Eastwood starred in The Dead Pool (1988), the fifth and final film in the Dirty Harry series. It co-starred Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, and a young Jim Carrey who plays Johnny Squares, a drug-addled rock star and the first of the victims on a list of celebrities drawn up by horror film director Peter Swan (Neeson) who are deemed most likely to die, the so-called "Dead Pool". The list is stolen by an obsessed fan who, in mimicking his favorite director, makes his way through the list killing off celebrities, of which Dirty Harry is also included. The Dead Pool grossed nearly $38 million, relatively low receipts for a Dirty Harry film. It is generally viewed as the weakest film of the series, though Roger Ebert thought it was as good as the original.
Tightrope (1984) had Eastwood starring opposite Geneviève Bujold in a provocative thriller, inspired by newspaper articles about an elusive Bay Area rapist. Set in New Orleans to avoid confusion with the Dirty Harry films, Eastwood played a divorced cop drawn into his target's tortured psychology and fascination for sadomasochism. Tightrope was a critical and commercial hit and became the fourth highest-grossing R-rated film of 1984. Eastwood next starred in the crime comedy City Heat (also 1984) alongside Burt Reynolds, a film about an ex-cop turned private eye and his former police lieutenant partner who get mixed up with gangsters in the Prohibition era of the 1930s. The film grossed around $50 million domestically, but was overshadowed by Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop.More Info
Eastwood next turned his attention towards Breezy (1973), a film about love blossoming between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl. During casting for the film Eastwood met Sondra Locke for the first time, an actress who would play major roles in six of his films over the next ten years and would become an important figure in his life. Kay Lenz got the part of Breezy because Locke, at age 29, was nearly twice the character's age. The film, shot very quickly and efficiently by Eastwood and Frank Stanley, came in $1 million under budget and was finished three days ahead of schedule. Breezy was not a major critical or commercial success.More Info
Eastwood directed and starred in Honkytonk Man (1982), based on the eponymous Clancy Carlile's depression-era novel. Eastwood portrays a struggling western singer Red Stovall who suffers from tuberculosis, but has finally been given an opportunity to make it big at the Grand Ole Opry. He is accompanied by his young nephew (played by real-life son Kyle) to Nashville, Tennessee, where he is supposed to record a song. Only Time gave the film a good review in the United States, with most reviewers criticizing its blend of muted humor and tragedy. Nevertheless, the film received a more positive reception in France, where it was compared to John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath, and it has since acquired the very high rating of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Around the same time, Eastwood directed, produced, and starred in the Cold War-themed Firefox (also 1982). Based on a 1977 novel with the same name written by Craig Thomas, the film was shot before but released after Honkytonk Man. Russian filming locations were not possible due to the Cold War, and the film had to be shot in Vienna and other locations in Austria to simulate many of the Eurasian story locations. With a production cost of $20 million, it was Eastwood's highest budget film to that time. People magazine likened Eastwood's performance to "Luke Skywalker trapped in Dirty Harry's Soul".More Info
Eastwood directed and starred in The Gauntlet (1977) opposite Locke, Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, and Mara Corday. In this film, he portrays a down-and-out cop assigned to escort a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix to testify against the mob. Although a moderate hit with the viewing public, critics had mixed feelings about the film, with many believing it was overly violent. Ebert, in contrast, gave the film three stars and called it "classic Clint Eastwood: fast, furious, and funny." In Every Which Way but Loose (1978) he has an uncharacteristic offbeat comedy role. His character, Philo Beddoe, is a trucker and brawler who roams the American West searching for a lost love (Locke) accompanied by his best friend, Orville Boggs (played by Geoffrey Lewis) and an orangutan called Clyde. The film proved surprisingly successful upon its release and became Eastwood's most commercially successful film up to that time. Panned by critics, it ranked high among the box-office successes of his career and was the second-highest-grossing film of 1978.More Info
Once filming of Breezy had finished, Warners announced that Eastwood had agreed to reprise his role as Callahan in Magnum Force (1973), a sequel to Dirty Harry, about a group of rogue young officers (among them David Soul, Robert Urich and Tim Matheson) in the San Francisco Police Department who systematically exterminate the city's worst criminals. Although the film was a major success after release, grossing $58.1 million in the United States (a record for Eastwood), it was not a critical success. The New York Times critic Nora Sayre panned the often contradictory moral themes of the film, while the paper's Frank Rich called it "the same old stuff".More Info
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