But Clint Eastwood says it early on in "Gran Torino." His character is explaining why so many people showed up at the house after his wife's funeral. And maybe there was a lot of ham — nearly all of it from Eastwood — but it was delicious ham. I loved this movie. The only thing that would have made me love it more would be if the other actors had been capable of serving up the same kind of ham. But the 2 actors who play the Hmong brother and sister who live next door are not well-seasoned, so there is a bit of a flaw. They're okay though. Anyway, I laughed, I cried — a great movie experience.
Some random thoughts:
1. I've complained about the movie cliché of having a character in the bathtub, but it mainly annoys me when it's used as a way to get young actresses naked. So I was amused by the twist of having the old geezer in the tub.
2. Eastwood smokes a lot in the movie, and smoking is important for more than one plot point — in a movie with a clockwork plot — but at the very end of the credits we are assured that no one connected with the movie accepted any product placement money from tobacco companies.
3. The last movie I'd seen was "Doubt," so this was the second movie in a row with an important priest character. The priest plays a nice counterpoint to Eastwood's character. He's young. Eastwood's old, and they are at odds over religion. It's an excellent religion movie, as we see both Catholicism and the religious practices of the Hmong. Not only is there a priest, there's a shaman, and they both get criticism and respect.
4. Much as I'd love to go to the café after the movie and have a long conversation about religion, I have another discussion question: Does the movie legitimatize racial epithets? We have our snarling but lovable geezer spitting a hundred racist slurs — especially to refer to Asians — over the course of the movie. And, in trying to teach his young mentee how to man up — and not be a pussy — he encourages him to banter playfully using words like "wop," "mick," and so forth. You might want to say it's a hilarious slap in the face of political correctness. But I think the movie is pretty effective in selling plain old-fashioned racial talk.
5. This is a good movie for people who like cars and guns and tools. There's also a lot of drinking and, as I said, smoking. And a military medal, a lawnmower, and a dog. All the manly things. With lots of manliness on top.
6. The old man teaches his mentee about tools. He starts him off with the 3 items with which — he says — you can do half of the jobs you need to do. These items are: WD-40, a vise-grip, and duct tape.
7. American flags, American flags, American flags. You want to see American flags? I'd say they appear in half the shots.
8. This was one of the very few movies I've seen where I never looked at my watch. I was never even tempted to look at my watch. It had a nice, crisp story arc. I appreciate that.
9. Driving home, I was thinking: Clint Eastwood is the best Hollywood guy ever.
10. I remember when Clint Eastwood was the cute guy on "Rawhide." I saw "Dirty Harry" when it first came out in the theater, when enjoying it was considered a guilty pleasure for us peace-and-love hippies. That was long ago, and a ton of respect for Eastwood has accumulated over the years. That's cool.