Friday, January 9, 2009


GRAN TORINO



I admit that I'm prejudice...I love Clint Eastwood. I'm not the crazy type of fan who would call and breathe heavy into the phone join a club, or have an actor's web page in my "favorites". I don't even know if I've seen many of Clint Eastwood's movies. But everything I've seen, I've liked.

For the first time since moving to Texas I walked into a full theatre! This was on a work/school day at 11:45 in the morning. I live in a very diverse town, home of Fort Hood, the largest Army Post in the USA. The population is very evenly mixed between different ethnic groups including Asians, Blacks, Latinos and Caucasians. I preface this review this way because the movie has strong racial slurs throughout.



Walt is a veteran US Army First Cavalry.....which is evident throughout the whole movie, with the insignia visible on his war chest, and cigarette lighter. Fort Hood is the home to the US Army First Cavalry, and my SIL is a First Sgt deploying with the first Cav. for his third tour in a few weeks.

With his colorful language and bigotry, Eastwood seems to be channeling Archie Bunker in his depiction of Walt Kowalski, a Korean War vet and retired Ford factory worker in suburban Detroit whose grim outlook on life has suddenly become a lot greyer.

Walt has just buried his wife, the sole love of his life, leaving him with nothing but his modest home, his aging golden retriever Daisy and his green 1972 Gran Torino, a pristine auto he built himself but which rarely leaves his garage.

Stubborn and unsentimental, Walt is angered by his grasping sons and daughters-in-law, who want him to sell up and move into a retirement home. Walt is also vexed by the changing ethnicity of his neighborhood. Polish, Irish and Italian immigrants are being replaced by newcomers from the mountainous Hmong regions of southeast Asia, whom he refers to by every slur imaginable.

All Walt wants to do is sit on his porch, smoke his cigarettes and drink can after can of Pabst beer. But he keeps getting dragged into neighborhood drama when a gang of hoodlums starts bullying the youngest of his new next-door neighbors – shy youth Thao and his outspoken sister Sue.

Walt becomes an unlikely local hero when he confronts the gang, seemingly chasing them away with strongly uttered oaths and his trusty shotgun – plus that trigger-finger gesture which somehow manages to be much more threatening. But the deed ratchets up tensions, putting more stress on the neighbors and making Walt a target.

Comic and dramatic elements are evenly balanced as Walt begins to realize that the neighbors bring him more happiness than his own kin: "I have more in common with these gooks than with my own spoiled, rotten family."

Throughout this whole movie, the theatre erupted in laughter often....usually at some of the bantering. I appreciated the way Clint Eastwood could inject humor where other's would take offense. The movie was funny, sad, and educational on so many levels. I loved it.



I give this movie 4 out of 5 '72 Gran Torinos

9 comments:

M, Ms. R, Mom, Auntie M, Marey said...

Ooooh sounds like a movie I will have to rent!
I wonder how many Grand Torinos I will give it?!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

That sounds like a good one. It's also interesting that the theater was so full at that time of day.

I don't see anything wrong with wanting to sit outside and drink all day. Nope, nothing at all.

Linda Goossen said...

Hi, 'Grandma',
I found your blog from the 'Pasadena' guy. I thought I'd see what you are all about.

My sister and I would like to see this movie, but so far it hasn't made it to our town. We'll probably wait until it comes out on "DVD" or "Blue-ray". LOL!

I agree with your philosophy about your blog. I feel the same way, but didn't put it in my profile.

I'll keep up with you!

Pleasing Procrasinator said...

I will have to add this to my list of 'movies to rent' seeing how I rarely make it to the theater.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Sounds like a winner to me. I love clint.
Every time the kids or any friends tell me they are or want to go see a movie...I always say: "well, grandma J said this...or Grandma J, said that....."
You are now our household movie critic!!!!

The Incredible Woody said...

I can't wait to see this movie!!

Deb said...

Never been a Clint fan...to each his own, right?!!!

Big Hair Envy said...

I LOVE to "Squint with Clint"!!! Cool Breeze commented the other day that this might be the ONE movie that would entice him back into the theatre after a 12 year hiatus:)

Thanks for the review!

Life with Kaishon said...

I would love to see this! Especially after your stellar review!

I made the cheese this morning. Very yummy : ).

Did I tell you that Gary brought home a bootlegged 7 pounds? Suicide always makes me very mad. I was sad that he was so sad, but even sadder that he killed himself. I have to go and re read your review. I just remember you saying it was deep. It was definitely deep!