The Mule Reviewed

I've always had a love/meh relationship with Clint Eastwood. As a kid, I had no interest in him at all. He was just some “cowboy and cop actor” that my step dad watched a lot.

The only movie I can remember liking of his as a kid was A Perfect World but that's really more of a Kevin Costner movie that Clint directed so I never made much of Clint's involvement.


Then in my late teens I finally sat down and watched a little movie called Unforgiven. This was my gateway drug into the world of Clint Eastwood. I finally got it. This is why people love this guy. Unforgiven is one of the few Westerns I enjoy, to be honest, love. Clint has a way about him that you are just attracted to. His character in that movie, Bill Money, is not actually a good guy. He's a villain trying to make up for his past and become good. I think that's the key to Clint. He's not always the good guy, but you have a good time hanging with him.

    I believe the goodwill of Unforgiven's Oscar wins bought him the creative freedom to do whatever the hell he wants. While he had never gone without work, he made a lot of the same stuff over and over again. Basically cowboy and cop movies. While his next couple movies were in fact cop movies, it was 1995's Bridges of Madison County where I believe he really threw his weight behind saying I'm going to do whatever I want. I swear I will get to The Mule, hold on. It was from this point on that Eastwood's movies became more diverse.


He was just some

“cowboy and cop actor.”

He made romance movies (Bridges of Madison County), science fiction (Space Cowboys), biopics (Invictus, J.Edgar) and a lot of weepy dramas (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Hereafter, etc.) all to varying successes. Then came Gran Torino, another redemption story of an old racist who's heart grows three sizes by taking a young Asian man under his wing to learn that people of different cultures aren't so bad. Gran Torino was supposed to be his last role as an actor but he gave up on that notion by acting in 2012's Trouble With the Curve, which is too bad because that would have been an amazing way to go out. While his acting roles after Gran Torino are by no means bad, they just don't have the magic of that film.

    Now onto The Mule. The Mule is a bit of an odd duck of a movie. It's a movie of sweet, quiet moments of family drama and also some very tense moments. Then there's two scenes where we're supposed to believe that a 90 year old man can score threesomes. Those two scenes alone almost make me want to classify this movie as science fiction. This movie also has probably the cutest Mexican Cartel you ever did see. The cartel leader played by Andy Garcia has more mercy for his 90 year old drug mule than I have been given by some of my retail managers of past.

    The Mule starts with our protagonist, Earl Stone a great horticulturalist but a shitty family man. We see his business crumble because he couldn't change with the times and learn how to sell his flowers over that god damned internet thing. This comes at a particularly bad time because he's promised to help out with his granddaughter's wedding and now he doesn't have the scratch. What's a 90 year old with a clean driving record and an unassuming old truck to do? I know, run shit tons of cocaine across state lines for a drug cartel. After being spotted at a wedding rehearsal, Earl gets an offer he can't refuse. Drive some bags of “stuff” to Illinois and get paid nicely. It wasn't until drug run 3 or 4 that the old man finally decides to see what he is driving. Well it turns out to be a shit ton of Bolivian sneezing powder. A little shocked at first, he finally comes to the conclusion of fuck it. All I got to do is drive and drop off my truck for boat loads of money, sounds good to me.

- by “Dangerous” David Rodgers

John Maye