Rightwing Film Geek

Don’t judge the book by the auteur

twoeastwoods

I intend to see GRAN TORINO later tonight, after having prepared myself to take advantage of Mike D’Angelo’s suggestion that this movie, which he has dubbed LISTEN, EGGROLL, might be the funniest movie ever if you watched it drunk. Many are called, few are chosen …

But anyhoo, recently Clint went off in “Grumpy Old Man” mode (HT: Steve Skojec) that he’s apparently playing in GRAN TORINO, saying that America has gone to hell in a welter of psychologizing and sensitivity.

Tough guy Clint Eastwood believes America is getting soft around the middle – and the iconic Oscar winner thinks he knows when the problem began.
“Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life,” Eastwood, 78, growls in the January issue of Esquire.
The actor/director recalls the deeper questions were rarely posed during his Depression-era California childhood – and says that wasn’t a bad thing.
“People barely got by,” Eastwood recounts. “People were tougher then.”

That mentality is gone, he laments.
“Everyone’s become used to saying, ‘Well, how do we handle it psychologically?'” Eastwood says. “In those days, you punched the bully back and duked it out.”

Now, I agree heartily with what Clint says … US foreign policy in particular, especially under liberal administration but also somewhat under conservative ones too, has become indistinguishable from therapy. (Or as Sicinski put it in his review of STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE: “But there is something to be said for Robert Frost’s old joke about liberals being too broad-minded to take their own side in an argument.” As if we think Hamas just needs to be understood and have its legitimate concerns addressed.)

But most of Eastwood’s last several movies, at least the ones I’ve seen, are exactly what Dirty Harry and The Man With No Name preaches against (at least in part; several are more complicated obviously).

What is UNFORGIVEN but a movie about the psychological burden of killing? What is FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS if not a film about how war and having to kill people screws people up in the head (oh … the strawberry sauce) … especially if you’re from an Official Oppressed Ethnicity? What is LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA but an attempt at psychological understanding of The Enemy, and a painting of Japan’s wartime army as Modern Asian-Americans? What is MILLION DOLLAR BABY but an apologia for euthanizing people who don’t think their lives have any more meaning? How is MYSTIC RIVER a tragedy, or indeed anything but a meaningless tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing, unless its audience is the introspective sort that frets over the meaning of life?

January 2, 2009 - Posted by | Clint Eastwood

7 Comments »

  1. I’m very close to you politically, but come on. Yes, UNFORGIVEN is about the psychological burden of killing. But no one, conservative or otherwise, can argue that there isn’t a heavy psychological burden that comes with such an act. UNFORGIVEN is about bad guys, not good guys. The characters in that movie often do the wrong thing, and they should be burdened with the guilt their actions come with. There is nothing soft or liberal about that movie, in my opinion. We’re not all created equally and some people can be deeply screwed up from war and having to kill people. It doesn’t take a member of the anti-war crowd to figure that out. We are all, even the pro-war people, anti-war. Ya know?

    Comment by James | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. grgrgrgrgr

    What do you know about life and death?

    rrrrraaaahhhrrrrrrrr

    You’re just an overeducated 27-year-old virgin who likes to hold superstitious old ladies’ hands and promise them eternity

    rrrrrrrrr

    Comment by vjmorton | January 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. Gran Torino’s a great flick. What strikes me again about Eastwood is how he confounds the viewer with his movies’ conclusion.

    As for fighting and killing, self-preservation is the first instance of rationalism. Eastwood’s willing to put it on the screen. Even great directors like Spielberg have a hard time balancing moral clarity against “compassion” for the other.

    Interesting debate, in any case.

    Comment by Americaneocon | January 3, 2009 | Reply

  4. WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS

    What strikes me again about Eastwood is how he confounds the viewer with his movies’ conclusion.

    Well, its being essentially an unarmed suicide mission to provide a murder the police could pin on the Hmong gang was surprising — you’re led to expect Dirty Harry. The previous scenes are (hamfistedly-obvious) preparations for death, sure, but a death with the guns blazing.

    The problem is that the denouement (“they’ve got witnesses now, they’ll be in jail a long time”) makes no sense unless we’re supposed to believe that the Hmong neighbors will testify to this crime, against an outsider and stranger, but not crimes against one another (“the Hmong sure know how to keep their silence,” the priest says after the attack on the siblings).

    But far more importantly, GRAN TORINO and Eastwood’s performance … rrrrr … are so (literally) laughably bad, camp-masterpiece bad (“get me some of that good gook food”), in every facet of execution … that an attempt at Christ-sacrifice profundity in the last scene can only appeal to my sense of irony. Plus it proves that the rest of the movie wasn’t an intentional parody (“Eastwood really takes this seriously,” you’re saying to yourself while clutching your head in disbelief).

    Comment by vjmorton | January 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. V.J.: Yeah, well … much comes across pretty realistic, IMHO (especially the gangland culture), and K. Turan made the point that who else could have made made the grunts and snarls that menacingly realistic besides Clint…?

    Enjoy the movies my friend…

    Comment by Americaneocon | January 6, 2009 | Reply

  6. Clint Eastwood did a great job of using his outward crankiness to come across as mean as well as somehow heroic this newest film of his

    Comment by coffee | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  7. […] “But far more importantly, GRAN TORINO and Eastwood’s performance … rrrrr … are so (literally) laughably bad, camp-masterpiece bad (“get me some of that good gook food”), in every facet of execution … that an attempt at Christ-sacrifice profundity in the last scene can only appeal to my sense of irony. Plus it proves that the rest of the movie wasn’t an intentional parody (“Eastwood really takes this seriously,” you’re saying to yourself while clutching your head in disbelief).” (vjmorton) […]

    Pingback by Gran Torino » Pierced to the Heart | October 31, 2009 | Reply


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