Friday, December 26, 2008

Gran Torino

Saw this movie today. Loved it.

Clint Eastwood has aged really well. Coolest old guy on the planet.

I stuck around during the closing credits and fell for this song:

Music Written by Clint Eastwood, Jamie cullum, Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens
Warner Bros score

American Film Institute : movies of the year-official selections : Gran Torino

golden globe : best song "Gran Torino"
critics choice awards : best actor : Clint Eastwood

top 10 of the year : Gran torino
Best actor : Clint Eastwood for Gran torino
Best original screenplay for Gran torino

If I remember correctly, Clint Eastwood also wrote the theme music to Unforgiven.

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Blogger Chuck said...

He's one like Robert Duvall, they're still tough when they're old

Friday, December 26, 2008 7:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I truly admire him too, Wordsmith. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008 5:39:00 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I grew up with Clint Eastwood. He was one of my Heroes back when there actually WERE Heroes to admire. Back when stoicism, masculinity, strength, honor, courage were admirable traits and not excoriated and demeaned as they are now.

When this is released in my area, I definitely plan to see it.

Thanks for the post, the video, and the attention you brought to the film.


Saturday, December 27, 2008 4:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Also, BTW, Clint Eastwood got hooked on music when he produced his earlier movies with Lalo Schifrin (Mission Impossible, Mannix, etc) and then his film "The Gauntlet" which featured Art Pepper, Jerry Fielding and Jon Faddis. This led to his film Bird (1988) and then to his obvious love with jazz and piano.


Saturday, December 27, 2008 5:08:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for providing some of that background, bz. I am absolutely sure you will love the movie.

A reader at FA asked me what I loved about the movie, so I reprint my comment here:

…hopefully without giving anything specific away, I liked the theme of developing friendship, ultimately ending in ultimate sacrifice; and finding peace and comfort in living in one’s own skin. The decision of the Eastwood character at the end was really the only resolution that I can think of that dramatically works. Sure, I wanted to see some more ass-kicking, but the way he resolved the conflict was perfect. And I liked the echoes to his past service in the Korean War that helped shape him.

I also think his disgruntled, grumbling ponderance over, “What’s wrong with kids today”/”What’s happening to MY America”? is a sentiment that resonates with many of us who sometimes don’t recognize our own country in some of the changes, feeling pushed out and a stranger in our own country/frontyard. The scene where his friend reveals that decency still lives in the next generation- not just deadenders.

I liked his interactions with his neighbors, his racial slurs which lose their barbs and becomes endearing. His banter with his barber.

His estrangement to his two sons and their families and a failure to connect. People need purpose, meaning, a sense of usefulness in their lives; and his family seemed to just be waiting for him to hurry up and die so they wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore…like he was just baggage that they were obligated to care for, yet failed to even do that.

I also don’t feel it at all unrealistic that a man his advanced age can still be one bad m-effer you don’t want to mess with.

A couple of my teachers knew old Filipino guys who fought alongside Americans in the Philippines and came to live here after WWII. There are stories about both men. One of them supposedly has documented accounts by the police and locals of him, at his advanced age, fending off muggers and street thugs in Stockton. This includes stabbing a man with his own knife and disarming another one of his firearm.

If I remember correctly, he was murdered by some kid-punk who came up to him from behind and shot him in the head while he waited at the bus stop; simply because the old man had gained a reputation and the kid wanted to make a name for himself.

And again, I really, really enjoy listening to that song, right now. If it weren’t for the YouTube video, I’d go back and watch the movie just to listen to the song again. It’s not that it’s anything exceptional; just the latest “novelty”. And I just find it relaxing.

Saturday, December 27, 2008 5:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tapline said...

I'll wait until I can get it on demand.....stay well and have a Great New Year.....

Saturday, December 27, 2008 8:18:00 PM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

I saw Gran Torino this afternoon. There's a commonality with another film about an aging hero coming to terms with his lfe - The Shootist.

I missed much of the dialogue because the packed house was laughing loudly at the very un-PC nature of Walter, the Eastwood character.

When the story ended and the credits began to roll, there was a considerable amount of applause. Then most ofthe audience remained seated for several minutes as if digesting what they had just experienced. It was extraordinary.

So often in the hero/icon films, we see only the actor playing a part. I mean, John Wayne always played John Wayne and Clint Eastwood always plays Clint Eastwood no matter the character name. In Gran Torino, I was seeing Walter Kowalski - bitter Polack, Korean War veteran, widower, bigot - not Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood has another Oscar here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

I am looking forward to this arriving where I am. BTW Word, he wrote the music for Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima also.

I also have a recommendation for you. Valkery. A well performed and historically correct movie. Tom Cruise actually acted in the lead roll which is unusual for him !

Sunday, December 28, 2008 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

I saw Valkarie on Friday afternoon. I, too, highly recommend the film in which Tom Cruise plays a German army officer who tries to kill Hitler. The story as told by Cruise is nearly the same story that I have learned over my years of studying NAZI Germany. Though the outcome is known to the audience, Cruise and the director do a splendid job maintaining tension and veritas.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 3:07:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Ken: Valkery

Indigo: Valkarie

Don't mean to be a spelling Nazi, but if you combine your two versions, you should end up with the "right" (i.e. standard) spelling (grew up on Norse mythology and Marvel Comics Thor was a fave).

I wasn't interested in seeing Valkyrie, but since you two recommend it, I'm reconsidering.

bz and ken,

Let's not forget too, Clint singing in Paint Your Wagon.

...ok, maybe that was forgettable.


Sunday, December 28, 2008 3:15:00 PM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

Oh, no! Don't forget Clint singing "I Still See Elisa" and "I Talk to the Trees". I especially like "...Trees". Clint doesn't have a great vocal range, but there's genuiness that is hard to beat.

From Paint Your Wagon, the best song was "Wandering Star" sung by Lee Marvin - priceless.

As for spelling, even if we combined all the letters we still wouldn't have the correct spelling without the Y. But then, the Germans spell it with a W instead of a V.

Monday, December 29, 2008 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Excellent, Indigo!

Monday, December 29, 2008 12:17:00 PM  

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