Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gran Torino

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that really strikes a chord. Gran Torino is one of those movies. It features yet another memorable performance by Clint Eastwood, who has a whole boatload of such classic performances on his sterling resume.

In the movie Clint plays a character named Walt Kowalski, a son of Polish immigrants who won a Purple Heart in the Korean War. His character is in stark contrast to his self - absorbed baby boomer children, and "Valley - girl pierced" grandchildren.

Clint's character is a Catholic, widower who worked forty years on the assembly line at Ford to give his wife and children a better life. He appreciates the simple things in life, namely his loyal dog, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and his mint-condition 1972 Ford Gran Torino. He was loyal to his wife and provided for his children, who don't seem to remember his sacrifice or worse yet, don't care. Walt's neighborhood is deteriorating and becoming increasingly unsafe but he refuses to move, especially into a development for seniors like his son and daughter-in-law want him to do. The movie focuses on a friendship he develops with his Asian (Hmong) neighbors, and how he protects them from a local, Hmong gang who is terrorizing them.

In short, it is a microcosm of what makes America great - hard work, sacrifice, concern for others, and the understanding that there are things out there bigger than oneself. Unfortunately these characteristics are in short supply these days, and will become in even shorter supply as people in Walt's generation continue to dwindle in the coming years.

This picture deserves to win several awards, as do Clint and several of the other actors. Unfortunately, in politically correct Hollywood, it has no chance. However, it will I believe, resonate on Main Street which is the real America. Kudos to Walt Kowalski and the millions of other hardworking Americans he represents, who helped make this country the greatest nation in the history of civilization.

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