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An Open Letter to Clint Eastwood

August 23, 2010

Dear Mr. Eastwood,

I have a simple request: Please don’t ever die. I know, it’s simple but not so simple. Sure, we know you’ll “live forever through your huge body of cinematic work” or whatever James Lipton would say, but let’s be honest. Very few people in Hollywood seem to understand how to make really great movies anymore. These days, it’s all about special effects and 3-D and vulgar jokes and making the audience squirm in their seats from awkward situations. And then you come along with your grovelly voice and intimidating yet grandfatherly ways and put out movies like Invictus and Changeling and we’re reminded that it’s possible to tell great stories without being arrogant or a self-satisfied (I’m looking at you, James Freaking Cameron). You remind us that not so long ago, movies told stories that not just entertain, but make you think about the world outside our self-indulgent bubbles.

But let’s take a moment to talk about Invictus. I watched it last night and I’ll admit my ignorance and say that I had no idea how it would end. I knew Nelson Mandela didn’t die, of course, but I didn’t know if this would be a Disney ending (the underdog South African team wins) or more of a Nicholas Sparks ending where you think it’s going to be happy, but then everyone dies and you’re left wondering why writers like to toy with the emotions of their readers. Thankfully, the story ends happy and I went to bed feeling that ignorance and racism doesn’t always win. And that’s what is so great about your movies. Even when they have sad tones and maybe even sad endings, you still make us feel a little bit of hope because stories like these even exist.

Back to the problem at hand. I know immortality isn’t really an option and you’re already 80 right now. But maybe since you’re still making movies, you could take a promising young actor/director under your wing and teach him or her what you know. Teach them how to pick great scripts and great actors to tell the story. Because with movies like The Expendables and Vampires Suck coming out of Hollywood faster than tweens can read badly-written vampire novels, we could all use a space cowboy in our lives.


PS Also, you and Matt Damon go together like sunshine and lollipops (you’re the sunshine). So go with it—feel free to put him in all of your movies with or without an awesome accent.

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