Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy..."

If my blog template had a subtitle box, it'd go here and look like this!

I was visiting Jenny's, and she had this post that suggested that she has blog-ideas that when fresh, have a brilliance that later don't seem so brilliant. But, that her ideas have a sort of cooling off period in what she calls a "draft" folder. What a concept!

Here I was thinking that the whole purpose of blogging was supposed to be vomicking out all your unwashed creativity on the back-porch of the blogosphere, and later judging its worth by which reader-cats came along and licked it up.

Important side note: The preceding paragraph is an illustration of my own blogging ignorance, and definitely not a reflection of her blog. I have nothing but reverence for Jenny. Jenny rocks.

Point I was getting at, though, is that I've been fighting the need to blog out something along the lines of Why I'm Not A Democrat, Anymore, because...

See, there it is. I get running just a little bit on it, and it bogs down fast. But back to the point: I'm thinking on it, and it'll be good when it's finished, but if I throw some notions into it (over there in draft-land) and come back later, without letting it rip my guts out all at once, I may actually get to some other things, which might come easier.

But, on the other hand, it could be like jokus-buildupicus. That term's my invention, by the way. It refers to when someone says, "Oh, I've got this great joke..." Then, before it gets told, it gets interrupted, again and again, until it becomes a joke that is no longer funny. So, forget I said anything about the "great" Not A Democrat thing. Don't forget I mentioned it, just forget I said anything about it having any value...just so you're not disappointed. But, if you wonder, "Now why hasn't he been bloggin'?" you'll have that little thing in the back of your brain that says, "...maybe he's drafting..."

So, while I'm drafting over there, today's blog will be a movie review...

Having recently stumbled across some discussion about the new Clint Eastwood movie, Gran Torino, and having also recently seen the film, I thought I'd volunteer my assessment. The "discussion" in question was on the bulletin board over at the Upland Journal, which is great, by the way, and chock-full of mighty fine people. I found it odd, reading the opinions posted there, that almost all of them liked the film. Someone even compared it to John Wayne's The Shootist, as if it similarly puts a punctuation mark on Clint's career like Shootist did for The Duke.

Now, understand one thing. I am an enormous Clint Eastwood fan.

That said, this film fails in a couple of ways, and doesn't rank as nearly his best effort. I think Eastwood should have either gotten someone else cast in the lead role, or had a different director. All the performances were way over the top. Clint's Kowalski is more bitter and bigoted than he has to be. Kowalski's sons and their families are more superficial, banal, and coarse than they should be (or would be allowed to be, if Kowalski's character is anywhere near as hard as he is depicted). The priest-guy? Too sappy, or something. Kowalski's transition from tough and aloof to open and disarmed, as a product of the priest's counsel? Unconvincing. Ditto with his (Kowalski's) catharsis of character regarding the Hmong neighbors. Not sayin' it couldn't happen, just sayin' that going from point A to point B should have been more than an exercise in button-pushing. Some honest character-development would've been nice. A measure of subtlety could have done wonders.

Looks to me like the story had potential, but someone decided to short-cut the actual work in favor of spoon-feeding the audience. I think it could've been so much better. On a scale of 1 to 10? I say 7.

Compare it to The Shootist? No way, Jack. Not even close.

My list of the best Clint Eastwood movies:
  1. The Outlaw Josey Wales
  2. Paint Your Wagon
  3. Dirty Harry
  4. The Unforgiven
  5. Million Dollar Baby
  6. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  7. The Eiger Sanction (I recreated a scene from this, in an actual fist-fight in high school)
  8. A Fistful Of Dollars
  9. Two Mules For Sister Sarah
  10. (Tie)The Beguiled, The Bridges of Madison County

It had been since 04's Million Dollar Baby that we got some new Eastwood. Let's hope that we don't have to wait that long again, or that if we do, it turns out a little better.


  1. Could watch Outlaw Josey Wales and Unforgiven back to back, every night from midnight to 4:45Am every night...all 266mins...almost...

  2. Yeah man, so could I! Have you seen Torino, yet?

    Has anyone else? Your opinion?

    I'd love to hear anybody else's top 10 Clint Eastwood films.