I've been going through my files lately, determined to get more posts up than I did last year. I found this folder simply marked AWWYC, checking it out I found some great photos that simply had to be shared. I can't for the life of me remember where they came from, but a big thank you to whoever uploaded them to the net. I have also included some original reviews to accompany the photos.
Clint Eastwood's "Any Which Way You Can" is not a very good movie, but it's hard not to feel a grudging affection for it. Where else, in the space of 115 minutes, can you find a country & western road picture with two fights, a bald motorcycle gang, the Mafia, a love story, a pickup truck, a tow truck, Fats Domino, a foul-mouthed octogenarian, an oversexed orangutan and a contest for the bare knuckle championship of the world?
The movie seems designed as a free-association exercise involving all of the above elements, in no particular order. That gives it a certain clarity of form. It opens, for example, with a bare-knuckle fight between Eastwood and someone else (Who else? Doesn't matter). While Eastwood is slugging it out, his highly intelligent orangutan, Clyde, is relieving himself in the front seat of a state police car. And somehow we know-never mind how, we just know-that one of the reoccurring themes of this movie is going to be Orangutan Crap In Squad Cars. We are correct. It's that kind of movie. After the big fight, Eastwood returns to his home, which seems to be an Okie hovel somewhere in a large Western state. He still lives with Ma, played by Ruth Gordon as a cross between Ma Kettle and Ma Barker. Clint and his partner, Orville Boggs, spend all day hard at work banging on things with wrenches.
Occasionally Clyde amuses himself by ripping apart old Mercurys with his bare hands. Then the Mafia decides to set up a bare-knuckle fight between Eastwood and the defending eastern champion, a guy named Jack Wilson. It was to my immense delight that I immediately recognized the actor playing Jack Wilson. He was William (Big Bill) Smith, who played a lot of motorcycle gang leaders in films of the late 1960s, and still looks as fearsome as ever. He and Eastwood meet while out jogging one morning, and then he falls off a cliff and is rescued by Eastwood, after which he beats up a lot of guys who insult Eastwood's girlfriend in a bar. All in a day's work.
The girlfriend is played by Sondra Locke, who was also in "Every Which Way But Loose," the prequel to the present film. You gotta give Eastwood and Locke credit. Unlike Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, who spent the first half of "Smokey and the Bandit, Part Two" holding a deep, Interpersonal philosophical argument about the issues raised by their relationship in "Smokey and the Bandit, Part One," Eastwood and Locke don't agonize over their reunion. Two minutes after their reunion in a country & western bar, Locke is being consoled by Eastwood's orangutan. Ten minutes later, they're starting a riot at the YWCA. It's that kind of movie.
Anyway, the Mafia kidnaps Sondra Locke in order to force Eastwood to fight. Then Big Bill Smith and Eastwood wipe out the Mafia, but decide to fight anyway. It is some fight. It's one of those-brawls where every time somebody gets hit on the chin, it sounds like they're beating the hell out of a Naugahyde sofa with a Ping-Pong paddle.
If we had any slight lingering doubts that this was a Clint Eastwood movie, they are dispelled when Eastwood breaks his right arm during the fight, gets up off the floor and growls, "It's not over yet."
In addition to the orangutan crap in the squad cars, the other reoccurring motif of "Any Which Way" is, I suppose, the music. The original movie was launched to an enormous box office success by the release of the hit country single, "Every Which Way But Loose," by Eddie Rabbit. Everybody but Mr. Rabbit turns up in this one: There are songs and/or appearances by Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Jim Stafford (who sings "Cow Patti"), Johnny Duncan, Gene Watson, Sondra Locke, Clint Eastwood ("Beers to You"), David Frizzell ("You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma") and Cliff Crofford ("The Orangutan Hall of Fame").
Of the whole crowd, Fats Domino is the most inexplicable. What in the world is Fats Domino doing in a Clint Eastwood C & W action movie, wearing a cowboy hat and singing "Whiskey Heaven"? I guess it's just that kind of movie. (Roger Ebert December 18th 1980)
Bare-knuckle boxer Philo Beddoe aims to retire from the game. But when the Mafia kidnap his ex-girlfriend, and force him to take part in the illegal championship of the world, he and orang-utan pal Clyde must set off in their pick-up truck to set things right.
No actor with a career quite as exulted and varied as Clint Eastwood, can, at the same time, boast an aberration as bizarre as his orang-utan years. Chimp-friendly Ronald Reagan may have become president but he never directed Unforgiven. And, while there may have been something perversely pleasurable in the original’s knockabout gusto, did we really need a sequel? The powers that be thought so, and thus we got this, about the dumbest movie Clint Eastwood ever put his name to.
Just counting off the gumbo of ingredients gives you an idea of what kind of madcap thinking was or, indeed, wasn’t going on around here. Again, we have our sturdy, do-the-right-thing kinda hero who happens to be a bare-knuckle boxer, getting by on the dustier side of the tracks. He also owns an orang-utan called Clyde, both cute and memorable, but actually not exactly the point.
This does grant us the thinly comic exercise of veteran actress Ruth Gordon as the cuss-ready Ma Boggs, berating Clyde’s lack of house-manners. The gang of idiot Hell’s Angels are back and, following a mishap involving tar, now have to don wigs. There’s also the re-smouldering of Philo’s lurve for country and western crooner Lyn, cameos from Fats Domino and Ray Charles and a bare-knuckle fight that seems to go on forever, even though the participants have become fast friends. Any which way you can, it seems, was both title and ethos for Buddy Van Horn. As long as it’s delivered with a quick-grin, yeehaw sensibility that demands they’re only messing about with a camera.
Something the original did actually pull off, as there was a sense of commitment to its own oddity. Now, after Every Which Way But Loose became a big hit, that oddity is being treated like process. The jokes are contrived, where before they eagerly slipped out of the rough-hewn situations. Eastwood, meanwhile, is at his sleepiest, leaving any emoting to Clyde, who proves the only one who manages to get a grip. (Ian Nathan, Empire)
Clint Eastwood and his orangutan sidekick return for more boozing and street brawling in Any Which Way You Can, a redundant Buddy Van Horn-helmed sequel in which Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) and pet monkey Clyde find themselves embroiled in a high-stakes fight against legendary fisticuffer Jack Wilson (William Smith). A slightly sloppier rehash of Any Which Way But Loose, this second team-up between Eastwood and a primate also includes Sondra Locke and Geoffrey Lewis as Philo’s country music-singing love interest and trusty friend, respectively, as well as the slapsticky Black Widow Nazi gang. Perhaps the most disposable film Eastwood has ever made.
Any Which Way You Can delivers its share of moderately humorous gags involving Clyde’s “right turn” punch and Philo’s crotchety Ma (the always funny Ruth Gordon) while never transcending – or even barely improving upon – its superior predecessor. With that said, however, such been-there, done-that monkeying around is still made moderately amusing by Eastwood’s “I can’t believe I’m in another one of these movies” eye rolls. (Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness)
Any Which Way You Can is a benign continuation of Every Which Way But Loose.
Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Ruth Gordon and numerous supporting players all repeat their characterizations from the first outing to similar effect. Main difference is that individuals this time seem almost forgiving, loving and considerate.
Eastwood’s Philo Beddoe swears off his lucrative sideline career, better to settle down with Ma Gordon, a significantly tamed Locke and orangutan chum Clyde. However, the mob makes him an offer he can’t refuse to battle he-man William Smith, and the two, despite having become good pals, end up in an epic brawl.
Original ape from Loose was not available to Eastwood here, but substitute performs heroically.
Variety, DECEMBER 31, 1980
Eastwood at his least appealing in a poor sequel to the already disappointing redneck comedy of Every Which Way But Loose. The story is similarly thin - trucker Eastwood, accompanied by his orang-utan buddy Clyde, gets involved in repetitive brawls with sundry unsavoury brutes - while the humour is far too broad and the direction plodding. (Time Out)
The 1980 sequel to Every Which Way but Loose, and a better film—smoother, more controlled, with more time for the casual elucidation of place and character. Though it's a loud, vulgar, and occasionally brutal comedy, it never succumbs to the fashion for facetiousness: Clint Eastwood always takes his work seriously, even in a relatively impersonal project like this, and there are moments of moving emotional candor amid the slapstick, flashes on loneliness, forgiveness, and loyalty. No great shakes, but it's rare to see a crowd pleaser with even this level of integrity. I find the milieu—blue-collar California—fascinating in itself, and it is well invoked by William Creber's production design. Buddy Van Horn, a former second-unit man, took the director's credit on this one, though his open, elegant framing is suspiciously close to Eastwood's own. With Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, William Smith, and Ruth Gordon. 116 min. (By Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)
CLINT EASTWOOD must have been crazy to make a dopey, disorganized movie in which he co-starred with an orangutan, right? Crazy like a fox, as it turned out. ''Every Which Way but Loose'' made more money than any previous Eastwood venture. And the sequel, ''Any Which Way You Can,'' may be headed in the same direction.
The trouble - if you can call it trouble - is that the new film is better and funnier than its predecessor; either that, or intentional jes'-folks stupidity is beginning to look better than the inadvertent kind. In any case, ''Any Which Way You Can'' is a loose, lighthearted Eastwood vehicle aimed at the good-timey sector of this actor's audience, which is a much larger group than the more serious crowd that made ''Bronco Billy'' a critical success and a commercial failure.
The real star of this series is Clyde the orangutan, and it looks as if Clyde has another hit on his hairy hands. Clyde's role has been expanded this time, and Ruth Gordon's has been made smaller, all of which makes the formula much more fun. This time, Clyde is seen dismantling a Cadillac, coolly slugging anyone who annoys Mr. Eastwood, and sneaking off to relieve himself in police cars. (Nobody said this was drawing-room humor.) Miss Gordon, who plays Mr. Eastwood's mother, is hardly seen at all, although one of her appearances is scarily memorable. A man with a yen for Miss Gordon (nobody said this was believable, either) imagines Bo Derek's body with Miss Gordon's face atop it. This image is much more frightening than anything ''Friday the 13th'' or ''Halloween'' had to offer.
The plot, which is not exactly a plot, has Mr. Eastwood's Philo Beddoe, a bare-knuckle fighter, lining up for his last big bout, on which a lot of money is being wagered. Money doesn't mean much to Philo, or else why would he live with his raunchy Ma and straight-man brother (Geoffrey Lewis) in a ramshackle house with large heaps of junk on the front lawn? Nah, what matters to Philo are a good beer and a good time, his ape (Clyde) and his woman (Sondra Locke). Sometimes these things get a little mixed up, as on the morning when Miss Locke and Mr. Eastwood and Clyde all wake up together, arm in arm in arm. More often, it all just makes for good clean fun.
The goon squad of motorcyclists who were after Philo in the first film have been turned into clowns this time; in fact, everyone in the entourage has cleaned up his or her act. Miss Locke sings a little better. Clyde's comic timing is much improved. Mr. Eastwood's timing is a marvel, and the film capitalizes on his talent for getting the most done with the least effort. His dry, dry humor works to hold the movie together, because it's the one thing that unites its disconnected elements. When the movie finally gives way to a long, concluding fight sequence between Mr. Eastwood and William Smith it turns a little dull despite all the huffing and puffing. Mr. Eastwood is best when his tiny, understated mannerisms are given their full chance to register.
The movie's comedy is at its best, which is also its most crude, in a motel sequence, with Mr. Eastwood and Miss Locke in one room, Clyde and another primate next door, and two bewildered tourists from the Middle West on the other side of the wall. Amour is one of the things the film appears to believe in. Fun is another, and fighting a third, and perhaps beer and music have their place in the scheme. But that's all; there's nothing more. A lot of people agreed with these notions the last time. Maybe they're still out there, and still in the mood for that same simple news.
''Any Which Way You Can'' is rated PG (''Parental Guidance Suggested''). It contains a little violence and some sexual innuendoes, most of them having to do with Clyde. (By JANET MASLIN, New York Times, Published: December 17, 1980)
At first I was a little concerned about this sequel. Sondra Locke comes back, and that seems pretty fishy because she totally screwed Philo over in the first one. She was not a good person and nobody in their right mind would think “why didn't those two crazy kids work it out?” So I was a little disappointed in Philo for forgiving her, and maybe in Clint for casting her. It smelled like girlfriend nepotism.
But by the end I realized that this letting-bygones-remain-in-their-original-state-of-being-bygones business is the central theme of the movie and the reason why it’s so enjoyable. It’s about friendship and bonding and forgiveness, about enemies becoming buddies. When moustache-sporting tough guy William Smith shows up in town and goes jogging with Philo you know right away that he’s gotta be the big mafia-sponsored underground fighting opponent Wilson coming to spy on Philo. That’s easy to predict. What’s not as expected is that they instantly like each other, and it stays that way. They help each other out and there’s a lot of talk of owing one and being even, but it seems to me that’s all a front. There’s just no animosity between them, nothing but professional respect and a shared disgust for the people they’re working for. I didn't pick up on that at first. I thought Philo would outsmart Wilson and show him up. Maybe he could if he wanted to, but he respects him too much. When they finally do have their fight you’re not rooting for one side like you traditionally do in a fight movie. They’re not fighting for any kind of grudge or to prove anything, but just out of love for their sport of bare knuckle boxing.
At the end (SPOILER) even the Black Widows, who have been at war with Philo for two movies and have been repeatedly humiliated (as well as had their property destroyed) decide they like Philo so much they endorse him for president. That’s the real message of the movie, that anybody can get along, even if they've been punching each other in the face or tricking each other into being covered in tar. In retrospect I realize this is all established in the song over the opening credits, a country duet between Ray Charles and Clint himself (!) called “Beer’s To You.” The song is about how Ray and Clint are amigos because of all they've been through. They even reminisce about roughing up the locals at a bar in Tucson and then buying them beers all night. That’s the philosophy of the movie.
I bet it’s nurture, not nature. It’s the community he lives in that fosters his Beer’s To You attitude. Philo gets in a lot of fights but I think he lives in a tolerant part of rural California, considering they let him bring Clyde in the bar. In fact, Clyde comes in on his own sometimes and most people know better than to bother him. And incidentally I want to mention that even regardless of their liberal orangutan policies this town has the world’s greatest country dive bar, considering that Fats Domino himself performs there. No cover either.
There’s a few things I want to discuss about that jogging scene. First of all, I'm surprised that Clint would run that many miles out into the desert wearing jeans. He should probably get a track suit or some sweats like Shaft had when he went jogging before he went to Africa. I know Philo has his image to hold up but seriously, it would be more comfortable. Secondly, I like how when Wilson asks him if he can join him Philo says “Hell yes!” If he just said “Yes” that would be normal but for some reason he’s being emphatic about it. Is it because he knows who he is and wants to use the opportunity to scope him out? I think it probably is. Or maybe he has no idea and just likes the idea of jogging with a total stranger. Either one fits the “Beer’s To You” philosophy. A random dude with a moustache wants to jog with me? Sounds great! Oh, he’s the guy I have to fight who is possibly going to kill me? No problem, let’s hit the road!
The director is an old Clint Eastwood buddy, Buddy Van Horn. He’s a stuntman who doubled for Clint going back to COOGAN’S BLUFF. He was second unit director for MAGNUM FORCE and a couple other ones, then he directed this, THE DEAD POOL and PINK CADILLAC. I wonder if him and Clint started out as enemies and then became friends? If so it’s not mentioned on his IMDB trivia.
I have to say though that Orville gets kind of screwed in this movie. He gets left behind a bunch and they even mention that he feels kind of left out since Philo is back with Lynn. And they don’t mention it but Echo has disappeared since the last one and there is no new lady in his life. He’s still the trusty sidekick but it seems to me like he doesn’t get as much amigo acknowledgment as he ought to. It seems like Clyde and Wilson get all the credit as Philo’s cool friends, but Orville is always there for him. Orville would and in fact does take a bullet for him in the line of friendship. So really that “Beer’s To You” song I think should be primarily dedicated to Orville while also acknowledging the contributions of “Right Turn” Clyde and “We’re Even” Wilson.
ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN is broader and maybe a little sloppier than the first one, but I think I like it even better just because it has such a warm feeling to it. It makes me want to take a friendly swing at it and then help it up and buy it a drink.