Wednesday, 08 December 2010
THIS post could be a long one. Seriously, as a writer for Mancouch to Mancouch readers, what DIDN'T this movie teach us?
Gran Torino is about a grumpy old Korean war vet named Walt (Clint Eastwood) who, after his wife dies and family largely stops trying to maintain the relationship, finds himself alone in a neighborhood of minorities and gang violence. When a young Hmong boy named Thao falls to the gang's peer pressure crosses his path, Walt greets him with an icy grimace as only Clint can deliver (pictured) paired with the dark barrell of an M1 Garand. But he gives the boy a second chance to prove himself and teaches him what it means to be a man along the way. Gran Torino takes the classic unlikely role model tale, puts it on steroids, and stirs in more racial slurs than anyone knew existed to make a story that couldn't get much grittier in an American setting.
From advising Thao to date a girl to "clean the carbon off the valves" to how to bitch about the mechanic overcharging a brake job, Walt covers all the bases. On top of knowing how to act like a man, Walt commands respect like a man as well. He orders a priest to drink, kicks his own family out of his house, and pulls his trusty rifle out on the gang when they trespass on his property instead of calling the police. He can also fix whatever needs fixin' with his wide assortment of tools "collected over a lifetime" of fixing things. Whether it's fixing washing machines, dating, bitching, or pulling a gun on people, Walt Kowalski is your go-to guy. He drives a muscle car, doesn't need anybody, and doesn't especially want anybody, either.
I think the thing I appreciated the most about Walt was his ability to assess a situation immediately and cut the crap. Understanding where you stand in any and every given situation is an actual skill that many people don't have. Those who do have it save themselves a lot of trouble in life.
Fixing things, beating people up, relationships...Walt's got it all covered. What's your man-skill of choice?