Richard Jewell - Clint Eastwood and the 1996 Atlanta bombing

Fake news, right?

They started filming this in June!

Clint doesn’t have time to screw around for 3 years. I like these relatively unambitious, hero-a-year-movies. They are light, but nourishing, and I appreciate additional attention being give to the 15:17 to Paris boys, Sully, and Richard Jewell. I don’t quite fit American Sniper in with these as that was obviously a larger budget movie intended for a broader audience.

More Sam Rockwell is also always welcome.

My first intro to the FBi was them showing up to our house looking for my dad post-bombing. Definitely going to watch this.

O.k, you can’t leave that history hanging without explaining the rest of the story!

Oh, sure. I was writing on it anyway, so I’ll throw you the spiel. Bolded is the part that you’re interested in.

In my own life, my father (God bless him), has been a bit of a miscreant. He chased off my brother with a shotgun (so I never got to grow up with him), claims to have slept with over 600 women, and has been married, I believe 15 or 16 times now. Often these romantic liaisons were to help him feel better about himself, as well as to provide financial gain. For example, my father does not drink, but he does frequent bars. He also works out and is an expert in practical fighting. A popular recreation for him was to go to bars, not drink, get a man to throw a punch at him in anger, and then beat the drunk guy up. Under ideal conditions, he could then take the woman that the man had been with, too.

But perhaps you’d like to know about him a little bit more. When I was young, FBI agents showed up at our house. I still remember the one, tall man, Special Agent in Charge James Cross. Why would the FBI show up to a house in Montana, far off the grid, where the family was carrying their water and had no electricity or telephone?

Well, why would a family live like that?

As it turns out, my father had, in the past, had many dealings with the FBI, working at times for them, and at times getting himself caught up in things that he probably shouldn’t have, which would then end up in him working for them again. God bless America. (This may explain his paranoia, emblematic of which was his refusal to drink any fluid which had left his sight.) And in this case, we have been under surveillance, and he was up to some things they considered to be squirrelly. In essence, it involved the fact that we’d been neighbors with the Atlanta Olympic Bomber (Eric Rudolph), that we’d suddenly moved when Eric had gone missing, and that my dad had been taking lots of groceries into the woods and coming back with none. (Cool story: I had noticed a surveillance truck through my telescope earlier in the month but had thought it was just random weirdos, since our county was full of them.)

Now what happened to us? Well, we found out about a secret, and my dad went and…made some money off of the FBI! As one does. Cash, of course. Later on, I talked to one of my many half-siblings and found out that this was not the first time that this had happened. In a previous marriage, my father had run into the house, cursing obscenities, yelling that they had to “get the $%$% out now,” and packed up the family and, as was his wont, moved from the Eastern side of the country to the remote areas of Montana. Apparently he was, at the time, involved with some of the Top-10 folks, some of whom were mysteriously ratted out. Hmmmm…and he was then able to buy a bunch of land, which was unusual given that he has a strong distaste for work.

So that’s one bit of his history. He didn’t go to Vietnam, which is weird, but he claims that he was handing out drugs on college campuses with the CIA. Who knows if that’s true. He lies to “stay in practice.” He once told me that he got a flat when he was going up the road due to it being freshly graded…I then drove up the same road and it wasn’t graded. But, as he notes, you have to practice to be perfect, and you need to get so good at it that you believe your own lies.

What sort of things does a father like this enjoy? One of his favorite times was when he slept with a Pan Am pilot’s wife and got caught. He ended up fine, but she lost out on everything. And as he noted with some smugness, “She had it coming.”

Another favorite of his was when he convinced a school teacher to marry him. One reason he’s done well with the FBI is because he is a chameleon, and has charm that’s on steroids. He can become whatever you’d want, and you’ll believe him over 10 people telling you horror stories about the truth. And so he convinced this woman to marry him. He convinced her to go to Ireland with him, to pack up and go. Well before the internet or cell service, this was a perfect situation for him. Once over there, one day, he told her that he was going on down to the pub. He took her passport. Her ID. Her money. He went and removed all of the money that he could from the bank accounts. He vanished, off to the next woman. For a man with no SSN and who uses fake identities better than a real one, this required little effort, but was a huge boost to his ego.

And so went his life. He was verbally abusive (always) and physically abusive almost never (can’t have the cops sniffing around), and the worst I ever got was a hurt wrist, praise God. He loved law and knowing it; he loved scams. He once got together with one of the heads of the Militia of Montana (MoM) and they concocted a scheme to defraud an elderly gal who made her money in real estate out of thousands of dollars, and he siphoned off huge numbers of bearer bonds. She died. I recall his fits of rage and cussing as he burst through the door one day with howls of, “She &^$%ing faked her own death! FAKED IT! That obituary was fake!” Yeah, he was the sort of guy who could get you to fake your own death once you realized what was going on.

His primary jobs throughout his life were in being someone else—being a personality. DJing and being a salesman worked well in that regard, and boy if he wasn’t good at it. He did take pride in the accomplishments of his children, and he ranked us and let us know our standings. This is probably a sufficient overview of how he was, but to be fair, he himself had a much worse family, and so the level of dysfunction is decreasing.

But he has certainly had an influence on his children, though he has admitted, “You can have a perfect father or a father who gives you the perfect example of what not to do, and you should be thankful for both.”

One day, he was on the phone with me, and commented on a girl I was seeing. “Wow, really? She’d see someone like you? I can imagine her giving me a cuddle, or your brother, but you?” Slightly amusing, this was common for all of my childhood. I’ve never had his dark complexion (he believes that I should use tanning wipes), his musculature (he’s built), or his charisma. He even noted on one of my friends, “I don’t understand why she’d be friends with you, but I bet you she’d like me.”

That… is a story.

Yeah, well, that was the good part of living with him. Still gonna see this movie day 1.


Rich probably got drunk with him some time in the past.

Fantastic story, man. My brush with Rudolph is a much simpler one. When I was a kid, my dad bought what eventually became 100 acres of land in Clay County, NC, with the goal of building a bunch of houses and getting rich. That didn’t happen. But while building 5 houses over 15-20 years and breaking even, I ended up spending about 4 months a year living with power (maybe) and no phone, TV or Radio, and the closest neighbors being 5 miles away. Quite the juxtaposition to the rest of the year when I was in school in Miami (during the Miami Vice timeframe).

Anyhow, Eric’s brother Daniel worked for my Dad on year on one of the building sites. Eric showed up and helped a few times, as well as just came over with Daniel to wait on him. Eric was close to my age so we hung out a few times and tromped through the woods together a few times.

Holy crap, man! That’s along the lines of, “Yeah, helped Osama whack some weeds, and then we went and visited this cool cave, but nothing too much, ya know, didn’t get to know the real him.”

Just wild. The only first-hand experience I had with him was watching him kill a copperhead. I did not know who he was; just that he was a neighbor. What’s really funny is that both of these stories involve not having modern amenities, but you were with him while he was honing his wilderness hide-and-seek skills.

I can’t even imagine that. How did you feel when you first found out about the things he was doing?

That bit of story is better than anything Clint Eastwood has ever directed. With the possible exception of Unforgiven.

Thanks for posting that, @Hal9000. When you say you’re “writing on it”, are you writing a book? Or is this just something personal you’re doing?


Well, I was like “Yeah, I could see that.” That was years later though, and I sure had become more jaded about people by that time. I mean we weren’t good friends or anything, More like it was so rare to have anyone when I was in the Mountains who I could hang with near my age that it was kind of an event you’d make time for at 13 to hang out and tromp in the woods. I mean, he was basically a nice quiet kid, very polite. And he was like 15 or something. I didn’t see (or don’t remember) any hint of any religious extremism. But bear in mind we were Catholic. I mean a kid who was the son of a real good family friend up there once said to me, in all honesty, “I’m so sorry that the head of your church is the anti-Christ” when I was like 10. So any Holy Roller Southern Baptist stuff was kind of par for the course. So anything like that I would have filed away in the “Sunday Go to Meetin’ Baptist” Category, me not being versed in Protestant nuances. :)

Is this the thread where we all finally realize that Qt3 is a collection of folks who knew Eric Rudolph?

I actually think Clint is almost completely unskilled as a director, although I like his movies (so I guess he has a decent storytelling judgment), and The Unforgiven is particularly poor but entirely masked by an amazing performance by Gene Hackman and its appealing revisionist grit.

Perfectly put. But in addition to Gene Hackman, I think it plays to a lot of its cast’s strength, including Eastwood himself. Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Saul Rubinek, Francis Fisher, the guys who played the Kid, who I don’t think we ever saw again? But, yeah, Hackman is the key to why Unforgiven works as well as it does.

I tried to watch The Mule and I couldn’t get though it. I just couldn’t do it.


I couldn’t get through The Mule either.

Eastwood’s worst movie that I did get through was Absolute Power. He completely wasted Gene Hackman on such a terrible script.

Edit: Just to say something positive though, I thought he did an amazing job with Sully. It was a fairly simple story that we all already knew, but he made it really compelling to watch. Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, and should be praising the script writer, Tom Hanks and the cinematographer, but I thought Scully was fantastic.

Jaimz Woovett, who was a personal acquaintance of mine at the time. We were working together as waiters at a small steak house in St. Catharines, Ontario (near Niagara Falls). He had an o.k. part in Dead Presidents (a Boyz in the Hood/Menace 2 Society riff) after that but never managed more than occasional bit pieces afterwards and was largely done by the turn of the century.

I watched the Mule and enjoyed the exchanges and budding camaraderie between Clint and the drug drop off guys, but the entire movie (like many of his) was very contrived and heavy-handed. I thought he gave a good personal performance that barely made his return from retirement worthwhile, but very forgettable movie.

I had a law school professor who was an absolute genius, and he adored Unforgiven. He also taught a class on Icelandic Bloodfeuds (in law school, go figure, but he was one of those geniuses where the law school basically said, “Just teach one basic law class, and then you can do whatever the hell you want with the rest of your time”).

He believed Unforgiven was a beautiful example of Icelandic bloodfeud culture, apparently.