January 11, 2009

"Hey, I just saw 'Gran Torino' — is there some place safe to talk about it without worrying about spoilage?"

Asks chickenlittle. The answer is yes, here.


chickenlittle said...

Hey thanks. Still watching the GG's on PST--later

Host with the Most said...

Just finished "Gran Torino" at 4:30. Then walked into the theater across the way and watched "Bride Wars" at 5:00.

Loved them both. Wife cried at Gran Torino, mainly because it's rumored to be Clint's last role. Audience exploded in laughter continually at all of Clint's racist remarks - and the audience had everybody - whites, blacks, hispanics, asians.

Bride Wars was the first chick flick in ? that actually had more than 1 good guy male role.

Theaters packed for both films - on Sunday.

Host with the Most said...

BTW - "24" started tonight.

Awesome beginning.

But I'm betting that Ann won't watch this year. She is afraid of having her heart broken again.

Ann Althouse said...

I haven't watched "24" since the first episode of the first season. I haven't watched a network drama since... oh, maybe "Hill Street Blues."

Fatboy A13370 said...

24 did seem pretty good this year.

I don't find the torture discussion nearly as partisan as the newspapers promised. Jack is still relying on the same argument... and now we see the liberal point of view... that's cool and probably will be interesting.

A lot of setup that appears to be unconnected, but given how last season had so many random plotlines, I am assuming they all weave together much better this round.

Gran Torino was a great movie... just got done watching it after a quick trip to TPB. Again, a show where a non-hard-left attitude permitted a great discussion of issues the left wants us to talk about.

Ann Althouse said...

"watched" ... meaning followed. I've watched parts of some shows to see if I might like them.

I've watched a lot of HBO dramas -- "Sopranos," etc.

Lem said...

It's not fair to expect the professor to be watching television when there are so many other important things going on!

The professor will follow the culture at her leisure.

Anybody have a problem with that?

Lem said...

You can get the entire 24 DVD at the local library, FOR FREE, for havens sake.

It's not like we are discovering the new world!

Lem said...

We should be following althouse! not the other way around..

Dammit, with permission to the many wonderful catholics I've come across here,

I'm assuming they are catholics because their defense of the faith is sometimes very peculiar ;)

meaning weak!

God will be God only if we give a dam!

Fyou - I will talk to you wousis later!

Bob said...

An interesting thing about Gran Torino is that although the guns Walt Kowalski owns are featured prominently, he only fires one shot during the course of the film, and that one accidentally. People expecting a Dirty Harry-style killfest are in for disappointment. He shoots a lot of people with his finger, though. If his finger were lethal, there would have been a bloodbath.

Lem said...

Perdonenme si hablo fuera de lugar.

Pero siento que no merecemos la gran immarcescible oportunidad que se nos brinda el conocimiento de la professora en su gran humilde amistad para nosotros.

Que Dios la bendiga.

Duscany said...

I saw Grand Torino this evening. It was very well photographed, had a nice symmetry. Good story. The ending (a nice surprise) reminded me of Slingblade. I found Eastwood interesting as always. Watching him you feel he really does know something about life. Unfortunately he way over-acted though. He didn't just look at his neighbors in disgust. He sort of growled and bared his teeth.

With the exception of the young woman who lived next door, most of the other Hmong actors were amateurish. The boy that Eastwood befriends was generally lousy. There must be wonderful young Asian actors out there. I wonder why Eastwood didn't hire them. The best of the lot were the gang members. But even they were only a little better than fair. I don't know what Eastwood was thinking. So many scenes were so obvious and not well acted.

Still I must say the audience in my theater liked the movie a lot, laughed frequently and clapped at the end. I liked the movie too. But it could have been so much better if Eastwood didn't overdo his role so badly. About the fifteenth time he called someone a chink or a slope it felt like he was beating a dead horse.

Still there were some wonderful touches, such as Eastwood's teenage granddaughter texting while sitting in the pew at her grandmother's funeral. Or helping the boy next door get hired by a contractor.

Lem said...

Si escudrinaramos nuestro interior, supieramos que somos indignos de su respusta que mas de su disposision a nuestra presensia en su casa.

Para mi es Es un privilejio escrirle, leerle, y no por estar enamorado, es demasiado facil ;)

Es mas compartir con ella, a su manera de compartir que asi queriendo, no supiendo, ella me lo permite!

Sorry, I cant translate that. I dont know how to say the other way.

Lem said...

El intuito de la profesora me da a conocer mas de lo que yo por mas que quisiera nunca ninguna mujer me demostrara.

There are lots of people that say they love me and care for me. But there is something about the estrange professor, unshakably true that I'm all too readily to admire.

Yes, I was talking to mother, and I had a few after. But that does not mean I do not mean what I say.

chickenlittle said...

With the exception of the young woman who lived next door, most of the other Hmong actors were amateurish. The boy that Eastwood befriends was generally lousy. There must be wonderful young Asian actors out there.

But they were so honest in their own way for that, weren't they?

I teared up from the moment those boys were looking through Kowalski's war momentos in the basement in the beginning. I felt very real emotion thoughout. My dad had such a box too. Who of "us" can't watch that without a gush of feelings? Gran Torino is must see for anybody connected with anybody of that era who lives with the changes today.

chickenlittle said...

Lem-A Mexican family bought the house next door to us in 2005, at the very height of the housing boom. My neighbors were for the most part very unwelcoming. I myself looked askance at first, and maybe even gave off some of those "lurch"-like sounds Eastwood gives off in the movie. But over the course of the next year, we got to know them, mainly through their teenaged daughter, Estella, because she and her younger sister were the only ones one spoke English. We came to appreciate her greatly, and she helped us out enormously as she helped us with after school babysitting when my wife went back to school to become a nurse.
My personal Gran Torino moment was the day when I rebuilt the dilapidated fence dividing our properties (I know—how Robert Frost). I worked my knowledge of Italian into Spanish, and we got it built, even though I paid for the whole thing. Sadly, that family lost that house eventually, but we did gain one friend out of it, and it changed my perspective on immigration.

Lem said...

Now that's how I'm gonna clear the table. Don't you ever talk that way to me. 'Pig,' 'Pollack,' 'disgusting,' 'vulgar,' 'greasy.' Those kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister's tongue just too much around here.
What do you think you are? A pair of queens? Now just remember what Huey Long said - that every man's a king - and I'm the King around here, and don't you forget it.

Stanley Kowalski said that, from A Streetcar Named Desire.

Would you believe they had F-ing Tennessee Williams colaborating in the filming of his own F-ing glorious all time play?

And then they had Marlon Brando do the f-ing lay for the screen!

And here we are, sometimes.

Lem said...

Dios mio, Son las 3 de la madrugada.

Me tengo que disculpar.. adios.

hasta manana.

Joan said...

My husband and I went to a 6:05 showing of Gran Torino Sunday evening and were shocked to see how packed the theater was, especially given how empty the surrounding shopping center had been.

Eastwood was terrific, the Hmong actors less so -- "Toad"'s performance was uneven but still overall delightful, particularly the scene in the barbershop.

In the earlier thread, one commenter said that viewers must find the ending dissatisfying on several levels. I strongly disagree. It's not often we get to glimpse nobility. And as a Catholic, I appreciated that the priest was portrayed as just as human as the rest of us, neither evil nor stupid.

Jason said...

I think the amateur actors were a perfect choice. So was Eastwood's acting style. The movie was anti-hip and professional acting probably would have ruined the mood. It might have even come off as pretentious.

I had one of my best movie experiences watching this movie, and I never would have watched it if it weren't for Althouse.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I think that Clint Eastwood's acting style, which I called delicious ham in my first post, helped make it not be such a problem that the Hmong actors were amateurish. Also it made for a lot of comedy. I could picture Jim Carrey acting like that. And I laughed a lot.

PatHMV said...

I enjoyed the movie on many levels. I do have to wonder, though, whether it was shot on a very tight budget. While I enjoyed the acting of the Hmong characters (except for the poorly-acted scene of "Toad" at the door when Eastwood locked him in the basement), I spotted boom mikes at the top of the screen at least twice. Once was just a thin little thing, but the second time, I saw one of those big, gray, furry windscreens they use to cover the microphones, right in the middle of the top of the screen, for about 2 seconds.

Nichevo said...

just asking - I have no more TV, but was looking to watch the '24' season premiere online last night. No soap, it seems. Or is there something I missed?

WTF, at least CBS lets you watch The Unit after it airs. -1.

Scott said...

What do you get when a Spaniard, a Puerto Rican, a Fillipino, an italian, and an Englishman walk into a room?

The cast of a Hollywood movie about Mexican's in East LA!

Frankly, I found it refreshing that Clint went for authenticity with the cast members instead of the usual Hollywood BS where, hey, ethnics are all the same so let's bunch them together into one big smear of nationalities and hope nobody notices the accents.

I found them for the most part to be fresh and unaffected performances. Maybe Toad could have been better, but he got enough of it right that I forgave the weaker moments.

And FYI for PatHMV, it's the projectionist responsible for the boom mikes, not the filmmakers. Movies are commonly exposed full frame and kept that way all through duplication and delivery to the theater. the theater is supposed to block off the tops and bottoms of the frame to match the designated aspect ratio. If they block it for 1.85 to 1 instead of 2.35 to 1, there's a strip on the top and bottom that wasn't supposed to be seen - and that may be where boom mikes live.

Scott said...

Oh, and Richard Burton worked with Clint and had a great description for his acting style - "Dynamic lethargy".