Friday, December 12, 2008

The Macho Response: Clint Eastwood

"Walt Kowalski,...has just put his longtime wife in the ground,...From his scowl, it looks as if he would like to join her.

He sits on his front porch chugging can after can of cheap beer in the company of his yellow Labrador, Daisy, watching the world at a safe distance with a squint and a stream of bitter commentary. Kept at bay, the remaining members of his family — including two sons with big houses, big cars, big waistlines — have no choice but to let him stew alone. Yet the rest of the world refuses,...despite his best efforts and grimace.

...No one seems a more unlikely (or reluctant) father,...a foulmouthed bigot with an unprintable epithet for every imaginable,...group. Growling — often literally, 'Grr, grr' — he resists,...overtures like a man under siege, walled in by years of suspicion, prejudice and habit.

Walt assumes his protector role gradually, a transformation that at first plays in an often broadly comic key."


-- Manohla Dargis, noticing Clint Eastwood understands more about the American masculine ideal than most of these so-called "men" (or "women") today can grasp - in a review of "Gran Torino" - from The New York Times.