This Week in the Mercury

Monday, January 12, 2009


Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 10:00 AM


I finished watching Gran Torino (which Steve reviewed here) like 12 hours ago, and still, the only phrase that comes into my mind whenever I think of it is, "What the shit was that?" As far as I can tell, Gran Torino is a lighthearted, Odd Couple-style comedy wherein a racist, PBR-lovin' old man becomes bosom buddies with a Hmong teenager, a setup which somehow gives Ol' Racist Drunky an excuse to grumble cracks about "zipperheads" and "gooks," but somehow, he still seems gruffly lovable anyway. The weirdly hilarious and cartoony first two-thirds of the film plays like a surreal sitcom—every few minutes, Eastwood curls his lip up and growls, then says something about how he doesn't trust his neighbors not to barbecue his dog—but then the end of the film gets all violent and super-serious and heavy-handed (like the sort of heavy-handed that makes Million Dollar Baby look subtle), and then, over the end credits, Clint Eastwood sings you a lullaby:

Look, I don't even know where this post is going, to be honest. All I know is that ever since I heard that song in the theater last night, nothing seems to make sense. It's like every assumption I had about the world is utterly, completely wrong—like everything is just falling apart. (And it doesn't help that I feel like if I could ask Clint for help, he'd probably just growl that I was part of the "pussy generation.") I just... I don't know what to do anymore. Gentle now, the tender breeze blows, whispers through my Gran Torino....

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