Sunday, January 18, 2009

He doesn’t get older he gets meaner

I was just thinking about the definition of cool and one of the first people that does come to mind, for me at least, is Clint Eastwood. Last night I returned from his new movie Grand Torino and I was very impressed. The movie was notable and surprising because it was not the typical role for Eastwood. The thing that made me mad was the misinterpretations that came from it. As I walked out of the theater I heard many middle aged, good old boys saying things that were just wrong.
The movie pictured Clint Eastwood as a racist old man, and he was, but not to the degree that people thought. He grew up in a time when making a crack about a person's ethnicity was nothing because someone could make the same crack about your ethnicity. His character never did correct his language either. He was old and set in his ways, but he did value the manners, kindness and charity that others showed. His racist remarks, as we would call them, were more of how things use to be. The time that he grew up in was one of acceptance, you were free to make remarks about others race just like they were able to make comments about yours. No one took offence to that because it was more in a manor of jest. That does not make it right, but it sheds light on what people may misunderstand.
The greater meaning behind it all is that people are never to old to change, understanding always supersedes hate, and violence is not what makes a man. What truly makes a man is the kindness he shows others and that sacrifice speaks louder than any statement of hate or violence. Clint Eastwood is cool because he is 78 and still intimidates others. His age has never been a limitation, but an advantage. No matter what his character has done in the past he is able to conquer that and prevail in the end. He is always willing to sacrifice himself for those he cares about. Oh yeah, and he always gets the girl!
Clint Eastwood is a dissident cool, he has put himself far away from the society he lives in. What he comes to realize is that he relates more to the people around him then to his own family. His characters main confliction with society are the values that he still holds true. He stands up for his values because his is an outsider looking in. At one point he recognizes his values in his next door neighbors children. The neighbors children become his main source of happiness and pride. In the end he sacrifices himself for them. And that is what makes Clint Eastwood’s character cool.
I encourge you to watch the trailor if you havent.,10360603-700-wmv-s.73929002-,10360603-1000-flash-s.73929011-,10360603-1000-wmv-s.73929005-,10360603-100-flash-s.73929006-,10360603-300-flash-s.73929007-,10360603-700-flash-s.73929008-,10360603-100-wmv-s.73928996-,10360606-10300-qtv-s.73929021-,10360606-2700-qtv-s.73929014-,10360606-6800-qtv-s.73929017-


  1. You should be aware that the title of the movie is Gran Torino, no "d." :)

  2. Oh, I really want to see that movie! It sounds so interesting.

    If Client Eastwood is to portray a dissident cool, I am wondering how the movie shows is the proper reaction to this version of cool. How does the neighborhood view him? How do the adults? How do the kids? Is there a view that completely changes by the end of the movie, or do things continue as usual after his sacrifice? Basically, I am wondering how the mainstream is supposed to react to characters like his.

  3. I believe that he portrays the characteristics of dissident cool. The neighbors do not view him as cool. The only real way the neighbors accept him is when he starts to aid the community with the run down houses and the gang problems. They originally view him as an outsider that is against their culture and way of life. He is portrayed as an old man that won’t leave. He is the last of his kind to be there (and by his kind I mean original residents). I will try to not ruin the plot of the movie. The kids (or the neighbor girl in particular) are the first to notice him because he stands up for her at a time of great need. By the end of the film he is not remembered as an old neighbor that was a scary and a little too trigger happy. He is remembered as a man that gave his life so that a neighborhood, a family and children could live in peace. The main stream fights him all the way to the end and that is because the believe him to be something that he is not. In the end he reveals himself as his true character and that character is embraced by the entire community around him. So to them he was never the dissident cool he was the transcendent cool. Because he transcended the ideas of what people thought he was. He stood for something more. A sect of society and what some might call an old way. If you watch them movie I think you will have a better understanding of what I am talking about. If I have not made myself clear I am always open to questions and criticisms.

  4. This idea of change with the times is something to hold on to. We often act as if we should all be willing to move with the times but it is hard for us to do that sometimes and remain cool.

    How has Eastwood, himself, been able to move with the times (or has he at all) and been able to keep his cool?