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Year:
2008
Country:
USA, Germany, Australia
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
8.2
Director:
Clint Eastwood

 

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Christopher Carley as Father Janovich
Bee Vang as Thao Vang Lor
Ahney Her as Sue Lor
Brian Haley as Mitch Kowalski
Geraldine Hughes as Karen Kowalski
Dreama Walker as Ashley Kowalski
Brian Howe as Steve Kowalski
John Carroll Lynch as Barber Martin
William Hill as Tim Kennedy
Chee Thao as Grandma
Choua Kue as Youa
Gran Torino Storyline: Walt Kowalski is a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Thao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.
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Reviews
Predictable and Cliché, enjoyable only for the sheep.
If there's a handbook out there on how to make an award worthy movie, Eastwood not only has it, but lives by it. For most people Gran Torino will be on their top list of the year, but Gran Torino is chalked full of content that screams "award worthy" that it has the opposite effect. And the mistakes in this film are too obvious to ignore. At least for me they are.

Despite the praise this movie is getting, this is nowhere near the best of the year, or any best list altogether. This is a 2 hour instructional on how to make a movie with little to no budget that gets people talking about awards for it. So let me prove why that is.

Cookie cutter characters, and Grand Torino is full of them. From Walt ( Eastwood ), to Thao, Thao's sister, the entire Hmong family next door, the gangsta cousin, and the Priest. When you start with generic characters you're going to have a generic story. But wait, if it's generic ( AND IT IS ) why are people talking awards? Why was the screenplay so honored? Simple, you add in the "choker scene".

Despite being a generic story with generic characters there is one scene in the movie people will get choked up on. And I'm going to spoil that. Thao's sister gets raped. OMG HOW POWERFUL WAS THAT!! There I just listed what everyone talking about how they felt when they saw her. At this point in the movie the story already changed gears twice. Now this is the third change and its the gripper. Its the one that makes people say how powerful this movie is ( it isn't ) If anything it was a joke, when she came walking through the door I laughed cause I thought " OH here's the award moment right here." But people eat this stuff up and Eastwood knows it. Cause they did.

With the rape scene being the third story change I want to recap what happened before it. At first you see Walt hates his family, his neighborhood, the priest, and his neighbors. This goes on for a while. THEN SOMETHING HAPPENS!! Walt is liked by his neighbors, and in standard Hollywood fashion he learns more about the Hmong's which is basically a homage to any movie made where a foreigner is taught the customs and heritage of another race through an intelligent interpreter. That intelligent interpreter being Thao's sister ( SEE SO THE RAPE SCENE IS MORE POWERFUL LATER ) Add in something Walt does to SHOCK THE HMONG FAMILY, a mysterious Hmong shaman reads his fortune, Walt having a good time, and a conversation with Thao and end scene. Good to go to the next story change.

From that point on the movie is Walt warming up to Thao and the rest of the Hmongs. Now these guys are good pals. But there's a lot missing in this I feel. Thao goes from Forrest Gump quiet to "won't shut the hell up" in the course of a montage of him doing yard work in the neighborhood. I liked quiet Thao. But no-so-quiet Thao was annoying. From this point on I had a hard time figuring out what the point of this movie was.

And the lack of any really message left me thinking this movie served only one purpose. To win awards. And the screenplay did win one. And I think Clint won one as well. So as far as that end goes the movie was a success.

But for me its more than just about the awards. I've watched a lot of critically acclaimed and award winning movies over the years and for the majority of them they suck. They suck cause they all follow the same sort of pattern. They go to the play book on how to put scenes together and what to do in them that make it predictable. And your award winning moment is always something that shocks people. So Thao's sister being raped is that scene, how it played out was predictable, and what happened after it was uneventful. And in the end your left with a movie that doesn't change anything that you perceive or thought before you saw it.

There's no real emotion being had in this movie. Mostly cause the characters aren't likable. Thao's sister, annoying. Thao, interesting, then became annoying. Walt, funny, but too predictable to even care about. Walt could've have been likable but I had a problem when it was over. He liked the Hmongs who he befriended that summer more than his own family of 50 years. What a dork. I mean he couldn't even open up to them. But Thao was like the son he never had. But the catch is Thao wasn't any better a person than Walt's sons. Thao was better than his grand-kids, but the sons weren't worthy of so much hatred from the old man, at least not from what I saw.

Overall this movie is a disaster. Sure you get wisecracking Eastwood, but you also get feed a lot mixed messages and movie cliché's that make your eyes roll. And to top it off you get Eastwood singing at the end while the credits roll.
2009-01-13
Did Eastwood's sense of quality take a holiday?
Eastwood has shown us many times before he understands the art of movie-making. That's why it's so confusing to see he was able to make such an embarrassing, almost amateuristic movie. Yes, in the beginning of the movie some of the over the top grumpy, racist, cynical one-liners are quite amusing, but then it just turns into an embarrassing spectacle of bad acting, bad writing, bad editing, just bad movie-making. The acting of the girl, and especially the boy next door are just gutwrenching to watch. My head was spinning by such a display of amateurism. I try to understand how on earth they could have ended up in an Eastwood movie. Are they his adopted children or children of friends or something? For sure he's doing somebody a huge favor to include them in the movie. Some of the scenes are really beyond bad. What's up with him connecting with the Asian kids by fixing the washing machine in the basement? The whole idea of the scene is stupid and embarrassing, let alone the execution of it. And than the scene when they are waiting for the girl, not sure what happened to her. Eastwood stares at his hand saying (something like) "at least in Korea we were expecting to loose one of us".... Can it get more cheesy than that? I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry. And than the scenes with the barber. The initial idea works out well and amusing - the barber and Eastwood doing their grumpy routine. But than they try and milk the idea and even introduce the boy (deprived of all acting skills) into their 'domain of real men' to teach him the way of Men (to curse). It just gets so embarrassing, you just want to leave the theater and get drunk to simply destroy the brain cells that stored the whole thing, to save you from uncomfortable flashbacks for the rest of your life. Let's just hope mr. Eastwood had a blackout, let's just hope his sense of quality returns and let's hope the majority of IMDb-ers grow a sense of quality so 'movies' like this don't end up in the top 100 of all time again.
2009-07-09
This is a great cowboy film
Gran Torino is a Western. It has all the elements you love to see in a cowboy film. - Hard bitten (albeit aging) lead character, experienced, unafraid of danger in a cowboy zen kinda way. - A lawless town (neighborhood) where some innocents live - Bad guys running amok - Innocents in need of protection, leadership, a clean-up guy - Dangerous encounters in the streets - A woman who compliments the cowboy's hard bitten attitude (she has a heart of gold) - A local who wants to tow the line, stick to law (the priest) - The cowboy has a sense of ethics warped by his experience with bad guys - Questions of right and wrong and the existence of good (even God in this case) - Redemption (Eastwood assumes the position of Christ Crucified)

Gran Torino is a great western with nothing missing.
2009-01-24
Kowalski meets the Hmongs
This is certainly a likable movie for a plethora of reasons, but unfortunately it isn't all that good. Clint plays a disgruntled elderly WPC (white Polish Catholic) and Korean War veteran who's just lost his wife and who, although he hates to admit it to himself, is at the end of his line. To make things worse, a bunch of "gooks" (Hmong) are bringing down his neighbourhood -- he even catches one of them trying to steal his prized 1972 Gran Torino. When the perp's family sends the li'l rascal over as Kowalski's dogsbody to make amends, the unlikely duo eventually warm to each other. When Kowalski finds out that his neighbours -- gook or not -- are being bullied by a gang of Hmongs gone bad, he decides to settle the affair the old-timey kind of way ...

OK, could've been a showcase for old bone Clint, but the story's just too thin and predictable, the story-telling is far too hammy. For example, when Kowalski decides that his new-found protégé is too meek, he takes him along to a friend to show him how real men talk. The two old fogeys then present a model dialogue along the lines of "What do you want, you cheap Polack SOAB?" -- "A haircut, if your hectic schedule allows it, you lazy Irish MF." &c p. p. Kowalski is also being harried by a puffy-faced Catholic priest, with whom he suddenly makes amends at the end of the movie. And he lets on that he's killed at least 13 Koreans in the war, and that he sees their faces each night. It's just all a bit "seen it before, and better".

It was an OK movie to watch, but it never really goes anywhere.
2009-09-18
Not Among Eastwood's Best
Although I am a big fan of Eastwood and have enjoyed most of his films, I found Gran Torino to be overly sentimental and I'm confused by the high IMDb rating. The plot thread is almost banal - why would the tough Asian gang devote so much effort in pursuit of the teenage boy who did not want to be a member? and lacked credibility - the sick old man was able to intimidate these gang members? and is too familiar - hardened racist comes around, honorable man sacrifices his life for justice and absolves himself of past sins through his last actions on earth, etc., etc. And I disagree with the comment that viewers were permitted to 'make up our own minds'. In this film, the moral of the story was in the viewer's face and an emotional response was overtly solicited. Compared to Unforgiven, a film that was both powerful and subtle, and avoided obvious moral judgments, Gran Torino is an amateurish piece.
2009-08-31
A great feel-good movie with both comedy and tragedy at the same time
This movie made me laugh and cry at the same time. It deals with both grimy old bastards as well as with more serious matters as racism. Good acting from Clind as well as all his supporting actors and once again Clint has shown that he is capable of making movies that involves both emotions and stereotypes! The "olidish" bitterness of Clint's character and the mix between comedy and drama is just genius. The only criticism of the movie would be that the gang-bangers were pretty and does not correspond very well to all of the reports of gang violence all around the world. But overall I thought this was a great movie with lots of potential for being one of those films that you will actually remember when you visit the video rental store in five years from now.
2008-12-13
What... 8.3 / 10? Seriously? This is a 6 at best.
I couldn't believe it when I saw this on the IMDb top 250. Seeing one trailer gives away the whole movie. There is nothing interesting, challenging, or though provoking in this movie. The story is the same "learning the error of racism" we've seen a hundred times, with nothing good to make up for it.

I don't get it. Poor acting. Cut / Paste story. No distinguishing style or photography. An affront to film as an art form. I'm not a big Clint Eastwood fan to begin with, and I don't think I'm the target audience of this, but I much prefer him as an actor than director. At least his effort of Invictus had some good acting and historical significance to back it up, but even that was not an 8.3. This score makes me question the universe.
2012-01-07
Didn't make my day
I am a Clint Eastwood fan, but not lately.He has decided to reveal a human side of himself - went to the Wizard and acquired a heart. He also revealed he is a wooden actor and a plodding, predictable director. Gran Torino is uninteresting at best and tedious at worst,worse even than Million Dollar Baby,and contains some of the worst actors ever subjected to the silver screen. I did enjoy the Christ-image at the end as he is sprawled on the lawn,which was an unintentional touch of humor. He says he is going to continue directing pictures and maybe next time he could hire a professional screenwriter.

Speaking of directing, the Directors of the IMDb website should monitor entries more carefully.Currently, Gran Torino has an 8.5 ranking, which is a travesty.Since this puts it in with some mighty good movies,modern filmgoers obviously haven't a clue regarding what makes a good picture.Perhaps a separate category could be designated for films made after,say,1980.That might separate the film lovers from the dilettantes.
2009-01-17
Once again the Invasion of the Marketing Shills is launched on IMDb
Decent 80 minute movie compressed into 120 minutes. I don't care if it's Spielberg, Eastwood or Ed Wood, a movie produced and directed by the star is not going to be a good movie due to scene bloat.

Awful acting (or was it just growling) by Eastwood also. Pat Morita would have done (and did) better. This really is a weak Karate Kid knock-off, had they acknowledged this by putting in at least one "wax on wax off" line, it would have been marginally amusing. As it stands, it's just marginal.

I wonder what people who rate this way up in "Godfather" land charge studio hired marketing firms to do that. Is overhyping films on IMDb the "$80 an hour miracle job" they advertise on Facebook that is taking the country by storm these days?
2009-01-19
Unbelievably overrated
That's it. I give up. Clint Eastwood's films have lost it for me. After the predictable, boring, clichéd tripe that was Million Dollar Baby I risked seeing this as again I was taken in by all the good reviews... never again. Come on, when are people going to stop humouring this boring old fart? Drag his character over from MDB, make him a hate-filled racist as well as a scowling misogynist, and you have this guy. Don't you just want to see the angry, growling old git inevitably get reformed in the most painfully predictable, clichéd way by the most painfully predictable, clichéd characters imaginable, yet again? Please say no.

At least MDB had people that could act, can't say the same for this. Watch the kid screaming to get out of the basement after the dirty old man's locked him in there, you'll see what I mean. I also would've gladly punched the girl in the face as well, to the point of being envious of the people that eventually got to do it in the film.

What I hated about this... I don't even know where to begin. Started off boring, like MDB. Got even more tedious through the middle, most of the scenes being obvious set ups for all the 'emotional, hard-hitting' stuff later on, like MDB. The utterly inane and predictable build-up and ending fell jarringly flat, like MDB. By the end I was as angry as Eastwood himself. The film did reach a high point for me then, I had a LOL moment as Eastwood started singing (yes, singing) some puke-inducing crap song about his car through the closing credits, which I guess was supposed to be sad and emotional. The funniest comedies don't make me laugh that hard, the goriest horror films don't make me feel as sick. Thanks Clint. Now go back to bed and stop bothering people old man, don't get up again. You're just embarrassing yourself.

Seriously, I'm lost for words as to why this is so highly rated. I can't understand why people insist on eating up this one-dimensional crap. Are they scared to say they don't like it? I'm not. I hated this film. Worst one I've had to sit through in a long time.
2009-09-26
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