I’d never seen a Clint Eastwood movie before last weekend (with the exception of Million Dollar Baby, which I didn’t like and doesn’t count). I’ve intended to watch The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for years now, but only got around to it last Friday. It’s funny, because Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of my favorite movies, and I considered it the greatest western ever made, even though it was really the only western I’d ever seen.
Well, after watching The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I’ve changed my opinion. Sergio Leone is one of the greatest directors of all time, and the man with no name is unquestionably the most badass, manly character in all of cinema. I went on to watch Dirty Harry, A Fistful of Dollars, and For a Few Dollars More. All great movies. The plot isn’t the most nuanced, but Leone draws incredible emotion from seemingly boring shots. The standoff in the graveyard at the end of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is at least a minute long of nothing but the faces and guns of three, motionless characters. But the you can feel the tension and you understand more about the three and what they’re thinking than any spoken scene could ever convey. It’s raw emotion. Fear and excitement building up to a moment with death on the other side.
Those days of shoot first ask questions later are gone, but thank god we’ve still got Eastwood to show us how tough and independent we can be.