Eastwood: Turns out he’s a nice young man.

I haven’t even seen a film yet.  I was chasing a deadline all day yesterday, missed my chance to hang with the guvnah at last night’s gala, and drove into town this morning and straight to the Clinton Library to see the screenwriter’s panel.  Arkansas indie hearthrobs Jeff Nichols, Ray McKinnon and Graham Gordy dropped knowledge in spurts, attended by a game Brendan Foley (The Riddle) and the old hand Steve Marshall (“WKRP in Cincinnati”(!)). Still, screenwriting will remain an unwieldy beast. I wasn’t expecting Robert McKee.


The Charles B. Pierce/Harry Thomason conversation followed, and despite audience interaction, played out like something that might occur on a drowsy front porch in either the late evening or the very early morning.  At times, the talk was digressive to the point of incomprehensibility.  Endearingly, Pierce’s lovely wife kept butting in with fragments of this story and that, though the conversation rarely stayed on track. 

Thomason occasionally managed to reign it in enough for us to hear about his childhood friend’s knee-high cashflow, two ferraris, erstwhile frog-training skills, and honest-to-God belief in the Fouke monster. (Choice quote: “I saw it run so fast that its hair stood on end and trailed off behind it.”) We also got a chance to hear a little about Clint Eastwood and the Arkansas origins of one of the most famous quotes in cinematic history.  Apparently, Dirty Harry’s catchphrase was a favorite threat of Pierce’s grandfather.


After the talk, a beaming Brent Renaud presented Pierce with a lifetime achievement award and revealed that from now on the prize for best in festival from the Arkansas Program would be called the Charles B. Pierce Award.  I can think of no greater way to honor a man who created so much from so little. 

Up next: The results of the music video competition and Blood Car.

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