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.