Grumpa Meets His Match

gran-torinoYesterday, I met my match. I like to refer to myself as “Grumpa” because my disposition is not always cheerful. Peggy and I continued our ‘wild and crazy” days by seeing another movie. That’s two within seven days of each other. The main character in the movie is Walt Kowalski played by Clint Eastwood. Walt clearly owns the title of “Grumpa.”  He’s retired from Ford, and living next to a troubled kid who loves to garden.

The movie is Gran Torino. I thought Slumdog Millionaire was great, but Gran Torino is right next to it. My expectation was to see a car movie. There is a beautiful 1972 Gran Torino in the film, but it is there as a grand possession. It barely moves throughout the film.  Throughout the story, Walt is bugged by a young priest who tells him he should go to confession. The story had me laughing out loud, yet at points it  brought me to tears.  We saw it on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, and it was a beautiful way to begin lent. 

The opening  begins at a funeral mass for Walt’s wife of many years.  Walt moves on to deal with his grief by exhibiting great animosity and hatred for his Hmong-Chinese neighbors whom he mistakes for Koreans. Slowly, Walt, a gook hating veteran of the Korean war evolves into a man who truly loves his neighbor, and is willing to sacrifice greatly for him.

This picture includes all the key elements of a good story. It has drama, intrigue, humor, tension, conflict, love, and compassion. The acting by Eastwood and the supporting cast is  believable and noteworthy. The plot is  a 2009 vintage contemporary drama. The ending is guaranteed to bring one to tears, as it did me.  It is also untypical of what one might expect from today’s society. The symbolism in the final scene was dramatic and thought provoking.

Why wasn’t  this movie nominated for an Oscar? As I watched the credits roll by it became clear to me that Eastwood was being dissed by Hollywood. He is a co-author of the story. He produced, and directed the film. Additionally, he played the  principal role. I believe he bucked the establishment with this performance, and produced a heart warming story with a moral. Another reason might be that the story includes religion in it’s telling. Could it be that the liberal anti-God, hollywood gay loving establishment dissed the Catholic Church too?

Peggy and I have been discussing the film ever since.

We give it four stars.****

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