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Gran Torino (2008)
The film for the modern world *Spoilers*
I don't usually make reviews, but this is a movie that makes me do just that. I finally had the chance to see this on Blu-Ray, and I was completely touched.
This is easily the best movie I've seen in the last 5 years; I'd put The Dark Knight above it and that's all. Eastwood truly gives an incredible performance, and I felt sympathetic with every point his character was making and the overall message of this movie.
Obviously this movie turned off a lot of people due to the racial slurs and all that, but I look past all that and when you get down to it, he is not a racist, but rather someone who is simply not completely understanding the 21st century USA, and 21st century USA (the sons and grand kids) not understanding him. He's an old school tough good ole boy, and there aren't many of those left. He grew up in an era where Americans bought American-branded cars, kids respected elders, families actually got together for reasons other than wanting something (like money or possession gains) from you, teenagers didn't carry assault weapons with 5,000 rounds, gangs didn't control entire neighborhoods and cities, etc... just simple things like that which seem to be all but lost in today's world. I cannot say how much that aspect of the movie touched me. To me, Walt was not offensive; the way his family and the kids acted towards him, is the real offense here.
To me, this film summarizes the modern USA. As a 32 year old Generation X member, even I can't relate hardly at all to people barley 5-15 years younger than me. Try to talk to them and you'll be told to wait until they're done updating their Facebook status or their latest twitter update on the goofball who messed up their order in the Wendy's drive thru, while driving their Honda/Toyota/BMW in the process.
Walt's generation built Detroit into one of the country's proudest cities, and Walt is now watching his sons and grandsons commute in cars designed and built by foreign countries. Result? Detroit is now crumbling and filled with everything BUT the cars made by the Big 3, not to mention the gun-wielding gangs around every other block. As he said, would it really kill you to buy American? (and don't start the crap about some of them having factories here; if Toyota built a car in my back yard and I bought it, the money still goes back to Japan; if Ford built a car in Antarctica and I bought it, it still helps the USA more) A worker at a plant in Korea was once interviewed about having a job at a factory building some American car, can't remember the model, and he said he was happy to have the job, BUT he said he will still buy a Hyundai or Kia. When they asked why, he said, I feel it is important to support my home country's products. Go across the ocean to the USA, and we could care less about that way of thinking it seems.
All in all, it's a car movie; a look at our modern world; a look at the generational gap between elders, sons, and their own sons.
Some people didn't like the ending. I thought it made perfect sense. Walt knew he was dying after his coughing up blood and visits with the doctor. He then came up with a truly brilliant plan; make as much noise as possible, get the attention of many witnesses, get the kids to draw their guns and gun kill him, and the gang is off the streets.
Does anyone think Walt's sons or that snotty granddaughter would have made such a sacrifice? And don't forget to stick it to your family who has made it clear they couldn't care less about you other than that to try to get your car or your house from you.
That is Gran Torino in a nutshell.
People really need to see this movie and take a look at how they are treating each other: family members, next door neighbors, and just total strangers. Maybe if we'd lift our head up from our Ipod screens for a few minutes and just go sit on the porch and get to know the people we see moving in next door, we might get to know them; and if we get to know them, regardless of age, color, background, or religion, we might begin to understand each other; and if we begin to understand each other, we'll be more sympathetic and caring; and if we begin to act more sympathetic and caring, this country will change.
Great job by Clint Eastwood.
Ben & Arthur (2002)
Mother of God this was so awful
I made the big mistake of actually watching this whole movie a few nights ago. God I'm still trying to recover. This movie does not even deserve a 1.4 average. IMDb needs to have 0 vote ratings possible for movies that really deserve it like this one. A 1.4 is TOO HIGH.
I had heard how awful this movie was, but I really did not think a movie could actually be that bad, especially in this day and era. I figured all of the cheesy god awful movies were only from the 1950s and 1960s. My god was I wrong. Trust me folks, this movie REALLY IS THAT BAD. It is beyond horrible; it is beyond pathetic; it is beyond any type of word that I can think of for it. BATTLEFIELD EARTH looks like Best Picture of the Year compared to this movie. SNAKE ISLAND (which up until now was the worst movie I'd ever seen) looks like it deserves a few Oscars compared to this pathetic effort.
I seriously can not believe that the makers of this movie thought this was a legitimate serious effort of producing a Hollywood movie. This has no business being called a movie. In the first 25 seconds of the film, I seriously thought I was watching some high school theater class attempting to make a short movie. Or better yet, I thought it was some Saturday night Live ripoff skit of the real thing. I mean, it looks exactly like that. The acting is horrible; the whole movie almost looks like it was shot with a 20 year old VHS video camera. the special effects.......well good lord Bewitched from back in the day had better special effects than this movie. The scene where he gets shot at the door is beyond laughable and beyond cheesy. I mean seriously, my Intro to Acting class from 4 years ago in college, all of us could have put together a better movie than this. And the worst part of the entire movie, where Arthur is naked in the bathroom. Oh my god I almost thew up right there. I have a strong stomach, but wow that was horrible. Some people should never be naked, and he's one of them. The plot of this movie just seems to go absolutely nowhere. They talk about legal issues that we never hear about again; Ben talks about getting into music that we never hear about again; arthur says he is looking for a job and money for college and the next thing we see is he's running a porn shop. Everything about the movie is just horrible.
This really doesn't have much to do with my critique, but just so everyone knows, I am not a gay man. I DO however support gay rights and believe we should all be treated as equals. And I would support any gay person in my church, unlike the cruel priest in this movie, who by the way seems to cuss every other word. (WHERE IS THE F*(#*ing white out?) hahaha But I didn't want anyone to think I hated this movie just because of it being about two gay guys. It has nothing to do with that: This would have been just as horrible of a movie if it was Ben & Jill instead of Ben & Arthur.
I just watched this movie to see if it really was as bad as they say. And yes it was even WORSE than I had read. Let this be a warning to everyone: ONLY watch this movie if you want to just sit back and laugh at how pathetic some movies in the 21st century can still be. If you watch this movie and are actually expecting a good movie or some entertainment, I have no sympathy for you whatsoever.
On a final thought: How in the world are there 7 movies ranked BELOW this on IMDb? There is no way there are 7 movies out there that are worse than this!
Much better than I thought it would be......
I saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets last night in a VERY packed theater house. I was impressed with the crowd right off the bat. All ages were represented that night. I admit I didn't expect too much from this film, since most sequels these days don't deliver as much, or more, than the originals. But I was pleasantly surprised with this one.
I only had a few minor gripes with the movie. The actual puzzle solving wasn't quite as long and drawn out, or even as complex as the first movie's. It was basically getting a combination to the two desks, getting the combination to the President's book, and reaching for a latch inside the rock. So the actual puzzle/riddle element of this one wasn't as intense as the first, but it was still enjoyable. I also didn't think the city of gold was quite as impressive looking as the original's Knights Templar's treasure.
I did enjoy the new locations the film went to this time. The car chase was as good as it could have been done for a PG movie. The whole theater DIED laughing in the scene in London where Gates and Abigail made their argument and he makes fun of the British guard's accent. Riley added his witty nonsense once again as well.
Just take this film for what it is: a fun, nonviolent, fantasy adventure. No bad words said in the whole movie, no blood to be seen, and only one person dies. Big props to Ed Harris by the way. Having him in the movie was a HUGE lift. He's been very good in many movies. He basically replaced the villain role from Sean Benn in the original.
So don't be afraid that this one will disappoint. It was a very worthy sequel.
Moving it to Japan made it worthwhile for me
OK I'll concede it wasn't quite as good as the first two, but I still enjoyed this film. I felt that moving the location to Japan and introducing a new style of racing made a decent job of making the movie fresh.
If it had just been another American coastal city (LA or Miami) with a bunch of regular drag races with some of the same people as the other two, it would have been a boring movie. But by having cute little Japanese girls wearing the skimpy outfits this time around, and featuring the beautiful backdrop of Tokyo (for some of the scenes anyway), and by using a fresh and totally new cast, I felt it made the movie worth one viewing.
Plus I liked the cars as much or better than the cars of the first two films. The 460 HP twin turbo Nissan 350Z was an awesome machine for DK to drive in the film. I really loved the modified RX-7 with Han. Even the RX-8 was nice to look at, almost as nice to look at as the driver Neela. A lot of people made a beef about putting a Skyline engine in the old '67 Mustang, but at the same time, every single car in the film and in the street/drift racing scene has 95% of the original body/engine parts removed and/or replaced anyway, so what's the big deal with giving it a different engine? This isn't' the greatest movie ever made. But if you just want a nice 95 minute cheap thrill ride while looking at cute girls cheering on the guys driving their $60,000 turbocharged rides, it's solid entertainment.