Monday, January 19, 2009


Synopsis: Korean War vet Walt Kowalski tries to help his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, become a man.

GRAN TORINO is definitely not a chic flick, but one of my favorite films of the year.

Clint Eastwood plays recently widowed Korean War vet, Walt Kowalski. A curmudgeon that seems to be a boat adrift without his wife to be his ballast. He spends his time with his cooler full of beer and his white lab out on his front porch pelting passer-bys with his racial epitaphs and threats.

He doesn’t seem happy that his old Detroit neighborhood has been taken over by Asians…but he probably wouldn’t be happy if the neighborhood was full of other old Polish-Americans like himself. It’s not just his Hmong neighbors that feel the wrath of his racial slurs, he and his bar buddies slam each other with equal venom.

His spunky teenaged next door neighbor Sue, is able to put a slight crack in his cranky armor. When her cousin tries to draft her little brother, Thao, into his gang, Walt is pulled into the battle. And even though his character is the antithesis of Politically Correct, he is a man of conviction and you can understand why his generation is known as the greatest generation.

At 78, Eastwood is still able to pull off the quintessential tough guy. His performance is as cool and vintage as that 1972 Gran Torino that is his character’s prized possession.

The movie will make you cry, but give you lots to talk about. Highly recommend!

BEST LINE from the movie: “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while that you shouldn’t have messed with? That’s me.” (It’s the very type of line that you would imagine an aging Dirty Harry would deliver.)