Here, in no particular order, are some thoughts I've had since seeing Gran Torino last Sunday.
-- Clint is my fashion icon. The way he dressed in this movie is about the way I dress every day. So needless to say, I loved his "wardrobe." Unfortunately, he makes it look better than I do. Which leads me to my next thought. . .
-- While I find Clint's level of fitness inspiring, it also makes me sad to know that although he's 41 years older than me, he could easily kick my ass. No, I guess I don't feel lucky!
-- I'd rather have the white pickup than the Gran Torino.
-- Only an actor/director with Clint's clout could have gotten away with making this movie. I appreciate the fact that he's willing to be politically incorrect and make a movie that can be so shocking.
-- I appreciate that he doesn't shy away from the idea that just because you're a blood relative to someone doesn't mean you will automatically be close. And that if you're not, it's not necessarily because you're screwed up. I get really sick of these sappy movies in which someone comes home to their family- from whom they're estranged- and two hours later they're all on the love train together. The message seems to be "Your family is great- you're screwed up. If you would just lighten up, talk a few things out, maybe not take yourself so seriously, all would be well and you'd finally be a whole, healthy, happy person by New Years." Nice thought, but I don't think life is that simple.
-- I enjoyed the way this movie explored the concept of personal vs. private self. Clint's character deliberately put on an air of being a crotchety, bitter, hateful old guy when in reality, he was a deeply caring man. I find that fascinating and often true to life. I've also known the opposite to be true; known people who outwardly were caring, thoughtful people but in reality were anything but. I also liked the way the female lead, Sue, was able to see through his facade, while even his family couldn't. Occasionally you meet people who just get you, and they're not always who you'd expect.
-- I think Clint really nails the way many men interact with each other. The smack-talking, argumentative, insulting conversations between men who are clearly friends rings very true to me. Not just in this movie either, I've seen it in many of his films. Especially between him and Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby.-- It's been a long time since I've laughed so hard at a movie.
-- It's been a long time since I've cried so much at a movie.
LAST WARNING- IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT STOP READING NOW!!!
-- The ending really tore me up. It was a great ending- the only way it could have ended- but still painful. The last few moments leading up to it, when you knew it was coming, were very, very intense and difficult to watch. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I freely admit that I wanted him to go all Dirty Harry on their punk asses. That would have been satisfying in its way, but the fact that he found peace and redemption in the act of sacrificing his life to save the people he cared about is far more compelling. Has a much more (ahem) Sudden Impact. I'm not a religious guy, but Jesus called this one- "True love hath no greater than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends."
-- I don't cry at movies, but I cried at this one. It had everything- hilarious moments, devastatingly painful moments, emotional turmoil, moments of clarity, loss, discovery, redemption. You'll laugh, you'll cry. Just like real life- only with Clint Eastwood in it.