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Movie Review: Gran Torino

Alternate Title: Edsel

Story: Old man yells at cloud. He also yells at neighbors, the grass, the weather, his family, the parish priest and anything else that crosses his path. Walt Kowalski, is recently widowed, bitter and racist. He is angry at everything and especially the fact that his neighborhood has been taken over by Asian immigrants. As a Korean War Vet, this is not something he is happy about. He just wants to be left alone to drink his beer, walk his dog and sulk.

Clint Eastwood both stars and directs and his signature is everywhere. It was written by Nick Schenk, based on a story by Dave Johannson and Mr. Schenk.

The good news is that if you are a fan of Clint Eastwood, you get exactly what you are paying for. A tough, no nonsense man's man type of character, whose outer crust is razor sharp but if you can get inside, there is softness and kindness. His outsized racist remarks are very funny and the very predictable story line allows the audience to feel comfortable laughing at the politically incorrect jokes.

The bad news is that the story is so predictable that I was mouthing the words before I heard them spoken. I was disappointed in the lack of surprises and the cartoon stereotypes across the board. That said - it is still a Clint Eastwood film and will probably make a lot of money.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9teLeXZ3XMU

Acting: Clint (or should I say 'Squint) Eastwood, snarled, growled and barked his way through this piece. Bee Vang as young neighbor, Thao Lor, was adequate. Ahney Her as Sue Lor, was delightful and Christopher Carley as Father Janovich was perfectly cast.

Trivia: Clint Eastwood was drafted and served in the United States Army from1950-1954 and was assigned to Special Services. He was a swimming instructor. It's interesting, given his penchant towards directing or starring in westerns, that his name, Clint Eastwood, is an anagram for 'old west action.' He weighed 11 lbs 6 oz at birth. At age 74, he became the oldest person to win the Best Director Oscar for Million Dollar Baby (2004).

Predilection: None.

Critters: A delightful yellow lab named Daisy and a fleeting cat.

Food: Lots and lots of yummy Asian food. I was hungry throughout.

Blatant Product Placement: Ford

Soundtrack: A nice mix of music by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens

Opening Titles: Simple type over the scenes of a church funeral.

Theater Audience: Crowded

Weather: Summer in Michigan,.

Sappy Factor: 1

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 1

Drift Factor: It was about 30 minutes too long. I drifted.

Predictability Level: Very high

Tissue Usage: You would have to have a heart of stone not to get emotional at the very predictable, yet well crafted ending.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Either would be fine.

Length: Two hours.