Clint Eastwood, age 88, has yet another hit on his hands. The filmmaker’s latest, “The Mule,” has earned over $81 million already and remains in the top 10 on the domestic box office chart after more than two weeks in release.
The film marks Eastwood’s first acting role since 2012’s “Trouble with the Curve,” and its box office tally proves audiences are still eager to se Eastwood as a leading man.
The “Dirty Harry” actor stars as Earl Stone, a military veteran who finds himself desperate enough in his twilight years to begin running drugs for a Mexican drug cartel. The film is based on a true story; Eastwood directs the picture from a script by Nick Schenk, who also scripted Eastwood’s 2008 hit “Gran Torino.”
Upon initial release, “The Mule” earned some criticism from the more left-leaning critics. Some criticized the movie and its lead character for being politically incorrect, as well as the film’s willingness to acknowledge Mexican cartels and drug running within the United States.
None of that has stopped the movie from earning money. The $50 million production has defied expectations and become a sleeper hit at the box office. It’s another box office win for Eastwood, who also recently oversaw major hits like “American Sniper” and “Sully.”
“The Mule” earned a majority of positive reviews from both professional critics and voting users on Rotten Tomatoes.
Cinemascore — which asks opening weekend audiences to grade a movie — reports that paying customers gave “The Mule” an A-.
So one may ask: Why has this movie received no major awards attention? It was released on December 14, a prime time to be noticed by awards voters, but it was up for no Golden Globes over the weekend.
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To give that more perspective, “The Mule” has earned more than two of the films that were nominated for Best Motion Picture — Drama (“BlacKkKlansman,” “If Beale Street Could Talk”) and three of the movies nominated for Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Drama (“Vice,” “Green Book,” “The Favourite”).
Eastwood would have been a welcome addition to the Golden Globes telecast. Celebrities spent their time on the ceremonial stage either bashing Republicans, spreading identity politics, or simply being flat-out boring.
There are a variety of reasons why Hollywood is snubbing “The Mule” — and most of them are political.
While Eastwood remains incredibly popular with paying moviegoers, he’s been called out more frequently for being one of the few right-leaning thinkers in Hollywood. Not the typical Trump-basher, Eastwood has classified himself as a libertarian; and his films never get boxed in by the winds of politics or by any pressure to be “woke.”
This is where more problems arise for “The Mule.” People criticized it for its lack of political correctness — plus it takes on an issue that involves border security and the drug war, two subjects Hollywood leftists likely want to avoid right now.
If Sunday night’s telecast of the Golden Globes proved anything, though, it’s that Hollywood awards shows are becoming increasingly irrelevant. They don’t hold the same kind of weight in today’s entertainment industry as they once did.
Everyday people don’t support their favorite movies with votes for some fancy award. They vote by using their wallets — and that’s exactly what folks are doing with “The Mule.”
For more on “The Mule,” check out an original song that country star Toby Keith made for the film: