Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
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And its a bit confusing. I'm not sure what to make of this fun, wacky, and somewhat random movie. Eastwood himself seems to strive and always aims for ambiguity in his work. And it shows here.
There were a lot of dumb ass critics in the 60's and 70's that liked to bash Eastwood and used the popular buzzword of fascist and labeled him as such. So in response, Eastwood was very particular about what he did afterward and would do things that contradict (in the eyes of critics) his previous work or characters. This of course confused critics and ultimately forced them to look at his work again and see that they were being dumb ass idiots and were just going along with the popular liberal clap trap at the time.
So we have this movie, in which Eastwood is this hillbilly mechanic and competent street fighter and his adventures with his orangutan (not a monkey Afsheen, they have 12 ribs like us). And its this almost really weird PG comedy. It has these sort of random plots and events that are kind of incorporated into the story and well, not really sure how I can best put it into words, but its just fun. It shows that Eastwood can do this wacky road, comedy.
But it has some surprisingly dramatic moments as well. The audience is well aware of the Sandra Locke's characters true intentions before Eastwood's Philo. And when he does figure it out, its pretty brutal. And I really bought into that emotional confrontation and Philo's reaction. And then Eastwood throws a fight, and in some ways its bleak. But in other ways it isn't. Philo I think found a little bit about himself and learned who his true friends are, people like Clyde and Orville, and Orville's girl Echo(a young Beverly D'Angelo).
The character of Tank Murdoch I believe is meant as an allegory to Clint Eastwood and his celebrity status, his celebrity and his star persona. Philo wants to challenge Murdoch and beat him. Murdoch is a guy who everyone knows and has this huge reputation. And then Philo sees Murdoch who's really pretty sad. His friends turn on him and aren't real friends, and he realizes he doesn't want to be Tank Murdoch. And he doesn't want other people gunning for him. So at the end of the movie, it almost feels like it was Eastwood REJECTING his own star persona and choosing to stay in obscurity with his friends. Makes me wonder how Eastwood truly feels about his celebrity status.
Jeffrey "The Vile One" Harris
The sequel to this film is just as good as the first one, with new characters and well supported music that suits the period as well as the film. They have finally released both films on DVD in England and is worth the investment for a classic collection.
Redneck humor was never this pugnacious!
This and its sequel Every Which Way You Can will never be at the top of Clint's cinema achievements, but it's a nice rollicking comedy about a bare knuckle fighter. If it were set in today's times instead of the Seventies, Eastwood's Philo Beddoe would be on the extreme fighting channel.
Seeing Clint's living quarters reminded me of John Wayne's similar arrangements in True Grit with Chin Lee and General Sterling Price the cat. Clyde's quite a bit more the handful than a cat. He lives with Geoffrey Lewis who is his second and corner man in the bare knuckle fighting business and handles all the wagers and Lewis's mother a 'helpless' little old lady with a shotgun, deliciously played by Ruth Gordon.
Making his living as a bare knuckle fighter, Clint just seems to run into people determined to take him down. That includes an involvement with aspiring country singer Sondra Locke whom he spends a good deal of money on and who then takes a powder on him. She's heading east so Clint, Lewis, and Clyde are as well. Along the way they pick up sharp shooting Beverly D'Angelo who saves them on one occasion.
The legendary bare knuckle champion is Denver Tank Murdoch and as that 20th century philosopher Ric Flair opined, to be the best you have to beat the best. So Clint is heading to Denver to find both Locke and Walter Barnes who plays Tank Murdoch with his three amigos.
He also manages to arouse the anger of John McQuade and his Black Widow Biker gang. These people are the sorriest biker gang ever depicted on the big screen. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE manages to best this crowd of losers. But they never give up.
Best in the film are Ruth Gordon and Clyde, not necessarily in that order. I've often thought that the Academy Awards should have a best animal performance in a given year. That year the Oscar gold would have been taken by the orangutan. I wish the film had elaborated a little more on when Eastwood and Lewis break into a zoo to get Clyde's male needs satisfied.
For a lighter and brighter side of Clint Eastwood, don't miss Every Which Way But Loose.
Disguised as a simplistic road story, *Every Which Way But Loose* is a paean to freedom; freedom from the strictures of routine, freedom to settle disputes like a man (If the problem can't be fixed with a fist or a monkey wrench, it ain't worth fixin'), freedom to fight for your ideals (even if those ideals hurt the other guy's chin repeatedly), freedom to choose love or lust as your Saturday Night Thing, and freedom to have interspecies BFF's.
Written by first-timer, Jeremy Joe Kronsberg, and directed by James Fargo (assistant director on five previous Eastwood movies), *Every Which Way* became Clint Eastwood's biggest hit at the time of its release.
Musta been that freedom thingy.
Clint is Philo Beddoe, a San Fernando Valley good ole boy and hammer-fisted, bare-knuckle street fighter, whose best friend is a gregarious, lovable ape, Clyde (a quirky orang-utan named Manis, long since dead at the time of this writing). Providing a uniquely bizarre buddy presence, Clyde steals the show. Though totally replaceable as a plot element, he becomes irreplaceable as a star in his own right.
*Every Which Way But Loose* finds Clint at a perfect fit 48 - not too old to appear frail and not too young to appear green - spending much of his time in Shirtless Kirk mode in illegal street fights that pad his trucker income. Falling hard for Lynn Halsey-Taylor (skeletal Sondra Locke, playing a country singer even though she can't sing worth a damn yes, unfortunately that's her voice on the soundtrack), Philo traverses the American heartland with his pal, Orville (Geoffrey Lewis), to woo her, whilst moronic cops and imbecilic bikers tail him tailing her, both groups on a vendetta against Philo (for their chins repeatedly impacting his fist).
Populated with Eastwood regulars (John Quade, Dan Vadis, Bill McKinney, William O'Connell "Thems black widdas!" - and a very young, very sexy, Beverly D'Angelo), *Every Which Way* is that type of homespun movie where a character can step up to a bar and order "a beer" and get one!; where a barroom brawl breaks out and everyone starts fighting - for no reason and with the person they were sitting next to; this motley concoction of characters and contrivance could have slipped out of control very easily, instead exhibiting an easy grace that its star has become renowned for, and standing defiantly on its inspired silliness.
There is a throwaway scene where Ma (rocket-fueled Ruth Gordon) chastises Philo for Clyde's misbehavior, whereupon Philo approaches Clyde and points an imaginary gun at him. Clyde puts his hands up, Philo exclaims, "Bang!" and Clyde suddenly falls back flat on the tires. Funny and cute on the surface, only Clint aficionados will see the satire, as Clint assumes the relaxed lean of one of his avenger characters and - in a film where he never wields a gun uses a pretend-gun to fire the punchline. (*Every Which Way* followed three movies where Clint's gunhand got a heavy workout - as Dirty Harry in *The Enforcer*, 1976, *The Outlaw Josey Wales*, 1976, and a film where more than a million rounds were expended trying to mow down his Ben Shockley in *The Gauntlet*, 1977.) Eternally unassuming about his "living legend" status, Clint is more inclined to crack a bemused, embarrassed smile over the effusiveness afforded him at awards ceremonies, rather than transform into Hollywood Ass. Willing to parody his own legendary characters, during a confrontation with the bike gang - the imperiously impotent Black Widows - we hear a snatch of the *Good, the Bad and the Ugly* theme.
The country music soundtrack is surprisingly fitting and uncharacteristically enjoyable, especially the nostalgic, poignant title track, sung by Eddie Rabbitt. To make nominal sense of the grammatically incorrect title, simply preface three words of the song lyrics: "You turn me every which way but loose " Though the movie is played for laughs aplenty, it is a Queen song disguised as a Hansen song, ending on a very dark note while the crooked cops and incompetent bike gang draw our attention as villains, it becomes apparent in the final scenes that the vilest villain is the woman who turned Philo every which way Lynn Halsey-Taylor. There is no formulaic reconciliation with Philo, as Lynn maintains her stance as an unrepentant philanderer and turns her back on him. Philo then loses the film's final fight, for mercenary reasons. We don't often see these "types" on screen; like the incestuous family in *Chinatown*, these characters are socially-shunned "types" that slap us awake to the possibility of conclusions besides Hollywood pap.
I just hope that when I'm 48, I'll look as good as the shirtless Clint.
This quasi-cute, off-beat comedy would be Clint Eastwood's first departure from Spaghetti-Westerns and Dirty Harry roles.
When it comes to the likes of Every Which Way But Loose (EWWBL), Eastwood's financial backers strongly advised him to steer away from this production for the sake of preserving his well-established movie-image. The squinty-eyed Eastwood, being the rebel that he was, naturally refused to take their unsound (?) advice and went ahead and produced this so-so modern-day cowboy movie, with mixed results.
Eastwood plays rugged character Philo Beddoe, a trucker and a brawler (with a definite soft-spot), searching, like an utter fool, for (of all things) lost love.
The ever-stubborn Philo drags along his pal, Orville, and Orville's pet orangutan, Clyde (for comedy relief), as he roams somewhat aimlessly around the American West, from California to Colorado.
As is typical in a comedy flick such as this - Philo, a brazen, bare-knuckle fighter, never-ever fails to cross everyone, everywhere he goes. Naturally, Philo manages to p-i-s-s the police right off, to the extreme. And he even ends up being angrily pursued by a biker gang called The Black Widows, who chase him in a ridiculous fit of tire-screeching revenge.
EWWBL's biggest disappointment is Philo's lost love - now found, who goes by the name of Lynn Halsey-Taylor. Philo spent so much time searching for this broad and all she ended up being was nothing but a little, trailer-trash, Country'n'Western singer who warbles away to all of the "deaf-anyways" drunks in sleazy, low-life Honky-Tonks.
It's too bad that Clyde, the orangutan, didn't get more camera-time in EWWBL. He was really about the only interesting character in the entire flick that was at all worth watching.
If you're a true Clint Eastwood fan, then you're sure to enjoy this mildly amusing flick from 1978.
Well, okay, let's give this movie a benefit of a doubt, I liked it when I was a wee tiny lad, under ten or so. That was enough for me back then. Thought I don't recall laughing very hard when I watched this flick, but I did like it. But then I saw it again. And I was amazed. And not in the good way.
Okay, Philo (Eastwood in very poorly chosen role) is a truck driver, who makes money on the side by fist fighting. His two friends are an ape and Orville (Geoffrey Lewis). Philo fells head over heels for this purty little country singer named Lynn (Sondra Locke) who then disappears. Off to find the lost love. Then there's a mixed bunch of Nazi motorcyclist and some cops after Philo and co. The whole movie turns out as a headless run with no sense what so ever.
Every Which Way But Loose actually does have some good elements in it, it has the potential of a entertaining movie, but now it's barely even funny. Sure, it does cause couple of loose smiles but it hardly makes you laugh. And even the action scenes are relatively badly made, so even they wont be enough to keep up the interest.
Final judgment: If you really want to see Clint Eastewood in a bad flick this might be the one to start with. Sure he has some worse films under his belt, but this one is pretty close.
Because Manis The Orangutan did an extraordinary job in first writing down the script on a typewriter with a stick bearing a turd. And then he took the biding of a director, randomly grinding and farting on the set and thus apparently giving the "action!" signal to the crew. And also at the same time Manis delivered acting performance almost as good as Clint Eastwood did. Because do not be fooled by the official credits: as there is just no way, that this movie was written or directed by even the stupidest homo sapiens. Both tasks had to be done by Manis The Orangutan; or some other ape throwing cinematic feces at the viewers
In other words: if you are amid fan of metabolic waste of the film industry- then this picture will suit your exquisite taste
This film was originally meant for Burt Reyonlds, but Clint liked it a lot and decided to do it, despite having his manager and just about everyone he was friends with tell him not to do it. Eastwood said he was drawn to the movie because it didn't have a conventionally happy ending. He doesn't get the girl, and ends up broke with the ape. I saw this when I was really young, and having watched too many sitcoms (like most Americans), I was sad when the film had an ending like this. I didn't expect it. There was a line in which Clint's character, Philo, says to Sondra Locke (who plays a hustling country singer) "I was hoping to go beyond your bedroom". If this film were made today, it would have a Jerry Springer like condescension towards the working classes (with an incest subplot, a grandma with no teeth, and the obligatory Deliverance references). This film is still funny and entertaining, even though the ape, Clyde, really doesn't fit in all the time. If they lost the ape, the film would still be good.
The film is also consistently funny. There are no real story lulls in it. And it was made in a time when people weren't so uptight and politiclaly correct. One of the early scenes has Clint in a bar and he talks to a girl, who gives a ton of lip and smug condescension. He asks her "what are you mad at?" with all sincerity. Clint was hitting on a PC chick years before political correctness came about. We have become much too uptight and rigidly humourless. Even the comedies nowadays aren't particularly funny. They're usually gross, smug, and childish, without any real trace of wit. A shame, but then, we have this film we can go back to.
There are a few too many villains. We could have done without the stupid bikies. The real villain, of course, is the country music singer. Nice touch, that.
When released at Christmas 1978, this turkey didn't appear to have any stuffing, but when it emerged as the second biggest hit of the season (after "Superman") and Eastwood's biggest ever box-office hit (a status it continues to enjoy when inflation is taken into account), it was apparent that some folks don't require things like a plot, competent acting, or even a hint of professionalism in a movie and will line up at the multiplex, plop down their money and be "entertained." It's amazing that Eastwood's reputation, not nearly as glowing in 78 as it is today, survived the onslaught of bad reviews that justifiably followed the release of this film and its 1980 sequel. Did Ruth Gorden's presence redeem it? Not in my eyes. Loose is the only way to turn this stinker.
Clint Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, a fun loving, crazy guy who happens to have a knack and love for street brawling. Along with his best friend/manager Orville Boggs they take in a good amount on bets including Beddoe's win of a rather large, sarcastic, trouble making Oranguatang named Clyde. Despite popular assumption the film really isn't about Clyde and Beddoe but more just about Beddoe and his cross country trip to find the woman of his dreams while being chased down by some folks he made rather angry...two off duty policeman, and a squad of Motorcycle gang members. Eastwood is good in his role because not only is he his typical tough guy, big screen icon but he has a softness to him, he's having a good time and it just makes it fun. Although you're kind of waiting for him to lose it and pull out a magnum on everyone. Veteran character actor Geoffrey Lewis plays Orville Boggs. He's certainly not as tough as Eastwood and yet they make a great team. Hilariously funny, stealing the show is foul mouth Ma Boggs played by Ruth Gordon. She only has a few scenes but it's downright hilarious. And then of course there is Clyde played by Manis. Manis does what you would expect a decent ape to do to make everyone smile. He certainly has some of the laugh out loud moments but he never steals the show the way you might expect. He's just another part of the whole crew. Sondra Locke plays Eastwood's love interest who he travels cross country to find. She's self centered and seemingly determined to outrun Eastwood and I think he could have done better but he was hooked on her. Beverly D'Angelo plays a small role as Echo, Orville's girl who he picks up from a vegetable stand. They make a cute couple and she has some great scenes.
The fight scenes are plenty, the country music is overwhelming and at the time probably a great soundtrack. It's a country film and the quint essential fist fight, street brawl movie. Eastwood is unstoppable and most of the comedy comes from watching him make fools of his rather foolish enemies along with his buddies. It's an adventure comedy that is worth seeing. It's not depthy, or important, or a real slam bang comedy...it's just fun...and that's why everyone loved it and why it's an Eastwood classic. 7/10
Most of the supportive cast also does not disappoint. Once again, Eastwood casts former costars from his classic Westerns, in the supportive roles; most notably, the late-John Quade, as the biker-gang leader.
Sondra Locke, who quickly became "Clint's leading lady", out of respect to their former off-screen Relationship, is mediocre at best, here, as man-hustling, con-artist, country-singer wannabe, Lynne Halsey-Taylor. Most of her delivery falls flat; perhaps due her nervousness in working so closely and intimately with Clint; this being their second film together. The early critics slammed her as flaky and flat, when LHT is supposed to be a vixenish vamp. Perhaps it was because Clint allowed Sondra too much creative leeway. But alas.. one cannot turn back the clock and fix things. Thank goodness Locke's delivery in the sequel Any Which Way You Can redeemed her.
At this film's original premiere, some critics grazed Clint for steering away from his classic Westerns personae to do a little comedy for a change. Well that direction paid off; thought admittedly I am dearly surprised this under-rated film's overall average is 6.5. Eastwood is as epic as Coca-Cola and Taco Bell. And he is one of those genuinely versatile stars who built a career on Perfection. To-date, he has seldom disappointed.
The biker-gang; mostly composed of repeat co-stars, is deadpan hilarious. Headed by scruffy character-actor John Quade, traditionally, bikers are younger serious muscle-head guys with chicks riding piggyback. However, here, we get a bunch of middle-aged bungling doofus' who routinely get their butts kicked, in spite bearing Black Widow tattoos on their arms.
Geoffrey Lewis; lifetime friend and co-star of Eastwood, is deliciously delightful, and goofball, as Philo's brother and fight-manager, Orville; comically turning his hat backwards before Philo enters a fist-fight. What fan and Fem cannot resist his signature blue eyes and sexy shoulders?
The real stars and scene-stealers in this film, however - are frothy 'Ma' (Ruth Gordon) who can't seem to pass her senior's driver's test, then goes Annie Oakley on the biker gang. And Clyde; Philo's pet orangutan "12 ribs", with an Oreo cookie fetish, and a taste for action, and human beer.