Michael Moore‘s most recent documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, went mostly unnoticed, but if he wants to make a film about his interactions with Clint Eastwood, that might do pretty well. It could be a buddy comedy about two mismatched directors where one buddy threatens to kill his partner. Also, there’s a mischievous orangutan that thinks a banana is a gun. Classic.
Anyway, on his Facebook page, Moore, who hasn’t been shy with his opinions on the “mess of a film” American Sniper, wrote about the time Eastwood allegedly threatened to shoot and kill him. Was he kidding? Does it matter? I’d be scared of Four-Time Oscar Winner the Grouch, too.
A lot of people are asking me if this is true as this “rumor” about Clint Eastwood confronting me in 2005 has now re-surfaced and floated around the internet in the past few days. So I thought I should say a few words…
Ten years ago this past week, Clint Eastwood stood in front of the National Board of Review awards dinner and announced to me and to the crowd that he would “kill” me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview.
“I’ll kill you,” he declared.
The crowd laughed nervously. As for me, having just experienced a half-dozen assaults in the previous year from crazies upset at Fahrenheit 9/11 and my anti-war Oscar speech, plus the attempt by a right wing extremist to blow up my house (he was caught in time and went to prison), I was a bit stunned to hear Eastwood, out of the blue, make such a violent statement. But I instantly decided he was just trying to be funny, so I laughed the same nervous laugh everyone else did. Clint, though, didn’t seem to like all that laughter.
“I mean it,” he barked, and the audience grew more quiet. “I’ll shoot you.”
There was a smattering of approving applause, but most just turned around to see what my reaction was. I tried to keep that fake smile on my face so as to appear as if he hadn’t “gotten” to me. But he had. I then mumbled to those sitting at my table. “I think Dirty Harry just said, “Make my day, punk.” (Via)
Moore later clarified his feelings for Eastwood, writing that “he was a great filmmaker. Unforgiven is my favorite Western of all time. He also made a powerful film about the Japanese in World War II and portrayed them as human beings (Letters from Iwo Jima).” BUT (there’s always a but):
But something started to go haywire with Clint in the last decade. Sophia McClennen in the Salon article wrote that she believes the first sign of his loopiness began that night at the awards dinner at Tavern on the Green in Central Park where he randomly went after me. Then came the (IMHO) awful (and weirdly racist) Gran Torino where he got to cast himself as a bigoted retired autoworker in Detroit. Two years later he was on the stage at the Republican National Convention carrying on a berating and confused conversation with an invisible Obama in an empty chair.
And now American Sniper – a mess of a film that rewrites history (we invade Iraq as revenge for 9/11), perpetuates a racist sentiment to Arabs (Iraqis are “savages”), has a simplistic Hollywood storyline of the good sniper in white vs. the bad sniper in black), and (in a rare moment of honesty) shows the main characters in the film, the American soldiers, either returning home all messed-up by the war (and with some of them turning anti-war) or in a box. The lead character becomes a victim of both the PTSD epidemic AND the violent American/Texan gun culture that eventually takes his life. (Via)
If only Army and the rest of the military had a half-day for the last 50 years.
Then we wouldn’t be in this mess.