Wednesday, April 29, 2009

REVIEW: Gran Torino

*Posted December 31, 2008*

For the record, I never liked Clint Eastwood. I never liked how his dumb little movies like Mystic River would come into awards season and rain on the parades of LOTR fans. I never liked how actors I hate would end up winning awards in his movies (Sean "I'm a liberal" Penn, Hillary "I'm really ugly" Swank). But I must say, Gran Torino (acted, produced, and directed by Clint) is one of the best films of the year. He plays a bitter old Korean War vet, a disgruntled curmudgeon that hates that his neighborhood is turning into a ghetto full of Hmongs, hates that his wife just died and his family isn't showing respect, hates that he never bothered to reallllly connect with his sons, and pretty much just hates what the world is turning into. So he sits on his porch all day, growling at people and drinking his beer until a local Korean gang stirs up trouble with his Korean neighbors. At first, he scares them off with his gun just to get them off his lawn, but soon he connects with the neighbors and a friendship develops. They accept him into their community, and he mentors the little brat that tried to steal his Gran Torino. Even though Clint makes some big changes throughout the film, he never loses his edge. His dialogue is peppered with so many racial epithets (all of them funny), and even as a wrinkly old man with pants up to his bellybutton, he knows how to snarl and scare the local gangs (also, a gun helps). It also helps that I see a lot of my grandfather in Clint's perfomance. A lot of the little things in Clint's world (workshop, barbershop, front porch, even in the way his family treats him) are startlingly similar to my pap's, which made it an extra treat. One of the best of the year.


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