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Monday, January 5, 2009

Gran Tarino: WTF?

Gran Torino is a D+ film with an A+ performance by Clint Eastwood.  Believe the hype:  Clint, in what is being said to be his acting swan song, gives one of the best performances of his carrer (William Munny in Unforgiven is still his greatest).  But that's all this film has going for it. Gran Torino plays out like a student film starring a geriatric Dirty Harry.

Bottom line:  this film is terrible for two reasons:  the script and the supporting cast.

Eastwood plays Walt, a racist, recently widowed Korean War vet who seems to do nothing all day but sit on his porch, drink beer, and grumble about how Asians have taken over his neighborhood. I'm not sure if screenwriter Nick Schenk intended to write such a
hilarious and contrived script, but he did.  Every plot point is telegraphed from a mile away. Character motivations serve the story not the characters.  Oh, and the dialogue is nothing less than atrocious.  The most absurd aspect of the script is when Walt insults everyone he speaks to most of the characters react to him as though they can't hear him, or as if they're amused by him.  I've dated a few Asian girls in my time, and trust me, the epithet 'gook' is not considered humorous or flattering.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines acting simply as:  the art or practice of representing a character.  
Now, if I were a young, aspiring asian actor and saw this film, I would find Bee Vang and Ahney Her and ask if either 
one of them knew this definition.  Or I'd beat the living crap out of their untalented asses.  This is the worst acting I have ever seen in a major studio film.  They make Sophia Coppola's performance in Godfather III look like iconic in comparison .  What in the hell was Eastwood thinking when he was casting/directing/acting in/editing this film? Was he too wrapped up in what he was doing to bother directing these two amateurs?  Casting director Ellen Chenoweth should be embarrassed.

An icon like Clint Eastwood deserves his final performance to be in a better film than this.  It deserves The Shootist or Road to Perdition.  Not this.  

Gran Torino is either a terrible drama or one of the most subtle comedies of the decade. Perhaps both.
1 out of 5


  1. still excited to see the movie even after this review. will put up with a lot in the face of a good Eastwood performance.

  2. Now that's a review you can set your watch to. Thank you for confirming my pre-judgements about this and saving me ten bucks. Seriously, I thought the trailers looked like SNL skits. For shame...

  3. I thought that Eastwood was such an asshole it was hilarious. I laughed through the majority of the film mainly at the ridiculous faces he makes. The strangest part was when the closing credits start to Clint Eastwood singing the Gran Torino "Theme". (His son did the soundtrack.) Hal I think you should see it for comedic value, there's a great torrent out there if you don't want to pay.

  4. So it didn't get "snubbed" for an Oscar nomination, it was just straight up junk? I didn't see it and after the Oscar Nom's came out a bunch of yahoos on aol were crying about the film getting any nominations. I chose not to see it. I didn't like the trailer and it looked too much like Million Dollar Baby-ish-y. Right? Dirty Harry, I mean, grumpy old man who is deeply hurt and misunderstood, softens to an unlikely someone who he then takes care of while he takes issue with the Catholic church.