I love few actors as much as I love Clint Eastwood. Sergio Leone might have had something to do with that originally, but he really is…iconic I suppose. I was going to go into why he is so great, but upon reflection realized that would probably reveal a great deal about myself and much less of Mr. Eastwood. And honestly there’s no need for that. All I’ll say is that I do sometimes have a hard time being analytical about the movies and separating actors from their parts, I admit it. So had Eastwood been consistently cast into the same roles as, say, Matthew McConaughey, would I still like him? Doubtful. Though does my mild feeling of derision for McConaughey come solely from his roles? It’s a layered question that one. But no, no, I don’t think so. After all, I like John Cusack too, though he’s been in plenty of bad romantic comedies. Eastwood just has a certain, special something.
And I’m doubtful that many could have carried off the role in Gran Torino. Eastwood is truly a brilliantly crochety and obnoxious old man…a brilliance definitely needed, as this was a movie with an enormous potential to turn into nothing beyond tired old cliches. I’m happy to say I think it escaped most of them. At least they didn’t club me over the head while I was watching it, they have a tendency to do that in many a Hollywood flic. And I am so glad, I was a bit skeptical going in since the trailers made it seem another simplistic tale of the old vigilante with the heart of gold taking on the hood. I suppose that’s how they have to sell movies in this country. But it had complexity the way all of Eastwood’s movies seem to, I think that’s why I love them so much. There is always such a distance between the mixed-up reality and the clear-cut myth. The story was compelling, all of the characters and the actors were good, I loved the old Hmong grandmother who was as crochety and nasty as Walt Kowalski! And it made me laugh in the most obscenely non-pc way. Which I enjoyed immensely. And then it made me cry. And we sat there for the credits as the tears poured down my cheeks and you know, almost everyone stayed until the very end.
I’m glad I enjoyed the movie, because the previews had me raging…I had to sit through an entire recruitment video done by Kid Rock and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the National Guard. I couldn’t quite believe it as it went on and on, imagine a lot of flags, nascar, and soldiers doing heroic things. I respect people’s love of their country and their wish to defend it. It just makes me shake with fury to see the government using such American icons so shamelessly to propogate the lie that the wars abroad have anything to do with protecting freedom. Or that any GI in his right mind would stop his tank and rescue a kid’s soccerball anywhere in a war zone. Or that arguing about right and wrong is un-American. Or that the right thing to do isn’t bringing all of our soldiers straight home and giving them a good education and a union job. And repealing the goddamn Patriot Act. I’d like to sing this bloody song right back at the FBI.
It made me feel like going all Clint Eastwood on their ass. And then painting their headquarters red.
So don’t tell me who’s wrong and right
When liberty starts slipping away
And if you ain’t gonna fight
Get out of the way
‘Cause freedom ain’t so free
When you breathe red, white and blue
I’m giving all of myself
How ’bout you?
And they call me warrior
They call me loyalty
And they call me ready to provide relief and help, I’m
Wherever you need me to be
I’m an American warrior
Oh I’m an American warrior
Yeah yeah, they call me warrior too. And just for the record, these are my most star-studded blog tags EVER. Though it’s not something I’m particularly proud of.