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Movies of the Month > Gran Torino

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message 1: by Karen (new)

Karen | 27 comments Okay I'm female and never really was all that impressed with Clint Eastwood but CLINT is now one of my top movie actors. I loved this movie and can't stop thinking about it. A+ for this movie....I hope he receives an oscar, he deserves it not only for directing but acting.....Can't wait to hear your reviews as well.

message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (moqlnkkn) | 7 comments I've seen trailers for it, looks really interesting. . .

message 3: by Teri (new)

Teri Tracey | 26 comments This is an exceptional movie! Thought provoking, funny, sad, enraging - we talked about it for days. Clint's performance is amazing! I think the girl who played Sue should also get a nomination. I am recommending this to everyone!

message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen | 27 comments They just announced the oscar nominees and I was surprised and amazed that Gran Torino didn't get even one.

message 5: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 155 comments Karen wrote: "They just announced the oscar nominees and I was surprised and amazed that Gran Torino didn't get even one."

Why? It's not Oscar bait and it's not like Eastwood hasn't been showered with Oscars for several of his films.

I'm not thrilled with this year's nominees, but would have been surprised if "Gran Torino" was a contender.

message 6: by Kai (new)

Kai (ky02121) | 51 comments Bad acting by the supporting cast but Eastwood was good. Very enjoyable.

message 7: by Just (new)

Just | 1 comments I loved this movie. I also was surprised with no nominations for an oscar. Disappointing.

message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8 comments Loved it, loved it, loved it. I cannot believe how Clint Eastwood just gets better and better. I, too, was surprised by a lack of Oscar nod for Eastwood. It was definitely one of the better movies I saw this year.

message 9: by Phillip (last edited Feb 03, 2009 03:08PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments i don't think eastwood is misunderstood. he has received lots of attention over the years. he cleaned up a few years ago with mystic river, which i thought was an awful movie.....way too over the top for me. but regardless of how i feel about his work, he has been celebrated again and again. the academy doesn't tend to give out awards or nominations to contenders repeatedly. ok, a few actors have won more than once - but it's rare.

i'm not arguing on the quality of gran torino - i haven't seen it. i'm just commenting on the academy and how it tends to behave. i've seen them overlook a great film or great performance one year and then give the same actor or director an award the next year for a film or performance that is way below the quality of the thing they overlooked the year before.

message 10: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Well, I'm not sure I've ever really understood Every Which Way But Loose, and if anyone would care to take a shot at explaining Bronco Billy, please, be my guest. In my opinion, Eastwood has come a long way since those days, so perhaps he gets more praise than he deserves, but given the plethora of junk out there in general release,he still looks pretty good compared to most.

message 11: by Phillip (last edited Feb 06, 2009 06:34PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments mandee,

thanks for your post. i understand more of what you were saying. i can't comment on it because i haven't seen it.


for sure eastwood has made some great films. i liked the unforgiven a lot, and even back to high plains drifter...another fine western. i'm a jazz musician, so i had some considerations on the authenticity of his film "bird", but on the other hand, forest whittaker was great in it, and i was glad a film was made about this innovator. eastwood's son kyle is a fine bassist (my pal doug webb plays tenor in kyle's quartet), and his dad is a big supporter of the music.

message 12: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Phillip, I was happy to see anyone do a reasonable shot on Bird, and Forest was outstanding in the role. I was particularly impressed with The Unforgiven, which I consider his best film to date. High Plains Drifter, hmm... well, if you liked it, that's fine, just wasn't my cup of tea. Haven't seen Gran Torino yet, but I will as soon as it makes it out my way. I thought Letters from Iwo Jima was especially interesting given the attempt to humanize the Japanese soldiers and recognize their heroism as well.

message 13: by Phillip (last edited Feb 06, 2009 06:35PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments i still haven't caught those iwo jima films that eastwood made. they sounded interesting. thanks for reminding me, george!

message 14: by Phillip (last edited Feb 08, 2009 12:58AM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments i saw gran torino today. it was playing near my friend's house and we walked over there for the matinee.

i'm going to talk about the narrative, so if you're not in the mood for SPOILERS, you may want to overlook this post.

it was better than i expected, which was: ok, a film where a bitter old white guy gets to reek havoc after biting his tongue for too long (see what you get for watching previews?); i fully expected dirty harry for the geriatric set.

but it had a lot more cultural complexity than that, and i was happy to see the way the relationship unfolded between kowalski (nod to tenessee williams?) and his neighbors. i also liked the commentary on the elderly and the contentious family relationships that can develop in our society. the thing between grandpa walt and his kids and grandkids worked well for me. i know a lot of kids like his granddaughter. you just want to hold up a mirror and let them have a good look at themselves.

but eastwood just can't help himself from spelling out his brand of morality with big black and white indelible markers. on the other hand, i was impressed with the resolution at the final conflict between kowalski and the gang members: in short, that he chooses not to use a gun (this where the film veers from dirty harry territory, and at this stage of eastwood's career, i thought that was a good choice).

i also appreciated the low-fi approach to cinematography - it felt like a low-budget street film in some ways, which was appropriate for the story. someone who posted above didn't like the supporting actors (i assume they're talking about the hmung actors). i liked their contribution - it took a minute to get used to seeing eastwood direct a film that on the surface looks a lot more low-budget than something like the unforgiven. and i appreciated that there wasn't the operatic style that drove me insane in mystic river. but the image of kowalski lying in the christ position at the end of the climactic sequence was over the top and unnecessary. enough with the dialectic on being forgiven for his sins...

the element of racism can't really go undiscussed here. the language/script is both offensive and funny, so you catch yourself being tricked into being somewhat complicit with kowalski's views on anyone that resembles an asian american. but he gets schooled on some history around the migration of hmung people after the vietnam war, and comes to see beyond the surface of the "new" community that has surrounded him.

i couldn't help but see a little of my father in him, but i watched his racist perspectives thaw radically in the 70's; he changed his ideas on culture and race a great deal. this is where the film kind of doesn't work for me - it's hard to believe this person hasn't bumped up against this kind of thing before. he's worked in a detroit auto factory all his life - am i really supposed to believe he hasn't worked through some of this race stuff at this stage of his life?

the thing that helps lubricate this fixed perspective is the death of his wife at the beginning of the film. he is in mourning, and because he's alone in the world in a new way, he probably feels the walls closing in (his wife is no longer there to shield him) and we all know that fear keeps racism alive and well. the thing that also makes kowalski tolerable is that he (and just about everyone around him) has contempt for every other cultural construct other than his own (he expresses his racism against other white cultures with the same venom that he uses with people of color).

but, also like my dad - it isn't what comes out of his mouth, it is his actions that define the man. and kowalski's actions are for the most part existentially sound. the relationships he develops with siu and tao ultimately illustrate his humanity. he may make a lot of noise, but he opens himself to his neighbors and develops a bond with them that represents the cornerstone of community.

so yeah, it wasn't a perfect movie, the morality is handed out in big bold strokes (after all, it's eastwood, what do you expect?), but it surprised me on several accounts and i was glad i saw it.

the funny thing was, i went out later and saw the reader, which, surprisingly, had some similar themes (an older person developing an unexpected relationship with someone much younger...the older person has a past that haunts them...both central characters offer a kind of sacrifice in the end...). now i appreciated that one a lot more...the morality was much more ambiguous and the performances were finer. and, forgive me, but i'd rather look at kate than clint any day.


back to the exchange with mandee: i liked what he did but didn't think it was an outstanding performance. again, it felt low budget (and i liked it for that). it's not the kind of film hollywood (the academy) is going to herald. i am associating the low-budget angle with eastwood's more natural kind of performance. it's not a glamorous performance (again, that's a good thing). and not the kind of thing that the academy is going to cling to. i agree with you, they cling to the wrong things quite often, but that's exactly why i don't put much stock in their decisions.

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) I finally saw Gran Torino. It was better than I had expected. All in all it was a good film. It was done in Clint Eastwood style, a stronger moral than most of his films. He has become an accomplished filmmaker. In my mind he seems to lurk in those very dark characters and savor that anger a bit too much.

message 16: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 465 comments It was really good as most of Eastwood's movies.

message 17: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 50 comments The movie was very interesting. Clint Eastwood did a fantastic job. It felt kind of scripted, but was compelling and poignant in regard to racial reconciliation that is hard-earned. Most of the actors seemed kind of amateur, but that added to the charm. I appreciated that it was set in Michigan--my long-suffering home-state. There were moments of real humor that I didn't expect. (c;

I think my biggest concerns with the movie involved:

1) The casting of the Asian gang members. If the actors who had played Tao (adorable and sweet-looking) and the one who had played his gangster cousin (more stereotypically Asian) were reversed, I think it would have made for a more interesting film. I guess I'm from the school of thought behind the HBO series, "The Wire" in that the sweetest kids can sometimes be drawn into gang life for reasons that make perfectly good sense in regard to self-preservation. In fact, the gangster leader seemed right out of a bad Asian casting call to the point that I thought he looked like the villain from the animated Disney movie, Mulan.

2) I'm not sure if the way the writers "developed" the gang members prepared the audience for **SPOILER ALERT** the rape and murder near the end. That seemed melodramatic and a bit cinematic. I'm not saying Asian gangs are not capable of this, but the gangsters in this movie were barely given any personality or dimension at all, not even the one-dimension of PURE EVIL. In fact, the impression you receive initially is that they are more like "after school special" bullies that people have to endure from a person's family / neighborhood.

3) The way Clint Eastwood's sons were portrayed felt very morality play-ish. They seemed shallow and laughable as well. The way the actors treated the characters felt like any "made for a religious organization" type production in which people act out stereotypes of self-centered Americans. No depth. Maybe that was the point.

I do give Clint Eastwood credit for taking on this topic. His view of the world is conveyed in his brand of "grandpa-ish" wisdom. Adorable!

message 18: by Ceci (last edited May 05, 2009 10:52AM) (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments I saw Gran Torino today and I really loved it. What a wonderful, tragic, complex and also funny movie. There was an amazing atmosphere at the movie theater, it seemed like the movie sort of drew us all together. That rarely happens, but this time it did. I really loved Clint's performance, it was very true to life, and I think the message here was that people can change, and that barriers such as age and culture can be overcome. I think it was a warm-hearted movie, and the ending was a great twist on the old Dirty Harry theme.

Gran Torino truly is one of my favorite movies this year. Phillip, I also thought of The Reader when I saw it, mainly because I watched it on Sunday... but I think this one's the better film of the two, more interesting, human and poignant, and its message a more hopeful one. The Reader is bleak in its unforgivenness -- Gran Torino speaks of change and redemption.

I think it's a real disgrace that GT won no Oscars, and received no nominations... but that's the Academy for you. I think it's a truly great film.

message 19: by Vanora (new)

Vanora | 10 comments I quite liked Gran Torino. I was surprised by how much it touched me, was not expecting that. Very thought provoking. One of the better movies I've seen this year.

message 20: by Cutiepie (new)

Cutiepie | 21 comments Clint OMG hes so sexy for a old guy! LOL ROFL

message 21: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta Just saw the movie Friday night. Very enjoyable. I liked the character of Tao quite a bit. Reminded me of my brothers (similar ages and mentalities). Loved learning bits and pieces about Hmong culture and their connection to the USA. Clint was good.

message 22: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta Kyle: I have, since my post in 2009, seen this movie three times. I am stuck to the chair each time. This movie has staying power; knowing what is going to happen in no way takes away from it. Excellent.

message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 11 comments I loved this movie. Clint Eastwood wad really good, his character reminded me of my grandpa

message 24: by Dana * (new)

Dana * (queenofegypt) Sarah wrote: "I loved this movie. Clint Eastwood wad really good, his character reminded me of my grandpa"

iconic "Get off my lawn..."

message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 11 comments Haha yep he had the exact same attitude. He used to sit on his porch with a gun to shoot birds. He also always made that glaring look when he didnt get his way.

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