How did Clint Eastwood end up directing a Japanese language film about a battle during WWII? What does this film say about Japanese culture and its rituals, notably those during war? How strong is this cast led by Ken Watanabe? Tune in to this week’s show to get answers to these questions and more.

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For those of you who have yet to see “Million Dollar Baby,” you probably should just stop reading this and go watch the movie. Even though the movie is nearly 11 years old now, it’s still hard to talk about without going into detail about the change in story direction in the third act. That was a divisive problem at the time of the movie’s release, and while it shouldn’t be a problem now, it feels like it is. But we jump into all kinds of spoilers in our show this week. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our mysterious Guess the Connection series with Eastwood’s 2004 film “Million Dollar Baby.”

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“Pale Rider” marks Clint Eastwood’s 10th time directing himself in a film, something he went on doing until 2008’s “Gran Torino” and something he clearly knows how to do well. This seems to hold true especially in westerns, even though he only directed himself in four of them. Perhaps that’s because he had so much experience in them and learned from other directors like Sergio Leone how to stand, how to ride, how to stare, how to shoot on film. And while “Pale Rider” is an obvious retelling of the classic 1953 film “Shane,” it can stand on its own merits and doesn’t feel like a ripoff. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we come to the last film in our Richard Dysart series, 1985’s “Pale Rider.”

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For Clint Eastwood’s fifth directorial effort, he returned to one of the genres he’s most well-known for — the western — and created an absolute classic, The Outlaw Josey Wales. A western affected both by the revisionist movement within the genre that had been growing for nearly a decade as well as by the overall darker, more realistic tones exhibited in 70s cinema, this film took a lot of old elements from classic westerns and turned them on their heads: the Union soldiers are the bad guys, the outlaw is the hero, the Native Americans are not just real characters but actually integral to the story, and the final shootout takes an unexpected — and ultimately very gratifying — turn.

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