Every Which Way But Loose [1978]

Clint Eastwood's 1978 comedy introduces Filo Beddoe, a truck driver and mechanic whose daily life is an absurd grind. He's constantly coming up short on money, love, and anything else to help him get through the day, while also saddled with a loony mother (deliciously played by Ruth Gordon), a best friend (Geoffrey Lewis) who's not too swift on the uptake, and an orangutan named Clyde who fights almost as well as Clint. While moonlighting as a bare-knuckle fighter, Clint finally meets the girl of his dreams (Sondra Locke), a snooty country singer who rebuffs him even as he pursues her, trailed by bikers and brawlers. It's Eastwood's magnetism and charm that make this more than a mere string of comic sketches, and things move along quickly enough to be entertaining, if a little thin. Clyde is a natural scene-stealer, but it's Ruth Gordon's crazy, cranky old coot who steals the movie. --Robert Lane

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