When Mr. Eastwood (I call him Clint, but that’s strictly when we’re talking in private about our gun collections) rang me up in my impeccably-maintaned working-class suburban home (in a neighborhood that’s been ‘invaded’ by generic asian immigrants, natch) to tell me about the lead character he plays in his latest movie — Walt Kowalski — I was flattered, of course. Flattered and honored, and a little bit worried, because right off the bat I didn’t have any way to compare or give him pointers on the man he plays in the film. Walt Kowalski after all is a straight-up man’s man, a feisty and gruff Korean War veteran who, in the words of Variety, “…suggests a version of what Dirty Harry might have been like at this age…” and is about thirty years older than I am. Plus, and I’ve never lived in Detroit or been been an auto worker, much less a Korean War veteran. I listen to Placebo for at least a week out of the year, for pete’s sake, and until about 2000 I was a teenage moonbat!
They also seemed like really big shoes to fill because the new movie, Gran Torino, relies on an unexpected twist in the familar Archie-Bunker-The-Old-Curmudgeon-Hardhat boilerplate that Hollywood usually pumps out while it holds its nose and tries to do a movie about anyone who even superficially resembles a Conservatives or a Republican:
The pivot in Nick Schenk’s lively, neatly balanced screenplay (which was allegedly not written with Eastwood in mind, although it’s a mystery who else could have played the lead) has the gangstas forcing Thao to prove himself by stealing Kowalski’s cherry 1972 Gran Torino. When the alert old soldier catches him at it, Thao’s tradition-minded family insists he work off his shame at the victim’s pleasure. Reluctantly at first, Kowalski has him make repairs around the neighborhood, thereby initiating a quasi-father-son relationship between extremely unlikely prospects.
Well, that’s a new one recently. Kind of a more authentic version of the Karate Kid in reverse, with Clint Eastwood in the lead. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but this is one that’s going to make me break my rule about not funding Hollywood at the box office. I’m doing this one for Clint.
I’ll have my review here at Redstate and TMR, probably later this weekend. And Clint, if you’re reading this: I’ll try to leave my rampant xenophobia and narrow-minded bigotry at home when I write the review. I’ll try not to embarrass myself and the film too badly. 😉