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Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Old 01-04-09, 04:17 AM
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Old 01-04-09, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by grrr View Post
I found the film borderline unwatchable. The script is ridiculous, the acting is uniformly terrible, and the conclusion of the film is as cliched as anything Eastwood has ever directed.

Gran Torino is a hamfisted morality play devoid of subtlety or believable characterization. It is amateurish in every respect, from its approach to relationships between ethnicities and generations (one of the keys to the film that has been ignored in most reviews) to the production values and acting.

You always go into a film wanting to give it a fair shake, but when a screenplay squanders its audience's good will with a cartoonish scene every five minutes (teenagers texting their friends during their own grandmother's funeral, old men growling for kids to get off their lawn, ridiculously foul-mouthed barbers who keep shotguns next to their razors and combs), the film deserves every last drop of bile it receives.

This film is going to polarize viewers in the same way as Crash and MDB, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it capture several awards in a few months. Don't be fooled--this film is Crash's kissing cousin and another in a long line of preachy, manipulative, and insulting attempts to address the cultural gaps existing in the United States.
I liked the movie, but hated the message; sort of like my feelings about Forrest Gump.

Spoiler:
The moral of the movie is that asians are the model minority and are the rightful heirs of American prosperity and opportunity, while other minorities such as blacks and even whites themselves are continually demonized by society. It's most apparent at the end when Thao is driving off in the Gran Torino - his white granddaughter thought she was going to be the heir to detroit's legacy, but instead it is the model asian youth. That's certainly a message that's resonating in our time.

Walt's martyrdom in the end is probably significant, in that Americans feel as if they are swiftly fading into obscurity, and there needs to be some other ethnic group who can pick up the same ideals, morals, and traditions as Americans. In other words, carrying on the legacy of America, just without white people.

There are few positive portrayals of whites and blacks in the movie - actually, scratch that. There are NO positive depictions of blacks in this movie, and every white person under 40 is a total douche.

The turning point of the movie is when Sue and Walt become friends, after Walt "rescues" her. They bond because they've found a common enemy, the race that society truly feels deserves discrimination. There's no opportunity for those blacks and that douchebag white dude to give any sense of restitution for their actions, but the meek, humble, and conformist asian family is allowed to.

This movie's message was just another in a long line of hollywood movies that reinforce racial stereotypes, totally demonizing certain minorities while holding some up in the limelight as being deserving of respect.

Last edited by Superboy; 01-04-09 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 01-04-09, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
A decent film, but the plot machinations were entirely predictable and you could spot the ending a mile away. Here's my one question - are there actually people who want Detroit Lions season tickets?
I can answer that question for you because I am not a sport's fan and this is the reason. Yes there are people who want season ticket's and that's the reason the lions suck and will continue to suck.
As long as people are paying money to come to the games then it doesn't matter if they win or lose.
Sport's fan's who pay money to see a team that suck's are idiot's.
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Old 01-04-09, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Superboy View Post
I liked the movie, but hated the message; sort of like my feelings about Forrest Gump.

Spoiler:
The moral of the movie is that asians are the model minority and are the rightful heirs of American prosperity and opportunity, while other minorities such as blacks and even whites themselves are continually demonized by society. It's most apparent at the end when Thao is driving off in the Gran Torino - his white granddaughter thought she was going to be the heir to detroit's legacy, but instead it is the model asian youth. That's certainly a message that's resonating in our time.

Walt's martyrdom in the end is probably significant, in that Americans feel as if they are swiftly fading into obscurity, and there needs to be some other ethnic group who can pick up the same ideals, morals, and traditions as Americans. In other words, carrying on the legacy of America, just without white people.

There are few positive portrayals of whites and blacks in the movie - actually, scratch that. There are NO positive depictions of blacks in this movie, and every white person under 40 is a total douche.

The turning point of the movie is when Sue and Walt become friends, after Walt "rescues" her. They bond because they've found a common enemy, the race that society truly feels deserves discrimination. There's no opportunity for those blacks and that douchebag white dude to give any sense of restitution for their actions, but the meek, humble, and conformist asian family is allowed to.

This movie's message was just another in a long line of hollywood movies that reinforce racial stereotypes, totally demonizing certain minorities while holding some up in the limelight as being deserving of respect.
Spoiler:
I don't agree with your assessment at all. If anything, this movie helps break down the Asian model minority stereotype by portraying an Asian-American family that is not always prim and proper, and instead one that acts how any "American" family would in those circumstances.

Firstly, that the family is Hmong is a huge break-through in a society that often thinks of Asian exclusively as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

Secondly, the family is poor. The whole model minority stereotype is hinged around the idea that Asians are socially successful through hard work and conformity, and yet Gran Torino depicts an Asian family that is relegated to a lower middle class ethnic enclave.

The story would have worked just as well had Thao's family been any other minority - it might even work had the family been white. I mean, the only truly Asian thing about them were the family gatherings they have. That Asians were chosen instead of blacks or Latinos, I think, speaks more for the "freshness" of Asian families in mainstream American cinema than anything else.

Now to your points: Thao did not inherit the Gran Torino because he was a "model Asian youth." He received the car because 1) he was not a brat like the granddaughter was, and 2) he developed a close relationship with Walt - something Walt's family failed to do. Thao's race had nothing to do with it.

That there weren't positive depictions of whites, blacks, or Latinos in the film does not automatically mean that they were "demonized." There actually has to be a significant on-screen presence before anyone can be demonized in a movie. Yes, they were portrayed in a negative light, but the blacks and Latinos in the movie were thugs! What else do you expect?

It isn't as if the Asian gang members in the movie were given a free pass. If anything, it is the Asian gang that's demonized in the movie. Raping his own cousin? Now, that's demonic.

As for the white people, I would have to agree that Walt's family members are overly caricatured douches, but they are written as douches mostly because they are in Walt's family rather than their skin color.

Finally, Sue and Walt do not bond "because they've found a common enemy, the race that society truly feels deserves discrimination." Sue tried to get to know Walt before that incident took place. Being in the same truck cab forces them to interact because Walt can no longer scurry back inside his house. Sue and Walt's true common enemy is Thao's cousin and his gang.
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Old 01-05-09, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by utopianz14 View Post
Spoiler:
I don't agree with your assessment at all. If anything, this movie helps break down the Asian model minority stereotype by portraying an Asian-American family that is not always prim and proper, and instead one that acts how any "American" family would in those circumstances.
Spoiler:


I'm curious as to how you think that this is expressed in the movie

Firstly, that the family is Hmong is a huge break-through in a society that often thinks of Asian exclusively as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.
True, but they got some details wrong with the Hmong history.

Secondly, the family is poor. The whole model minority stereotype is hinged around the idea that Asians are socially successful through hard work and conformity, and yet Gran Torino depicts an Asian family that is relegated to a lower middle class ethnic enclave.
They're new immigrants, so of course they're not going to be well off. But the whole point of the model minority stereotype is that when you have asian populations in the same social conditions as blacks, hispanics and poor whites, they're more likely to succeed.

The story would have worked just as well had Thao's family been any other minority - it might even work had the family been white. I mean, the only truly Asian thing about them were the family gatherings they have. That Asians were chosen instead of blacks or Latinos, I think, speaks more for the "freshness" of Asian families in mainstream American cinema than anything else.
Ah, I keep forgetting how much Latinos have oversaturated the mainstream media.

And what other factors despite the characters being asian, speaking asian languages, explaining (although this part is wrong in the movie) asian cultural traditions, eating asian food (although the wrong kind), driving a japanese car, etc etc that was in this movie would have you think confirm that they were asian. Because it seemed like they sure as hell went to great lengths to establish that these characters were asian.

Now to your points: Thao did not inherit the Gran Torino because he was a "model Asian youth." He received the car because 1) he was not a brat like the granddaughter was, and 2) he developed a close relationship with Walt - something Walt's family failed to do. Thao's race had nothing to do with it.
That was entirely my point. You explain points of the movie, but you don't understand the significance. It's like saying the majority of movies aren't racist against blacks, because blacks just happen to be the ones who are always committing violent acts against whites and they just happen to pull the trigger. The white person isn't pulling the trigger, the black person is, so there's no racism there! You clearly missed the symbolic significance of his Gran Torino.

That there weren't positive depictions of whites, blacks, or Latinos in the film does not automatically mean that they were "demonized." There actually has to be a significant on-screen presence before anyone can be demonized in a movie. Yes, they were portrayed in a negative light, but the blacks and Latinos in the movie were thugs! What else do you expect?
You're doing it again. They're thugs, so they're obviously demonized! but WHY did they choose to put blacks in the movie and portray them like this.

It isn't as if the Asian gang members in the movie were given a free pass. If anything, it is the Asian gang that's demonized in the movie. Raping his own cousin? Now, that's demonic.
But there's the message that asians are capable of redemption and achieving success. This message is never explored with blacks.

As for the white people, I would have to agree that Walt's family members are overly caricatured douches, but they are written as douches mostly because they are in Walt's family rather than their skin color.

Finally, Sue and Walt do not bond "because they've found a common enemy, the race that society truly feels deserves discrimination." Sue tried to get to know Walt before that incident took place. Being in the same truck cab forces them to interact because Walt can no longer scurry back inside his house. Sue and Walt's true common enemy is Thao's cousin and his gang.
It seems like you've completely missed all of symbolic significance of the movie, as if all of this happening wasn't the intention of the writer/director, but just "happened".
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Old 01-05-09, 09:41 AM
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I thought this movie was great. Sharp dialogue (sometimes a little bit forced, but forgiveable) and just a powerhouse performance from Clint. Yeah the rest of the actors aren't nearly as good, but it doesn't matter. Entertaining from start to finish. I find all this 'racial' talk in this thread kind of ridiculous, because while that certainly was a backdrop to this movie, I thought it was much more about the Generation Gap thematically than it was about racial issues.
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Old 01-05-09, 02:42 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

I loved the movie.

Great movie.
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Old 01-05-09, 06:23 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Originally Posted by grrr View Post
I found the film borderline unwatchable. The script is ridiculous, the acting is uniformly terrible, and the conclusion of the film is as cliched as anything Eastwood has ever directed.

Gran Torino is a hamfisted morality play devoid of subtlety or believable characterization. It is amateurish in every respect, from its approach to relationships between ethnicities and generations (one of the keys to the film that has been ignored in most reviews) to the production values and acting.

You always go into a film wanting to give it a fair shake, but when a screenplay squanders its audience's good will with a cartoonish scene every five minutes (teenagers texting their friends during their own grandmother's funeral, old men growling for kids to get off their lawn, ridiculously foul-mouthed barbers who keep shotguns next to their razors and combs), the film deserves every last drop of bile it receives.

This film is going to polarize viewers in the same way as Crash and MDB, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it capture several awards in a few months. Don't be fooled--this film is Crash's kissing cousin and another in a long line of preachy, manipulative, and insulting attempts to address the cultural gaps existing in the United States.
At least "Crash" was semi-watchable the first time. And no where near as amateurish, as you pointed out. But I agree with everything you said in your post. And then some. I absolutely hated every second of this movie. The acting, writing and direction were all just awful IMO.
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Old 01-05-09, 06:27 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)



Great movie!!!
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Old 01-05-09, 06:48 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Excellent movie.
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Old 01-05-09, 08:09 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

geez. this guy just keeps going. I thought he was dead! Or maybe he is and just keeps going anyway.
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Old 01-05-09, 08:50 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Re: Superboy

Spoiler:
They're new immigrants, so of course they're not going to be well off. But the whole point of the model minority stereotype is that when you have asian populations in the same social conditions as blacks, hispanics and poor whites, they're more likely to succeed.
I'm pretty sure they're not recent immigrants. The English proficiency gap between Thao/Sue and their parents/grandparents leads me to believe that Thao and Sue were born in the U.S. (or at the very least, they immigrated when they were extremely young), and that indicates the older generation Hmong have been here for one or two decades. Also, recent immigrants do not buy houses, no matter what neighborhood the houses are in.

The model minority stereotype (and that's exactly what it is: a stereotype) applies mostly to those of East Asian descent. Immigrants from Southeast Asia have a history of underperforming economically and socially in the U.S. which is why I find lumping all Asians together under one race to be ludicrous when talking about the stereotype.

That said, I see no evidence that the Hmong in the movie are more successful than the blacks, Hispanics, and poor whites living in their neighborhood, and that is why I find fault with your original statement that "the moral of the movie is that asians are the model minority and are the rightful heirs of American prosperity and opportunity..."

Ah, I keep forgetting how much Latinos have oversaturated the mainstream media.

And what other factors despite the characters being asian, speaking asian languages, explaining (although this part is wrong in the movie) asian cultural traditions, eating asian food (although the wrong kind), driving a japanese car, etc etc that was in this movie would have you think confirm that they were asian. Because it seemed like they sure as hell went to great lengths to establish that these characters were asian.
I never said Latinos have oversaturated the mainstream media - I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm not questioning the "Asian-ness" of the Hmong family. I'm saying that their story traverses racial boundaries. Gang violence impacts families of all races; the Hmong family can just as easily be black of Hispanic. At the very core of the plot, race doesn't matter.

So, why then does Gran Torino center around a family of Hmong and not some other minority group? The most logical answer would be the screenwriter's connection with the Hmong of Minnesota. Nick Schenk, a first-time screenwriter, worked alongside Hmong immigrants at a local factory, and he has said that they helped shape his story.

You explain points of the movie, but you don't understand the significance.
I admit I'm not reading between the lines much, but that's because I prefer to analyze what's presented in front of me rather than make baseless insinuations. You keep on mentioning "symbolic significance" and how I'm missing it - that's a bit pretentious, no?

WHY did they choose to put blacks in the movie and portray them like this.
By this logic, all violence depicted in films between people of different races can be construed as racism on the part of the screenwriter. The truth is, we don't know the answer to your question, and it would be unfair to the screenwriter to make presumptions as you are doing.

But there's the message that asians are capable of redemption and achieving success. This message is never explored with blacks.
I don't see that message anywhere. Thao's cousin and his gang were never close to redemption. And no one is achieving success in the movie for reasons mentioned above. The message - whatever that may be - is not explored in the blacks because the story is not about them.

Err... I mean:

Excellent movie!
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Old 01-06-09, 09:16 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Thao mentions that he was born in the US, during the job interview.
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Old 01-07-09, 02:34 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Originally Posted by mdc3000 View Post
I thought this movie was great. Sharp dialogue (sometimes a little bit forced, but forgiveable) and just a powerhouse performance from Clint. Yeah the rest of the actors aren't nearly as good, but it doesn't matter. Entertaining from start to finish. I find all this 'racial' talk in this thread kind of ridiculous, because while that certainly was a backdrop to this movie, I thought it was much more about the Generation Gap thematically than it was about racial issues.
This was a great movie. And I agree, this was not about race at all. The whole point when Eastwood took the kid to the barbershop was to show that. To me this movie was about respect,not just for other people but for yourself and the place that you live and the things that you do. I think it showed how easy it is for anyone from any background however remote, such as the Hmong, can be seduced by stupidity. To me the Hmong gang were portrayed as the worst in humans. Far worse then what the black or hispanic kids were doing because
Spoiler:
they would even prey on their own family. At the end it wasn't white people that Eastwood missed, it was the neighborhood. The ending was great as well, even though I would have loved to see him go to town with the Garand against all those 9mm bullet hoses.
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Old 01-09-09, 08:26 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Me, Dad, and a friend are seeing it tonight, now that its finally gone wide. Cant wait!
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Old 01-09-09, 11:53 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Good movie, but really shouldn't be considered seriously by the Academy for any major awards (although if they want to nominate the "Grand Torino" song just in the hope Eastwood will sing it at the show, I'd be for that).

Then again, Benajmin Button isn't much better than Grand Torino, so if it deserves all the Oscar Buzz, I have no problems with Clint getting a few noms thrown his way.
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Old 01-09-09, 08:49 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Just got back. Loved it, one of the best movies i've seen. The audience was a good mix of young and old, laughed at most of the slurs, and did clap at the end. Great movie.
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Old 01-10-09, 12:01 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

I just got back from it tonight, and I think I need to think over the movie some more before I reach a final verdict, but overall I really enjoyed it.

I admit, I laughed my ass off when Clint asks "What are you spooks doing out here?".
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Old 01-10-09, 10:56 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

I really don't get all the love for this movie.. Other than Eastwood I felt the acting was BEYOND horrible.. To the point it was hard to keep watching bad.. I kept telling myself it had to get better because of all the praise.. Alas, it did not..
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Old 01-10-09, 11:39 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Originally Posted by tbird2340 View Post
I really don't get all the love for this movie.. Other than Eastwood I felt the acting was BEYOND horrible.. To the point it was hard to keep watching bad.. I kept telling myself it had to get better because of all the praise.. Alas, it did not..
There was this much praise when UNFORGIVEN came out by the critics too.
I wonder back then they thought this is Clint's last western and let's over praise it. The same may be the case here with Clint's last tough guy role.
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Old 01-11-09, 02:50 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Originally Posted by tbird2340 View Post
I really don't get all the love for this movie.. Other than Eastwood I felt the acting was BEYOND horrible.. To the point it was hard to keep watching bad.. I kept telling myself it had to get better because of all the praise.. Alas, it did not..
Agreed.

I don't get all of the praise and love this movie is getting. Clint says jump and you guys say how high. WTF? By the praise this movie is getting you would think Clint shits gold turds. The truth of it is Clint's directing and acting gigs in the last 20 years or so are spotty at best. You get your occasional gems, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, but this, Gran Torino, not one of those gems. Quit gawking and getting all giddy at Eastwood's name on the poster, step back and really look at this movie, and and you will see how disappointing this movie is.

This movie isn't absolute junk by any means, but I was expecting a much, much more. But simply put, it was above average at best. The HORRIFIC acting in this movie is practically unbearable. Can you find any worse actors? The subpar direction. And listening to Clint moan and mumble every god damn second was distracting as hell. The forgetful characters (Sue was the only decent memorable, shining character) the constant bombardment of racial slurs was very distracting as well. The bad writing and dialog. Ugggh. Not at one time did I feel anything for any of these characters, of course you get the cliched movie "shock value" of what happened with Sue, which you could see coming from a mile away. Grossly predictable.

The movie had more distractions than real redeeming qualities to it. There were a few shining moments, but the distractions outweighed them 10 fold.

If the Academy recognizes this movie in any way, shape or form, it will be a joke, this movie does not deserve it. Its an in your face racial drama, with a classic acting icon, I can see the appeal to the average person. And the grossly misleading trailers/ads for this movie makes it look like the next Dirty Harry, which for the average movie goer, well you are in for a surprise.

Not horrible, but very disappointing.
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Old 01-11-09, 03:09 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Well said. You summed all my thoughts as well.

I agree that the ads were misleading. This movie just built up and then ended.
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Old 01-11-09, 08:31 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Originally Posted by wm lopez View Post
There was this much praise when UNFORGIVEN came out by the critics too.
I wonder back then they thought this is Clint's last western and let's over praise it. The same may be the case here with Clint's last tough guy role.
Unforgiven is overrated? No way.
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Old 01-11-09, 08:50 AM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Originally Posted by MANBREASTS View Post
Sport's fan's who pay money to see a team that suck's are idiot's.
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Old 01-11-09, 03:18 PM
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re: Gran Torino (2008, Eastwood)

Awwwww, geez. I'm a fan of Clint's. I really am. He's made some great films over the years and I think he's a very good director (Unforgiven is on my top 10 of all time films), but I can't agree with the general consensus about Gran Torino.

I'm in the minority that found it almost unbearable. It was full of caricatures instead of real fleshed out characters. Almost every situation that occured felt forced and hammy. The acting (especially from the Asian characters) was terrible - but they didn't have much to work with considering the dialogue. It felt almost like a student film with the awkward pauses where you can almost see the actor trying to act, to the unbelievable situations the characters find themselves in and their actions. And don't get me started about that priest that keeps popping up everywhere.

Nothing in this movie felt real to me. I didn't care about any of the characters because I couldn't take them seriously. And I swear that the message of the movie was, "You can sling all the racial slurs you want as long as you do it with love". I didn't think the film was terrible, but it was far from great (or even good IMO). And Clint's singing is nothing to write home about either.
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