HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
Oscar, The
Color Out of Space
Last Holiday
Zombieland: Double Tap
Mind Benders, The
Mighty Wind, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
   
 
  Honkytonk Man Songs Of The Road
Year: 1982
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Kyle Eastwood, John McIntire, Alexa Kenin, Verna Bloom, Matt Clark, Barry Corbin, Jerry Hardin, Tim Thomerson, Macon McCalman, Joe Regalbuto, Gary Grubbs, Rebecca Clemons, Johnny Gimble, Linda Hopkins, Tracey Walter, Charles Cyphers
Genre: Comedy, Drama, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: There's a storm blowing up in this region of the Dust Bowl of the nineteen-thirties, so the family of young Whit (Kyle Eastwood) set about battening down the hatches in preparation for its arrival. However, just as things are getting bad outside, a car roars up and smashes into the windmill, knocking it over, and the family rush outside to open its door, whereupon a body falls out. Is he dead? Nope, just dead drunk - it's Whit's uncle Red Stovell (Clint Eastwood), an aspiring country and western singer who has been celebrating some good news for a change. He has an audition at the Grand Ol' Opry which could really see him go places and make a name for himself...

Firefox was Clint Eastwood's big movie of 1982, but while successful, it wasn't much cop as entertainment. Far more nuanced was Honkytonk Man, a complete flop that proved no matter how he liked to play around with his screen persona, audiences did prefer to see him as a winner rather than a loser, as he was here. Well, almost, there's a hint Red may go on to some form of success after the credits have rolled, but it was not enough to satisfy the public who heard from the critics that Clint has made a misstep and didn't much like the sound of a Depression-set drama about a failed country singer anyway, even with the director-star doing all his own singing and strumming.

Or maybe because of that: Red is not the greatest performer around, half because Eastwood has a voice that's serviceable but not inspiring, but also half because Red as a character is not intended to be the next Hank Williams in Nashville superstar mode. He's not only a loser, but he makes terrible decisions as well, though the promise of that audition may finally be setting him on the right track as he takes Whit and Whit's grandpa (John McIntire) who wants to return home to Tennessee after nearly half a century away, on a trip that in road movie style crafted an episodic journey across the Southern states that was more akin to the nineteen-seventies character drama than the brash eighties.

But there were jokes here too, not that anyone realised this to any huge extent at the time, and some of them are very funny. Mostly they were of a disarmingly broad nature, such as when Red steals chickens from a coop they encounter only to fall flat on his face and smash up the henhouse in the process of going back for one more bird. There was also a meeting with a bull while Red takes a bath in a water tub, which would not have been out of place in one of Eastwood's orang-utan sidekick comedies, it was the same kind of laughs he was aiming for, which did not necessarily tally too pleasingly with the latter stages when the gags dried up and we were invited to start taking this buffoon's antics a lot more seriously. Maybe it was that sincerity that rubbed so many up the wrong way in 1982.

And it's not as if Honkytonk Man has gone on to win a following as one of Eastwood's cult movies, it has not been rediscovered at all, those who have seen it and already fans of the megastar appreciating what he was trying to do, merely a smaller number actually enjoying the tonal shifts. But it was another of his state of the Union impressions, with a variety of jus' plain folks he could hold up to the light and decide that they were the salt of the earth, or otherwise. Barry Corbin was otherwise as he tried to cheat Red out of the money owed, but though she was a figure of fun, Alexa Kenin was a more decent sort, if deeply misguided that she believes stardom awaits her (with horrible irony, the promising actress never fulfilled her ambition in real life as she was found dead in unexplained circumstances a while after making this film and not many others). Through this we were asked to judge whether Red was good as a role model for Whit, and often the answer seemed to be no, but every once in a while he did right by the kid, and a sign of a good heart was visible. Not perfect, then, but worth a second chance considering Eastwood made it to please his co-star son. Music by Steve Dorff.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 387 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Clint Eastwood  (1930 - )

Becoming a superstar in the late 1960s gave Clint Eastwood the freedom to direct in the seventies. Thriller Play Misty for Me was a success, and following films such as High Plains Drifter and The Outlaw Josey Wales showed a real talent behind the camera as well as in front of it. He won an Oscar for his downbeat Western Unforgiven, which showed his tendency to subvert his tough guy status in intriguing ways. Another Oscar was awarded for boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, which he also starred in.

Also a big jazz fan, as is reflected in his choice of directing the Charlie Parker biopic Bird. Other films as director include the romantic Breezy, The Gauntlet, good natured comedy Bronco Billy, Honkytonk Man, White Hunter Black Heart, The Bridges of Madison County, OAPs-in-space adventure Space Cowboys, acclaimed murder drama Mystic River, complementary war dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima and harrowing true life drama Changeling. Many considered his Gran Torino, which he promised would be his last starring role (it wasn't), one of the finest of his career and he continued to direct with such biopics as Jersey Boys, American Sniper and The Mule to his name.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: