From Spaghetti Western cowboy to octogenarian badass, Clint Eastwood knows how to adapt to the times. His career, as both an actor and director, has spanned more than five decades — and he’s still making movies. The 92-year-old’s most recent film, Cry Macho, premiered last year on HBO Max. But a different Eastwood flick is currently dominating on the streaming platform.
Clint Eastwood’s modern era of movies, like Gran Torino and Million Dollar Baby, re-established the evolving actor as a new type of leading man: one who is old, grumbly, and takes no sh*t. And 2018’s The Mule took that characterization to the next level. Eastwood, who was 88 years old at the time of filming, portrays Leo Sharpe, the real-life World War II vet turned cartel drug courier.
Based on the New York Times article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule,” The Mule follows the story of the semi-fictionalized Earl as he embarks on a series of cocaine runs for ruthless Mexican drug lords. DEA agents (played by Bradley Cooper, Lawrence Fishburne, and Michael Peña) eventually closes in on Earl, but not before the old timer enjoys some wild, lavish parties in Mexico — and even a (pretty unbelievable) threesome.
And while The Mule received mixed reviews upon its release, it’s found a new life on streaming. Available to watch on HBO Max, The Mule was the No. 1 movie viewed on the platform for the entirety of last week. (As of yesterday, it’s dropped to No. 2.) And that seems fitting: a second act for a film all about about second acts. And let’s hope Eastwood has many more acts left.