Clint Eastwood is a national treasure. He defined the Spaghetti Western genre in the 60’s and 70’s, and has portrayed some of film’s best heroes. From Dirty Harry to William Munny to the father of a Million Dollar Baby (I haven’t seen that one), Eastwood is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood history.
However, Eastwood wasn’t content with global stardom. Like many actors, he eventually transitioned to behind the camera and into the director’s seat. And sure he’s had some hits. “Unforgiven” and “Mystic River” are phenomenal, I’m told “Invictus” is solid, and “The Mule” is … well, it’s a movie.
But then there’s “Gran Torino.” It’s critically in the upper echelon of Eastwood movies. But unfortunately, the critics are wrong, because this movie sucks. Big time.
Here’s the plot: Eastwood plays a Korean war veteran who ends up beefing with a gang of young, Hmong men. Spoiler alert, it’s incredibly offensive. Eastwood uses just about every slur in the book, and I’m pretty sure he was improving some on the spot. In fact, Bee Vang, who played Eastwood’s next door neighbor in the film, recently addressed the film’s prejudiced overtones. He stated that the film “mainstreamed anti-Asian racism” and is even related to the surge of violence towards Asians today. This is heavy coming from the guy who was literally in “Gran Torino” and after watching the film, it’s hard not to agree with Vang.
And even if the film wasn’t overtly racist, it’s still a pretty bad movie. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that a Los Angeles gang is legitimately scared of 75 year old Clint Eastwood? I don’t care if he has a shotgun, he’s an old man with the bone density of a shrimp.
But in all fairness, Eastwood does deliver one of my favorite lines in all of cinema about halfway through “Gran Torino.” I’m of course talking about Clint Eastwood’s character calling white gangbanger Trey, played by SCOTT EASTWOOD, a pu**y. That’s right, Clint Eastwood openly degrades his adult son in a real Hollywood movie that made 270 million dollars at the box office. But the funniest part to that that’s the only scene Scott Eastwood is in. Clint literally cast his son, just so he could dump on him. Fantastic.
I apologize if there are any fans of “Gran Torino” reading this. I’m hoping you like it for the score or the cinematography, and not its perpetuation of incredibly dated stereotypes. But in my opinion, it’s a terrible movie and doesn’t deserve the recognition it received. Boom. Mic dropped.