movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008



I have grown tired in the last few years of all the Eastwood love and people hailing him as one of greatest directors of all time. Ever since the release of MYSTIC RIVER in 2003, it seems like Eastwood can do no wrong in the eyes of the critics. Now I did like that film and his Oscar winning follow up, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, but I have watched as all four films since have gotten good to glowing reviews. Why do they? Are they actually good movies or are the critics just brainwashed into believing that everything Eastwood touches is gold…

I’m standing up and finally calling “BULLSHIT”.

Tonight I went to see his latest opus GRAN TORINO largely because of the acclaim for the film and specifically the lead performance by Eastwood. I didn’t expect too much for the film but thought it would be a decent film with a good performance. What I got was hands down one of the worst films I have seen all year (up to now I have seen 109 movies so far from this year). GRAN TORINO is poorly directed, horribly written and the acting is absolutely pathetic.

The story is that of Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) as the most grouchy, racist bastard in the world who fought in the Korean war, worked at a Ford plant and now finds himself living in a neighborhood filled with Asian (specifically Hmong) people. After his wife dies, he is left alone with nothing left to do but growl, spit out racial slurs and threaten anyone that comes in his path. When the Hmong teenage boy from next door tries to steal Walt’s most prized possession (his Gran Torino), things get more complicated. I won’t get into the rest, but there is lots more racial comments, gangs, growling, shootings, beatings, threats, growling, a well meaning priest, drinking, and even more growling.

The dialogue in this film is some of the worst that I have ever heard (at times it’s even worse than THE HAPPENING… yeah I meant that). All of the characters are drawn with extra broad strokes (think the white trash family from MILLION DOLLAR BABY but that’s everyone in the film). None of the interactions are even remotely believable and the situations are laughably ridiculous.

The actors are even worse than the lines they’re given to deliver… I’ll start with the big dog himself. Eastwood growls every line in the movie. I get it… he’s grump and bitter and mean, but to growl is not to act. I know I have used the word “growl” way too many times, but really, see this movie (or don’t) and you’ll see why. His racism is so over the top I couldn’t believe it. When I wasn’t laughing at the stupidity of what was coming out of his mouth my jaw just hung open. All of that said, he is by far the best performance in the film. I believe the reason critics seem to be praising him for this role is because compared to the rest of the cast, he’s AMAZING. By that rationale though, his dog should receive a nomination for best supporting actor.

The rest of the performances in the film are worse than what you would find in a grade school play. There are not enough words to describe how forced, wooden and false everyone was. The two standouts of crap were the lead boy, Thao (Ahney Her) and the priest (Christopher Carley). For all of those people that declare Eastwood one of the best directors of all time, please look at the acting in this film. I am so sick and tired of everyone praising Eastwood for only doing two takes and letting the cast do what they want. He rarely gives any direction to the cast in his films and moves on, making the crew love him because they shoot short days. Well you know what you get when he casts actors that aren’t named Morgan Freeman, Hillary Swank, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins or other marquee talented stars appearing on the poster? You get the terrible excuse for acting on display here and that litter many of his other films.

Now I know that I’m being extremely hard on mister Eastwood, but that is just because other have been giving him a free ride for years. I have been a big fan of some of his films and consider UNFORGIVEN to be one of the best of the 90’s, but how can they forget some of his other films? Between UNFORGIVEN (1992) and MYSTIC RIVER (2003), here are some of the movies he’s made: BLOOD WORK. SPACE COWBOYS. TRUE CRIME. ABSOLUTE POWER. MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. Not all of his movies are bad. I’m just saying that just because he directed it doesn’t necessarily make it good.

While GRAN TORINO is one of the 5 worst films I saw in 2008, I can say one thing for it. I laughed more during it than almost any comedy I saw. The problem is… GRAN TORINO is supposed to be a drama.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, I take it you're giving this a thumbs down. Thanks for saving us some time and money. I respect your opinion.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous free online movies said...

I haven't this movie yet. Thanks for the review about the movie. I am surely going to watch it in coming vacation after reading the review. Thanks for sharing information in the blog.

3:21 AM  

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