Gran Torino - Best Eastwood Movie?
In a storied career Clint Eastwood has been involved in some of the best films of the past 50 years. He has just about done it all on the big screen.
First he as a legendary actor, showing steely eyed grit in a series of the best Western's ever made, then as a tough rogue cop in the series of "Dirty Harry" movies in the 1970s and 1980s.
If Eastwood had stopped there he would have ended with a legendary career as one of our great actors. But he didn't. Eastwood went on to become one of Hollywood's top director's.
Eastwood began to make a series of small personal films. Some with decent, "Hollywood" budgets, others made on the Hollywood version of a shoestring budget.
The collection of films he directed, many of which he had a role in, includes: Heartbreak Ridge, Mystic River, Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers, and J. Edgar. A list of movies that could be part of the best 50 films of the last 20 years.
Of all Eastwood's movies from the past 20 years, one of the very best of the bunch was one of the smallest stories. No big world events. No important looks at moments of history. Just a small story of a lonely old man trying to do one last good thing.
This is the story of Gran Torino, and it is one of Eastwood's best movies.
In the beginning we meet Walk Kowalski, who is seems like a mean old man. He is a grumpy old guy who is all alone since his wife passed away, he is a Korean war veteran who dislikes just about everyone.
The character of Walt seems to be a buildup of the characters we have seen him play over the years. Sort of a final chapter to Gunny Highway, the man with no name and Dirty Harry Callaghan. When 78 year old Eastwood grumbles, "get off my lawn" there is still a huge amount of menace in his voice.
After time Walt takes under his wing a young boy from a clannish family of Hmong refugees. As grumpy old Walt is drawn into their culture he begins to show the real care and love that he hides beneath his gruff and seemingly bigoted exterior and does his best to help nurture and protect his neighbors.
This is not a huge film but one with a lot of depth. The film did very well in the movie theaters in terms of box office sales, garnering 230 million from a cost of 30 million (which is very low for a Hollywood picture). It won a heap of awards but was frozen out for Academy award nominations, which is a huge shame, because I always felt this was the best movie of 2008.
I will not spoil this movie with more details, but if you haven't seen this film yet -what are you waiting for? Get the DVD now! You will not be disappointed.
What is your favorite Clint Eastwood character?
Some other great Eastwood movies
Gran Torino movie theatrical trailer