with his now infamous “Do you feel lucky, punk?” line.
Being cowards when confronted with “real” men, the Black criminal of course backs down, but then and to my young astonishment, demands of Eastwood, “I gots to know.”
I remember thinking, “My Lord! How could anyone expect to successfully rob anything with grammar that bad?”
And, of course, when the Dirty Harry franchise returned with Sudden Impact and another classic line, this one “Go ahead, make my day,” it was during yet another face-off with an ultimately cowardly Black criminal.
Even Eastwood’s two notable collaborations with Morgan Freeman, nobody’s Uncle Tom, have been fraught with racist perspective.
In Unforgiven, Freeman’s Ned Logan ultimately loses his nerve as a bounty hunter after dragging Eastwood’s William Munny out of retirement to do just that.
That Logan dies a horrible death complete with disgracefully paraded corpse is mitigated – I guess – by the fact that Munny heroically avenges his dead punk friend.
Then, and finally in Million Dollar Baby, fine young actor Jay Baruchel plays Danger Barsh, a character we’re expected to believe is mentally a bit slow to the point where he would openly and without connotation call a group of Black fighters “Niggers”.
Anthony Mackie’s character, Shawrelle Berry, decides to have a little fun while exacting what might be interpreted as revenge by sparring against Barsh and beating the crap out of him.
This prompts Morgan Freeman’s Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris to spar against Berry himself, in turn beating the crap out of the younger Black fighter.
Now, while the intention of this scene was clear; Berry shouldn’t have beaten Barsh because Barsh was slow and couldn’t have understood either the history or legacy of that word that he so carelessly and callously tossed around, the part that made the scene absolutely not work was the fact that after Dupris beat Berry, he never sat down with Barsh and explained why using that particular word around Black people might not be the best idea.
So in essence, we witnessed an older Black man issue a beating to a younger Black man in defense of a young white man’s ability to use the word “Nigger’.
So it doesn’t surprise me one whit that Clint Eastwood has come out in support of Donald Trump for President.
Eastwood’s been playing one variation of Trump or another his whole career.
And vice versa.