Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Bargain Basement
Music DVD
Send Us Mail
Contact Us

GRAN TORINO (R) (2009)

Warner Brothers

Official Site

Director: Clint Eastwood

Producers: Clint Eastwood, Bill Gerber, Robert Lorenz

Written by: Nick Schenk

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, John Carroll Lynch


I have come to a new life’s goal after seeing Gran Torino: I want to be (the female version of) Clint Eastwood’s character, Walt Kowalski, when I grow old.

He’s the unapologetic jerk who hates the kids today, his family, whom he feels disconnected from, and the entire human population. He chain-smokes and drinks beer on his front porch with his dog. (He’s also a complete racist, not something I wanted to adopt, just so we’re clear.)

The most important characteristic is, he’s an amalgamation of Clint Eastwood’s characters from over the years, just transported to a crappy neighborhood in our time. Considering the movie culminates in a stand-off between Kowalski and a Hmong gang in a front yard that could have easily been transported into A Fistful of Dollars with a few casting changes, I think Eastwood may have been channeling his mythic self, if that being ever actually uttered the phrase, “Get off my lawn!” He’s the cowboy come back to claim the ghetto, so to speak.

Thankfully, the movie avoids most other clichés that could have ensnared it. Kowalski’s relationship with the Hmong family who live next door certainly starts off surly and moves to sweet, but thankfully it wasn’t through the plucky Sue (Ahney Her). It’s instead through her brother Thao, who tries to steal Kawalski’s prized, mint-condition 1972 Gran Torino.

I say the movie avoids most other clichés because Kowalski’s actual family is full of clichés. His granddaughter is a snotty brat who shows her midriff during his wife’s funeral, and his children insult him by buying him large button phones and suggesting that he be moved into a home. It’s been done before, but it’s saved by two things: the hilarious dialogue, and Eastwood’s spot-on expression and old-man growls when confronted with these people.

The movie is funny most of the way through—thanks largely to dialogue you’ll probably (because of political correctness) feel guilty about laughing at later. But when it becomes serious it hits you like a sucker punch. The message isn’t clouded by the humor though, and unlike Eastwood’s other recent directorial stints, it doesn’t completely lose you in the heartbreak of the situation either.

This movie deserves the Golden Globe nods, and I can foresee Eastwood getting another Oscar nomination or two in the next month for his aging cowboy story.

— Chelsea Stark

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

none now

South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

Rachel Fredrickson

Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo

Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.