Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Film Review: HEARTBREAK RIDGE (1986, Clint Eastwood)
Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 130 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Clint Eastwood, Bo Svenson (INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, WALKING TALL PART II, THE DELTA FORCE), Everett McGill (TWIN PEAKS, SILVER BULLET, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS), Mario van Peebles (RAPPIN', JAWS 4), Moses Gunn (THE NEVERENDING STORY, ROLLERBALL, FIRESTARTER), Marsha Mason (DROP DEAD FRED, NICK OF TIME).
Tag-lines: "... the scars run deep."
Best one-liner: "Be advised. I'm mean, nasty and tired. I eat concertina wire and piss napalm and I can put a round in a flea's ass at 200 meters. So why don't you go hump somebody else's leg, mutt face, before I push yours in."
"Why don't I bend you over the table there... send you home with the 'I just pumped the neighbor's cat' look on your face?" So maybe this is a valentine to Reagan-era Jarheads or maybe it's a wry look at the state of institutionalized masculinity, but whichever way you choose to see it, it's a damned entertaining film. Clint brilliantly fuses some very specific genres: the 'irascible old man' flick, the military training drama, the trashy barroom romance, the zany war picaresque, and, most importantly, the summer camp movie. It could practically be MEATBALLS 5: BOOT CAMP.
Clint prepares to fling a boom box with extreme disdain for the box and its listeners.
This is the ideal movie for an afternoon in July; perfect for those days when you've got an ice cold beer, the swivel neck and the ceiling fans going at once, and the volume turned way up so you can hear it over the racket the locusts (and the fans) are making. Good. Now you can hear Clint growl "Shut your face, hippie!" at Mario van Peebles, who could be accurately described as any number of things- 'hippie' definitely not being one of them.
Tom 'Gunny' Highway might be the crabbiest, crankiest character Clint has ever played (though Walt Kowalski in GRAN TORINO certainly gives Gunny a run for his money). You even get the sense that Gunny would narrow his eyes and scowl at Dirty Harry. He would definitely scowl at Philo Beddoe.
Everett McGill (Big Ed on TWIN PEAKS) makes a great villain as the wet behind the ears officer who thinks he can tell Gunny what to do-
but he forgets Gunny didn't attend some fancy pants Ivy League university: he attended a nasty, little-known place of higher learning known as HEARTBREAK RIDGE. It was there he was educated in cluster fucks, pencil-necks who "asshole to asshole couldn't make a beer fart in a whirlwind," suckheads who write home to momma, and in the process became basically the toughest sonofabitch to ever wear the uniform. And he did all this while Christ was still a corporal. Five stars. Beers to you, Clint.