I'm no Clint hater. Dude has made some truly kick-ass flicks (my favorites are In the Line of Fire and Unforgiven). Even a lot of his weaker films are pretty memorable (I have a soft spot for Pale Rider and Heartbreak Ridge). I just don't understand all the Oscar hype around Gran Torino.
It's mainly a "get off my lawn" sort of story (hell, Clint actually SAYS THAT at one point), and it could have easily starred Grandpa Simpson, if only he slimmed down and got himself strapped like Plaxico Burris. Do kids suck? Yup. Has the world changed since the Eisenhower Administration? Yup.
Like Nicholson in As Good As it Gets, Clint's character throws around racial and ethnic slurs like goddamn frisbees. Unlike Nicholson, Clint's excuse is not mental illness, but being a crusty old fucker. The over-50 crowd that packed the theater I was in seemed to love it, but it grated on me after a while. McCain might not have won the election, but at least they have Eastwood affirming their notions that the country has gone to hell in a handcart.
Of course, it's not that simple, and I'm sure the point Clint was trying to make was about his character coming to terms with his violent past and befriending his Hmong neighbors. But the flick still comes off as SERIOUSLY out of touch... Even its sports references are just OFF.
The movie is set in Detroit, which has FOUR pro teams.. Three of them have had recent success (including world titles for the Red Wings and Pistons)... Which team gets not one but two direct references? The Lions. There's even a scene where Clint's shitheel foriegn-car-selling kid pesters him about getting a hold of Lions tickets. Um... ever try stubhub, Clintspawn? Or the gutter where the scalpers leave the tickets after they can't get $10 for a pair?
It's not a disaster, but this one's only really going to please Hard-Core Eastwood fans and film critics.
My Grade: C+