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Every Which Way But Loose(1978)
This unusual combination of bare knuckle fighting and lighthearted romp was also a comedic change of pace for its rugged star Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays trucker Philo Beddoe, a revered brawler who lives in a shack with his best pal's feisty, elderly mother (Ruth Gordon) and an orangutan, Clyde, who sips beer and thumbs his nose at authority. Philo is preparing for a bout against the wishes of his mother and his new love interest (Sandra Locke). If clashing with the women in his life weren't enough, he has to deal with his cocky opponent, gamblers, and a chopper gang who constantly harrass him. Fortunately, he does have Clyde backing him up as well as his trusty companion Orville Boggs (regular Eastwood collaborator Geoffrey Lewis).
This bizarre hick comedy was a surprise hit and spawned a sequel featuring many in the original cast. The country soundtrack combines the talents of Steve Dorff and Snuff Garrett and boasts a hit single by Eddie Rabbitt.
For more about Every Which Way But Loose and the Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray release, see Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 4, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis (I), Beverly D'Angelo, Ruth Gordon
Director: James Fargo
» See full cast & crew
Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray Review
Let loose with this beer guzzlin', honky tonkin' good time!
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 4, 2008
Guys like you don't understand goodbye.
Rounding out the decade that saw him make Harry Callahan a household name, steal Nazi gold, or run The Gauntlet, Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose proved to be quite the departure from his staple of Spaghetti Westerns and action pictures. A comedy at heart, but with a healthy dose of action and a hit Country & Western soundtrack, the film became the fourth-highest box office earner of 1978, beating out Jaws II, Halloween, and the year's best picture winner, The Deer Hunter, and it was bested only by three classics -- Grease, Superman, and Animal House. It would not only be the draw of the famed Eastwood that would pack theaters for Loose; the film is a fast-paced, genuinely funny road trip movie with memorable characters, a fine script, laugh-out-loud gags, a cute orangutang, and have I mentioned the beer yet?
Every Which Way But Loose stars Clint Eastwood as Philo, a brawling tuck driver always in search of the next woman, fight, and ice cold beer. He keeps his orangutang, Clyde, in nearly permanent tow, a prize he collected from one of his fights. One evening at the local honky tonk, Philo meets Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Sondra Locke), an up-and-coming country music singer who attaches herself to Philo almost immediately. Letting him in on her plan to purchase her own club in Denver, Lynn tells Philo she needs only a measly $7,000 to get the club up-and-running. Philo, after a run-in with some local neo-Nazi bikers known as the "Black Widows," presents to her some of the cash he earned from selling the bikes he took from them. Soon thereafter, Lynn disappears, and the love-struck Philo, Clyde, and Philo's friend Orville (Geoffrey Lewis, The Devil's Rejects) set out on a road trip to find her. The team finds itself chased by the Black Widows and a pair of police officers who have vowed to hunt Philo down after a brawl, all the while attempting to discover where Lynn has run off to -- and determine if her motives and feelings for Philo are true once and for all.
Before it settles nicely into its groove, Every Which Way But Loose is a bit of a meanderer, featuring a somewhat slow-to-develop rhythm. The film begins with a glimpse into Philo's life, setting up the character's skills, lifestyle, and temperament. It also begins the sometimes funny but ultimately unnecessary plot device revolving around Orville's mother and her quest to obtain a drive's license. It's not until the relationship between Philo and Lynn becomes serious does the movie gain steam. The film often feels more like a series of vignettes loosely, rather than coherently, tied together, one big montage of sorts with a central theme to bond it into a cohesive whole. That's not necessarily bad in a film like Every Which Way But Loose. It's more about the adventure and the laughs than it is a strong story arc, and presented with just enough exposition, the film's story line is good enough to keep the movie going. Ridiculous plot devices abound, but because the film never takes itself seriously, audiences easily overlook the coincidences and implausibility of much of the film and simply enjoy the ride. Every Which Way But Loose is the definition of the perfect time-waster, because that's all it sets out to be. With good performances all around, including that of Clyde the orangutang, this borderline classic from the late 1970s shouldn't leave too many audience members disappointed.
Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray, Video Quality
Every Which Way But Loose hits the road with its 1080p, 16x9 Blu-ray transfer. Every Which Way But Loose benefits from its Blu-ray release, visually. It's very clear and mostly clean, a solid transfer of an older title that is sure to please longtime fans. The film is covered in film grain over the opening credits and is sure to bother audiences in search of grain- and noise-free images. The grain does diminish drastically once the film gets going, however. It returns in a few spots, along with some print blemishes, but the movie is generally clear and pleasing to the eye. Colors are bold, first noticed by the very bright blue of Philo's work truck as seen at the beginning of the film. Black levels are solid, and flesh tones appear natural. Detail is moderately strong, but audiences wont be floored by the quality of this release. Some later scenes in the film, taking place in the great outdoors, offer, arguably, the finest imagery of the entire film with lush green grass, bright skies, and knee-deep water. The sequences offer the best depth of any segment of the film.
Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Every Which Way But Loose brawls onto Blu-ray with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The theme song that plays over the opening credits, appropriately titled "Every Which Way But Loose" and performed by Eddie Rabbitt, flows primarily from the center channel. Fidelity is acceptable, and the tune is pleasing, audibly, but certainly not all that dynamic from a technical perspective. The track doesn't offer much in the way of rousing effects; the TrueHD offering is a bit fuller than the other lossy 5.1, 2.0, and 1.0 mixes available on the disc, particularly with regard to the various Country and Western tunes heard throughout. The scenes at the honky tonk in chapter 6, particularly during Lynn Halsey-Taylor's act, represent one of the most impressive listens during the film. Sound effects, like the impact of punches during a brawl, the collision of automobiles, or some of the gunshots heard throughout the film, pack only a moderate punch, although a scene featuring motorcycles and a shotgun-blasting grandma in chapter 17 is fairly impressive. A few discrete effects spread into the front left and right speakers, and a few directional effects find their way into the back, including the revving of motorcycle engines or the sounds of an automated car wash in chapter 7, but the track is never all that compelling. Dialogue is generally clear, but lost under various effects at times.
Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Ain't nuttin' to see round these parts. Ya'll move along now, ye hear?
Every Which Way But Loose Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's a wonder it took those good old boys from out yonder in Cal-i-forn-i-a as long as it did to reckon just what would make the zaniest movie ever. With plenty of good old-fashioned country music, including a cameo by the great Mel Tillis, a shotgun-toting grandma, a neo-Nazi motorcycle gang, bar brawls, cute little ladies in tight-fitting outfits, an orangutang, Clint Eastwood, and beer (lots and lots and lots of beer!), it's no wonder that Every Which Way But Loose was the surprise hit of 1978. The film is nothing more than a good time, and never attempts to be anything more than a movie that offers just the right mix to relax with after a tiring day on the job. Warner Brothers makes the decision to add this disc to your collection an easy one. Featuring solid picture quality, an adequate lossless soundtrack, and a very nice price that makes the sting of the lack of bonus materials fade away, Blu-ray enthusiasts should find enough here to their (and their wallet's) liking. Kick off the boots, grab a cold one, prop up the feet, throw Every Which Way But Loose into the Blu-ray player, and enjoy. Recommended.
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