Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gran Torino - go see it

I could just leave my review at those three words, go see it, but I'll give you a little more. This is easily Clint Eastwood's best movies since 1992's Unforgiven. I wasn't as swept away with Million Dollar Baby as some were, and maybe I am just showing my age, but I know a few people like Walt Kowalski, Eastwood's character in Gran Torino. Cranky old guys from the back end of the Greatest Generation who like things just as they were, in 1955.

I won't give too much of the story away, but I do enjoy the interaction between 'Walt' and 27 year old Father Janovich. Having been in the young Father's shoes, trying to speak about the matters of this world with someone who has seen much more of life's dark underside, war and combat, than I will ever see, I felt for the young Priest. I also know the kind heart hidden behind the gruff and bristled exterior of men like Walt Kowalski. It is not easy to see, but I have sat around camp fires and on a bar stools next to them and began to understand how they see the world. If you listen close, past the rough language, you will catch a glimpse of that kindness and warmth.

You may have a Walt Kowalski in your life, the old guy next door, the grandfather that you don't like, or that guy who drives his 1972 Ford pickup down the road at 50 miles per hour and makes you late for work. You might want to look past that gruff exterior and see what you can find. They won't be around much longer, their experiences and the changes they have seen in their lives is simply amazing. Buy them lunch, they are usually a thrifty bunch and will appreciate this. Ask them what they were doing at your age, ask them what it was like back then. It could change the way think about their generation. It has changed my view.

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