Thursday, July 2, 2009

Get Off My Lawn...!

I was never a huge Clint Eastwood fan, and in fact with his "spaghetti westerns" and his squinty-eyed "Dirty Harry" characters I thought he was almost a parody of himself. And then about 14 years ago, Clint Eastwood changed somehow. The only way I can describe it is that he grew up. And now, just when I have discovered how wonderful an actor he is, he has decided to retire and will not be acting anymore. "Gran Torino" was his final film as an actor. If you haven't seen it yet, my gosh -- rent it. It's on DVD now.

In the movie, Clint plays Walter Kowalski, a bigoted veteran of the Korean War, and a retired employee of a Detroit auto manufacturing plant. A Hmong family from Southeast Asia moves in next door, and he is not happy about it. He calls them every racial slur he knows. So, be prepared. But the Hmong family is undeterred and they win him over with their warmth and hospitality, and he discovers he loves them more than he does his own family. He takes them under his wing and in return for their wonderful cooking and his favorite chicken dumplings, he teaches them how to survive in America.

Clint Eastwood is a once (still?) handsome man who obviously hasn't had any "work" done on his face. His face is his main acting tool and throughout the movie, watching his face is like listening to a symphony by Beethoven or Mozart. Where were the Oscar folks when the movies were being considered for best picture, best actor, best director, best producer, best screenplay ... heck, Clint even sings in this movie, and he hasn't done that since "Paint Your Wagon".

You will fall in love with Walter Kowalski when you watch this movie, and Clint Eastwood really brings him to life.

Walter Kowalski: "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vice grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."

Throughout the movie, Clint pays homage to almost every movie he has ever made. It's fun to watch for the scenes where he does this, and the ending will knock you right out of your socks. If you haven't seen it, you're in for a treat.

35 comments:

leilani said...

JO,i saw this and i loved it.. as a single parent for most of my three childrens lives I can vouch for the duct tape, wd-40 advice ! A real woman carries wd-40 =0) LOL

Jennifer D said...

You are always right on! I never was a Clint Fan until recently, although I love and actualy own "Paint Your Wagon". I have never found him attractive but I think his has come into his own as an actor. Like you said, he grew up. I love that he hasn't had work done, some celebs are lookin' mighty strange these days. I will watch Gran Torino ASAP.

Charles Gramlich said...

Naturally, I loved all the spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry movies. But I liked Gran Torino a lot too.

Mean Mama said...

Clint Eastwood is one of my all time favorite actors. I actually loved his squinty eyed Dirty Harry thing, and I'm laughed at because of it all the time. Thats ok. I don't care. I actually LIVED in Carmel Valley when he was the mayor! I was so excited about that. I never saw him though. I love everything he has done. Thanks for the review. I will be putting this in my Netflix que next to all of the Clint Eastwood movies I was watching again. Have you heard his music? He is an exceptional pianist. He did all of the music for his movie "Bridges of Madison County". Rent that one if you have not seen it. He is also a GREAT director in my opinion. If you come across any that he has directed and not acted in, you should give them a try.

*Super Star Sumz* said...

I enjoyed your post but I didn't actually like this movie. I thought the acting was sub-par and the story line did not flow as well as it could or should have. In actual fact I was rather disappointed.

But I guess, each to his own :)

I dip in and out of your blog and it always makes me smile when I read something that you've written. Thank you for sharing with the world.

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, we did rent it a few weeks ago. He played his part well, but I didn't like the movie too much - too violent for me.

The Panorama said...

Ok, will efinitely watch it:) Thanks for this post. I love reading film reviews.

the walking man said...

To them who think it to violent all i can say is it was made in Detroit and is an able reflection of what we see here every day.

But there are many Kowalski's here of every race.

I haven't seen it yet but I do like the reviews. I think he chose the Hmong, because they are the smallest racial population in Detroit. that's just a guess though.

In my mind his image began to turn with Pale Rider.

KathyB. said...

My husband , myself, our daughter and her husband LOVED this movie! Clint Eastwood could be my father and my husband's father combined ( my father looked very much like him),not politically correct, but men of much more heart and conviction than most of their modern ilk! Apt to seem harsh and judgmental, but quietly going about doing the right thing , sometimes in spite of themselves. I hope this generation does the same and maybe better.

PhilipH said...

You are, I presume, getting a handsome fee for your glowing review Jo. If not, then you deserve one.

I shall try to get the DVD after reading your succinct appraisal.

Clint is truly talented in my view. I thought his direction and acting in "Play Misty for Me" was superb. He's a genuine Hollywood "Great" - and no mistake!

Living Day to Day with Multiple Sclerosis said...

Jo! I too never really liked those movies either but my husband was and still is a big of his. I am the type of person that doesn't care for a show or movie until right before the end of the show and then I love them. Watch, this will be the same here too!!!

CTVicky said...

I absolutely loved Gran Torino! Beautiful film.

Russell said...

I have always liked Clint Eastwood as he was never one of those pansy actors -- he always portrayed a real man. I respect that and still do.

I have not seen Gran Torino but want to and have heard good reviews. I really liked Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales - one of my favorite movies.

He says to a man "when I get to likin someone they ain't around too long." And the guy says "I notice when you get to DISLIKIN someone they ain't around long either!"

greenpanda said...

GAH need to see that film.

Lover of Life/ Nancy said...

Thanks for the tip.

Pat said...

It was a good film. It was hard to watch at first with the racial slurs, but I liked when Clint turns around to liking his neighbors.

My husband hasn't seen the film yet; I keep telling him it's a great flick.

scarlethue said...

I just saw it about two weeks ago. I still think about it. I cried for an hour afterwards-- I don't know why it got me like that, but it affected me to my core. The idea of ultimate self-sacrifice... Plus the scenes where he actually listens to the boy when he needs help, but his own son won't listen to him. I hope that I have the strength to recognize someone who needs help or just an ear and can be there to lend it.

Leslie: said...

I just KNEW you'd love this one! :D

pranksygang said...

i dint want this movie Jo, but i watched his movie Million Dollar Baby! and it was superb... i came to know how talented he is! i will watch this movie soon!

lesthook said...

I saw this a couple of weeks ago with my daughter and son in law. We all loved it! My late husband was a huge Clint fan and I must admit I always have been too.

kenju said...

The very title of that movie is off putting to me, but since you are the 2nd person to recommend it in glowing terms, I will rent it.

Deb said...

Based on your post, I will probably rent this one. Just yesterday, I was standing in the isles of BlockBuster to scan the movies for the weekend. Not being a Clint fan either, I just passed him right by. I'll tell you what I think!

Land of shimp said...

My son adored the movie, and recommended it to us. Jo, I agree with you on many points. The family next door really makes the movie, and Clint Eastwood actually has the good grace to do a send-up of himself on more than one occasion. He literally growls several times, and it's very funny.

The racist language is hard to take, but mostly I found Gran Torino to be a remake of several other Eastwood films thrown together. In particular The Unforgiven came to mind. The sainted, departed wife, a woman of God, etc. Unfortunately it also recreates one of Eastwood's least charming film go-to moves: any female character primarily exists to either be incredibly pure-hearted, but deceased, or she will have atrocious acts of violence committed upon her person to further the story.

But I agree, it is a film worth seeing, and worth enjoying, and if it is reminiscent of some of his other films, that's okay. It's still worthwhile, I still loved the characters, and felt for them.

My husband was able to guess what his final move was going to be, but I confess, I did not.

Besides, even the elements that are a bit of a retread of his other films, somehow it feels fitting. It feels like a well-earned, lifetime achievement performance that brings to mind more than just the story on the screen.

Amelia said...

I have always been a Clint Eastwood fan. I totally forgot about this movie. I MUST see it!

Thanks for the great review. And lovely blog!

Country Girl said...

Oh, yes! I have to see it now. Jo, this was a great review. And I love your Walter quote. Couldn't agree more.

Mary Ellen said...

I saw that movie when it was in the Theaters and loved it, too. Like you, I was never a big fan of Dirty Harry or the rest of his movies. But this one, it touched my heart and I would highly recommend it.

John said...

Thanks! I have been meaning to rent this for quite some time. That just sealed the deal.

robert said...

Seems as if I missed a couple of movies very much worth to be seen.
Loved the Eastwood movie with him being a Photographer taking pictures of bridges (can't remember the name now).
Thank you also for reminding me that many times it doesn't need to be an expensive toy to bring a smile upon the face of my son.
Please have a nice weekend.

DUTA said...

I've always regarded Clint Eastwood as a great actor.Haven't watched this particular film but I'll try to get hold of it.

Cynthia said...

Hi Jo, I just discovered your blog A Majority of Two...through Magic Lantern I think...love your review of Clint's movie. I wrote about this one in connection to my father a couple of post ago (why don't you come over and check it out? It's called Clint Drives a Gran Torino.) I love your personal approach to movie reflection. Why do you write that you are not a writer...x that out! I love your writing style. <3

Rose said...

I've been meaning to watch this movie for a while now - thanks for the great review Jo :)

amourissima said...

I own the Paint Your Wagon soundtrack and I'm ok with admiting that.

Avril Fleur said...

Just watched the movie Jo and I LOVED IT! Thanks for recommending it because I never would have watched it otherwise.

meggie said...

YES, YES! This is one great movie! Loved it. Clint has never played Clint quite so well.

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