Idol Chatter

clinteastwoodingrantorinofo.jpgWhy is Clint getting dissed?
I don’t know if you saw “Gran Torino,” but it was one of the more redemptive films of 2008, albeit with the R-rating, violence, and language. I can’t wait to show the TV version to my kids.
Perhaps his peers are just too tired of seeing Eastwood nominated. Perhaps the Academy doesn’t want any actor of any caliber to always be taken as a given (remember Jack Nicholson’s “Bucket List” omission from last year?) Perhaps the serious questions amidst a racial backdrop just don’t flow in the Obamawanna feel happy momentum of this season. Perhaps Eastwood has reached that stage of life where campaigning for Oscar–or getting those clauses written into his contract–just isn’t a priority any more. Perhaps this film was just seen as another familiar Eastwood movie with a familiar theme, with Walt Kowalski appearing as simply another incarnation of the un-named Western Hero or Dirty Harry, just in a different setting.
I didn’t think so, and agreed with many reviewers who praised the film, including Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times who wrote “(‘Gran Torino’) is familiar, but only to a point. Suddenly, that point is past and much more serious questions come up, questions of responsibility, of vengeance, of the efficacy of blood for blood.”
Hollywood so often settles for happy endings to thin stories or poor endings to complicated stories. I thought “Gran Torino” presented compelling questions regarding the “vengeance is Mine” doctrine from the Old Testament, which is tough to do while entertaining at the same time.

And if the movie itself didn’t rate as grand enough for Best Picture, at least Eastwood could have been honored for how his portrayal made the movie relevant and alive. To that end I agree with The Arizona Republic’s Bill Goodykoontz, who called it “an unlikely tale made plausible almost solely by the quality of Clint Eastwood’s performance.
To a man (like Eastwood) who probably can’t even remember all of his awards and honors over the years, perhaps the omission doesn’t matter much to him. But Oscar nominations–and especially wins–often drive more people to the theaters, and this is a film I wish more people would see. It’s a compelling two hours, followed by lingering questions which are well worth asking.
Clint Eastwood at

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