As I was recently pondering some headline news, and being the stalwart fan of old westerns that I am, I noticed a correlation between those newsworthy happenings and the movie title, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. I suppose Clint Eastwood, the star of the classic western, could even be thought of in that same manner. He has proven to be a good actor, director, writer, and musician over his extended stellar career. On the contrary, Mr. Eastwood has made what I perceive as a couple of bad career decisions lately. Lending his talents to a reality television series, Mrs. Eastwood & Company, in which he is now divorcing the show’s main star, Dina Eastwood, and talking to an empty chair, at the 2012 Republican National Convention, is not his best work. Clint Eastwood’s personal life, with his numerous failed relationships and unsuccessful marriages, and with his notable history of infidelity and womanizing is downright ugly. Still, the multiple Oscar winner remains a favorite of mine, along with Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford, and I’ll take the abilities of those aging superstars over the new breed of young actors any day of the week.
Speaking of stars, the National Football League recently suspended the Baltimore Ravens’ talented running back, Ray Rice, for two games. He allegedly punched his then fiancée, Janay Palmer, in the face during an elevator ride at a casino sometime last February. The only video footage of the incident, made available to the public anyway, is that of Mr. Rice dragging the seemingly unconscious Ms. Palmer out of the elevator. Many people have been extremely critical of the player’s evidently lenient punishment, especially the media and many women’s organizations, but I have no problem whatsoever with the sentence handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I don’t think any of us should. The police say the couple attacked each other, the “victim” did not press charges against the NFL star, and she even chose to marry him after the incident, so who are we to come to her defense and demand that more be done. Besides, any additional football games, Ray Rice could be suspended from, would only further reduce his income which is ultimately used to support his now wife (aka victim). The Ugly.
Let me be perfectly clear here. I was properly raised to never hit a female, and I never have. Today’s world is very different though, and some women have no second thoughts about getting into a physical altercation with a man. If a woman truly desires equality then she should never be able to place her hands on her counterpart, in a threatening manor, as well. When Inspector Harry Callahan (aka Dirty Harry) is confronted by an abusive female lunatic in the movie, Sudden Impact, he has no qualms about punching her smack dab in the face. I must admit I find that particular scene in the movie to be quite amusing, and dare I say that his actions were justifiable. We don’t precisely know what happened, in that casino elevator back in February, between the Ravens’ running back and his fiancée, so I think we should all just leave the presumably “happy couple” alone. The Bad.
James and Lois Garner, on the other hand, were undoubtedly a very happy couple. Their incredible 58 years of marriage sadly came to an end with the passing of Mr. Garner on July 19th, 2014. The couple’s lengthy relationship was a rarity in today’s society and absolutely unheard of in Hollywood. James Garner left behind a substantial film and television career, and he coincidentally starred with the aforementioned Clint Eastwood in the movie, Space Cowboys. The beloved actor will forever be remembered, by me at least, as Jim Rockford of the hit TV series, The Rockford Files . The private investigator with a criminal past was a different type of heroic character found on television, but Mr. Garner played that role perfectly. Rockford was irritable, somewhat brash, and a remarkable con artist, and let’s not forget about his unregistered gun, hidden in the cookie jar, or that gold Pontiac Firebird he drove the crap out of. However, at the end of the day the cranky P.I. inevitably listened to his conscience and cared deeply for those nearest and dearest to him.
The Tavis Smiley Show recently aired an interview with James Garner, from approximately a decade ago, and I have a newfound respect for the man (not just the actor) that he was. He said respect and commitment to each other was the successful formula behind his extended marriage to Lois. He also joked that the reason he keeps getting up and going to work, instead of retiring, is because his wife keeps getting up and going shopping. Mr. Garner was on Tavis in part to promote the release of the movie, The Notebook. I’m usually not a fan of “chick flicks,” but I might be willing to give the film a chance since the actor spoke so fondly of it. Just don’t tell my lovely wife… in case I change my mind. I would venture to say James and Lois Garner never once struck each other during their long-lasting marriage. The Good.