Addicted to This Movie
R. W. Rasband | Heber City, UT | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a huge Clint Eastwood fan, and I enjoy watching and discussing his deep, dark movies like "The Beguiled" and "Unforgiven." But my guilty secret is: whenever "Any Which Way You Can" show up on cable TV, I get a big goofy grin on my face, drop everything I'm doing, and watch it. I realize this film is an acquired taste, but I *love* it. It's my redneck roots coming out. The overage bikers, Clyde the orangutang, William Smith, crazy old Ruth Gordon, Geoffrey Lewis, Clint crooning with Ray Charles on the soundtrack, even Sondra Locke's singing and acting (which comes off as enjoyably campy in this context)--it's all great! And I love the message of "we rustic rural types are just as interesting as anybody else" (because these *are* my people, as I've said.) I don't think Eastwood has made a more enjoyable movie."
Clint and his monkey, part deux...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, yes, I know...an orangutan is not a monkey...as I stated in my review of the first film, Every Which Way But Loose (1978), `Clint and his orangutan' just doesn't have the same zing...anyway, the gang from the immensely popular first film is back (well, nearly the whole gang, as the original orangutan who appeared as Clyde was replaced in this one with a younger ape), helmed by, in his directorial debut, Buddy Van Horn, who would later direct Clint Eastwood in two more films, The Dead Pool (1988), and Pink Cadillac (1989), before returning to what appears to be his true calling in performing and coordinating stunts. Returning with Eastwood is Sondra Locke (The Gauntlet), Geoffrey Lewis (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot), Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude), and John Quade (Rancho Deluxe) as Cholla, leader of the Black Widows motorcycle gang. Also appearing is B movie veteran (look it up, he's been in like 150 films, many you probably never heard of) William Smith (Conan the Barbarian) and Harry Guardino (The Enforcer).
It seems Philo (Eastwood) is looking to retire from bare knuckle street fighting, not because he's growing tired of it, but because, as he says, he's beginning to like the pain (a concept I won't claim to understand, but then again, there's a whole lotta things in this great wild world that confound, confuse, and perplex me, so I won't argue the point). Well, shortly after his self-imposed retirement, he's approached by some Mafioso types who are interested in having Philo go against their street fighting champion from the East, Jack Wilson, played by Smith (well, they never referred to him as `the champion', but the idea is pushed that the mob guys had to come out West to look for new action as Wilson has beaten nearly everyone worth beating in the East). They make Philo an offer he can't refuse, namely offering him a load of dough, and Philo initially accepts, but then decides against it as those around him, including Lynn (Locke), whom he made up with since the last film, are concerned that Philo may get seriously injured. Well, as you can imagine, the mob guys don't take this news too lightly, and take matters into their own hands, trying to force Philo into an East vs. West knock down, drag out, bare knuckle brawl against Wilson, whom I will say seems to live up to his reputation as a crippler. Oh yeah, the Black Widows are back, still smarting from their previous encounters with Bedoe, still looking for payback.
While Any Which Way You Can didn't match the success of the first film, that's small potatoes as it still was very popular, making a boatload of dough (I've read somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million compared to Every Which Way But Loose's $100 million dollar return...keep in mind these are late 70's, early 80's dollars we're talking about). That's good enough to give any studio executive the warm fuzzies, but is the film any good? I think so...despite changing directors and storywriters (Jeremy Joe Kronsberg, writer of the original was replaced by Stanford Sherman, who would later pen the films Krull and The Ice Pirates), the filmmakers seemed to try and keep the original formula intact, for the most part. The film obviously displays a bigger budget, but I felt a little of the intimacy was lost between some of the characters, due to the fact the cast was expanded, featuring a great deal of different, often crazy characters (even the Black Widow gang seems to have increased their membership). Did this ruin the film? Certainly not, but I missed Lewis and especially Gordon's characters not getting as much attention as they did in the first film (Gordon tended to steal most all the scenes she was in with regards to the first). Speaking of Gordon's character of Ma, we learn she actually has a real first name in that of Zenobia...seems oddly appropriate. And is it me, or do orangutans like to kiss an awful lot? Seemed Clyde was always interested in smooching on someone, even in the first film. Nothing sez lovin' like a big, wet, hairy orangutan kiss...as with the first, Any Which Way You Can features some truly wonderful songs performed by artists like Glen Campbell, Fats Domino, Johnny Duncan, and John Durrill, and also features a duet between Ray Charles and Eastwood himself, played over the opening credits. Between you and me, I sing about as good as Clint Eastwood, which is to say not very good, but good enough to get by if I had Ray Charles backing me up. I think the thing that really makes this film work, as was true of the first film, is Clint Eastwood's seemingly inherent genial, amiable, and genuine qualities that come through the character of Philo Beddoe. He appears to be a generally nice guy, content to live his life, ape by his side, never meaning no harm, that is unless you do him, or his, wrong. Seriously, if you had to pick someone to back you up in a fight, wouldn't you choose Philo (I wouldn't choose Orville, as he's certainly loyal, but can't fight for snot, but he is good for taking a bullet, so I may reconsider)?
The wide screen (1.85:1) picture looks very good on this DVD, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound comes through reasonably clear. Special features include a theatrical trailer for the film, production notes, and a filmography for Eastwood (these are the exact same features as are on the DVD release of Every Which Way But Loose, except the production notes obviously differ, and are a bit skimpier here). It's too bad Warner Brothers cheaped out on including some more worthwhile features, like a cast commentary track, but I suppose that will come in a later, anniversary release (then again, probably not as Warner Brothers is notorious for their lack of extras)...oh well...it's still a great film.
Right turn, Clyde
Naomi Tilley | Victoria, Australia | 05/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great movie, even if it is a sequel, and even if it is a little bit on the thin and choppy side.
It opens in classic style, with Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) getting ready to take down another sucker at yet another fight, and just rolls along from there. The main gist of the movie that Beddoe is recruited for a major fight, against a man from the East who has a nasty reputation for crippling and killing his opponents.
At first Beddoe agrees to the match, but with the resurfacing of his relationship with old girlfriend Sondra Locke, he eventually decides the risks are too high. Desperate to stage the fight, and save their own rears, the two crooks running the show kidnap Philo's girl in an effort to force his hand.
The rest is somewhat predictable, but fun to watch regardless....
There are a few side stories on the go as well - particularly, Clyde's interest in the newest addition to the orangutan enclosure at the zoo, and Ma's wild ride in the pick-up truck with a car wreck hooked up to the back (at least, at the start of her trip).
Also, if nothing else, it's worth watching for the insane antics of the Black Widows bikers' gang. These scene stealers get plenty of air time, and are worth every minute of it - especially their hapless leader.
Scenes to watch for - the tar scene, and every time Clyde gets into a police car.
This is a movie to sit back and roar laughing at. Forget logic. Just enjoy yourself."