Clint Eastwood fans figured they had seen the last of the acting icon on the big screen.
The actor/director is 81, and his 2008 feature “Gran Torino” felt like a fitting final project for the legendary action hero. He didn’t hide his age or attempt to fit in with modern times. Instead, he used his salty demeanor to add texture to the story of an old man with enough courage left to protect his neighborhood from local thugs.
Turns out Eastwood threw us all a curveball. His latest big screen project finds him in front of the camera once more.
“Trouble with the Curve,” co-starring Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman, casts Eastwood as an aging baseball scout who uses his daughter (Adams) to help him rank new prospects.
“Curve” doesn’t feel like a departure from Eastwood’s screen persona. He’s grizzled and gruff, and when pushed he clearly will push back while acknowledging his frail state. The bigger picture is the romance between Adams’ character and the scout portrayed by Timberlake.
Critics used to look down their noses at Eastwood’s action films, dubbing the Dirty Harry franchise fascist and blasting him for his subdued acting style.
Now, every project he graces is considered “Oscar bait” until proven otherwise. That hardly seems an appropriate label for “Curve” based on the trailer. Looks like a quality crowd pleaser, one that tags the obvious demographics (Baby Boomers – Eastwood … 20-somethings – Timberlake) along the way.
The film arrives at the heat of baseball’s playoff scramble, roughly the same time last year’s “Moneyball” struck cinematic gold.
Win or lose, it’s still great to see Eastwood back where he belongs.
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies