May31st is Memorial Day, but film fans might find another reason to celebrate, as it also happens to be Clint Eastwood's birthday. The granddaddy of all that is cool, quiet, and badass is turning 80 years old today. 80 years old. Ponder that for awhile, because it seems incredible, particularly since he's still as sharp, smart, and hardworking as ever. Sexy too! He may be 80 but he still has that incredible rakish smile, all the better because it was so rarely used on film.
After you're done honoring the sacrifices of our troops (don't think I mean that glibly), you might want to take two hours and celebrate Mr. Eastwood's birthday. TCM is hosting a marathon of Eastwood movies, beginning with his fresh-faced debut in The First Traveling Saleslady, continuing on through his trilogy with Sergio Leone, and finishing up with Magnum Force. Airing between is Richard Schickel's documentary The Eastwood Factor, which should be a very good behind-the-scenes look at his long and illustrious career. Check your local listings.
Should those prove too oft-watched for you, Netflix Instant has Letters from Iwo Jima,True Crime, In the Line of Fire, Pink Cadillac, Firefox, Bronco Billy, Every Which Way But Loose, The Beguiled, Breezy, Joe Kidd, andTwo Mules for Sister Saraon offer. (I personally recommend the lost gems of The Beguiled and Two Mules.)
Or you can just hit up your your DVD shelf. Just how long has it been since you gaveUnforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Bridges of Madison County, or High Plains Drifter a spin? Maybe it's time you bought those on DVD, along with a nice copy of Clint Eastwood Icon: The Essential Film Art Collection or A Life in Pictures to class up your coffee table. (I have them both, and have to resist taking them apart to frame the stills.)
At least take some time to wish him a happy birthday in the comments. You owe him every snide antihero from the 1960s on. Tell him (and us) your favorite of all his sneering guncocked roles.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Eastwood. Here's to many, many more!